Ever since LeBron James graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, he's been likened to an iconic player. He's Magic Johnson. No, he's equal parts Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. No, he's Larry Bird. Actually, he's a modern-day Oscar Robertson. Maybe he's a Shaquille O'Neal and Steve Nash hybrid?
The best answer is probably that LeBron James is LeBron James. He has created his own prototype.
But this playoffs, he hasn't been playing like himself at all. Once a beacon of towering efficiency, James has been forced to become a different player, one who has shouldered a massive offensive burden and consequently watched his percentages wilt away.
The injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have crunched the offense for James. After posting a career-high 57 percent field goal percentage in the playoffs last season, he's shooting just 43 percent from the floor this postseason and a ghastly 18 percent from downtown. He's shot more than 50 percent in a game just once this entire postseason. That used to be the norm.
And yet, here he is in his most familiar surroundings in the Finals, for a fifth straight season. Same old LeBron, right? Not the case. This version of LeBron is not LeBron, Magic, Michael or Oscar.
This 30-year-old edition of James is 2001 Allen Iverson. And here's why.