Not more than one hour after LeBron James hit the game-winning shot in Game 4 against the Chicago Bulls -- perhaps one of the greatest moments in Cleveland's long sports history -- there was a whirlwind of controversies for the media to focus on. One of them involved coach David Blatt's decision to draw up a play with LeBron inbounding the ball, and LeBron then saying he "scratched" that decision like Jimmy Chitwood in the 1952 state finals. (The other big story after the game involved Blatt nearly getting a technical for trying to call a timeout that he didn't have.)
This detail about LeBron scratching his coach's play became as important as the fact that the Cavs won the pivotal game:
Tough ending for Blatt. Not only did he try to call TO #Cavs didn't have, LeBron vetoed original last play call, which had him as inbounder— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) May 10, 2015
LeBron: "To be honest, I scratched the play [Blatt] drew up." LeBron = Coach of the Year.— SportsNation (@SportsNation) May 10, 2015
Blatt not only tried to call a timeout CLE didnt have, but then also called for LeBron to inbound the ball on final possession? OK bye.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) May 11, 2015
Yeah, I’m going to want to know who the hell he drew up the play for— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 11, 2015
Of course, the LeBron/Blatt relationship has been anything but perfect throughout the season. They have contradicted each other several times with their public statements. There was also that shove, and those videos of LeBron looking detached in huddles. Their difference of opinion on Sunday, with the coach wanting somebody else to take the last shot, is just the latest kernel the media will turn into an extended narrative.
It's not the stories about LeBron and Blatt have been unfair, or that the many other media-driven stories about LeBron this season have been unfair. It's just that they are exhausting. It isn't all that much fun to follow a team knowing that every single word a player or a coach says (or tweets) is going to be scrutinized until it is completely run into the ground.
That is the price that comes along with the best player in basketball; the one who calls himself The King. Everything is magnified.
On Sunday afternoon, we got the payoff. With everything on the line, LeBron hit a shot that saved the season. It was truly a "where were you when...?" type of moment.
For Cavs fans, the victory was sweet, but it was short-lived. The conversation immediately turned to Blatt's playcall, LeBron's decision to reveal it (even though J.R. Smith had already done so), and Blatt's confusion about how many timeouts he had left. If the Cavs somehow actually went on to win the title this season, I wouldn't be surprised if a raging debate over Kevin Love's future with the team ensued within an hour of Dan Gilbert receiving the trophy.
That's just the way it goes. LeBron is not only the best player in the league, he is the most important. The most interesting. Everything he says or does will always matter. At times, it will be frustrating for the fans who root for his team.
In the end, you just have to hope he makes it all worth it.