Do you know what you’re witnessing?

Kenny Roda will be writing a weekly blog on Cleveland Scores covering the entire Cleveland sports universe. Check back often for his updates!

Have you ever been called to testify as a witness in a trial? I haven’t, but have been on the jury. In fact, I was the jury foreman over 20 years ago and had to read the not guilty verdict that we decided on. I can’t remember if Denny Crane of Boston Legal was the winning lawyer in that case or not.

For me, this NBA basketball season is the first time I have ever been a WITNESS. I always thought that being a WITNESS would be scary and nerve-racking, but it has actually been quite exhilarating. There’s no courtroom drama, but there is plenty of drama on the court. I’m having the time of my life and so are thousands upon thousands of other Cavalier fans, or should I say ďWITNESSES,” in Cleveland and across the nation. That’s because we are all WITNESSING the development of a true superstar before our very eyes faster than any in the history of the NBA.

FACT…At age 21, in only his third season in the league, LeBron averaged 31.4 points to go along with seven rebounds and 6.6 assists every time he stepped on the court. FACT…To give you an idea of how those numbers stack up in the annals of NBA history, only Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Michael Jordan averaged those numbers for a complete regular season. FACT…Letís not forget that he shot 48% from the field, 74% from the free throw line and 33% from three-point country. FACT…His team won 50 games and finished with the third best record in the Eastern Conference, a stat that the team-oriented King James perhaps would rank above any of his individual accomplishments. The big 50 secured a playoff spot for the first time in eight years and home-court advantage for the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs against the Washington Wizrads. We’ll get to them in a minute. FACT…It’s only the fourth time in franchise history that a Cavalier team has reached the 50-win plateau. FACT…The pre-LeBron Cavs managed only 17 wins. Once LeBron came on board, obviously everything changed. LeBron doubled the teamís win total in his rookie season and led them to 42 victories in his second year. With this yearís 50 W’s, LeBron has improved the Cavaliersí win total by 33 games in just three seasons.

So youíre probably saying with those numbers he must have picked up the league’s MVP trophy. Nope. That honor, for the second year in a row, went to Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns as voted on by 125 media panelists from around the country. Nash received 57 first place votes to LeBron’s 16. Nash totaled 924 points in the balloting to LeBron’s 668, which put King James in a distant second. What a joke! Ask any General Manager in the league today who they’d rather have, and that vote would be unanimous in favor of number 23. Nash averaged only 18.8 ppg, led the league in assists with 10.5, but only pulled down 4.2 rebounds per game. His shooting percentages were better than LeBron’s and his team’s win total eclipsed the Cavs by four games, but he also had the fortune of playing with another All Star in Shawn Marion, who averaged a double-double with 18.7 ppg and 10.5 rpg. James was able to put up his numbers without having an All Star sidekick as well as a player who averaged a double-double. Both the Suns and the Cavs played without key players in Amare Stoudemire and Larry Hughes, both of whom were out with injuries. So you tell me who helped his team more, carried his team more, and truly deserved the MVP!

Now to the playoffs, where legends are made. The playoffs are pressure packed. As the old saying goes, pressure will either burst pipes or create diamonds. Well if that statement is true, then the Cavaliersí plumbing at “The Q” is just fine and team owner Dan Gilbert has a $100 million jewel in his pocket. In his first ever playoff game, LBJ stared pressure in the face and threw up a triple-double against the WITNESSES of Washington with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Cleveland’s first postseason victory in eight years. King James would go on to lead the Cavaliers to a 4-2 series win over Washington. In those six pressure-filled games, he hit two game-winning shots, averaged 35.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists, and shot 51% from the field, 75% from the free throw line and 38% from three-point land.

The only players in history to post a higher scoring average in their playoff debut? Wilt Chamberlin and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Not a bad fraternity to be a part of. One final note on the Washington series. It was the first playoff series the Cavaliers won since 1993, when they defeated the New Jersey Nets. LeBron was just eight years old.

So as a WITNESS, are you believing my case that we are seeing something, or in this case, someone, who is destined for greatness, someone who should have been the NBA’s MVP even if he is only 21? If not, let me give you some more evidence. Itís Round 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. It’s the Cavaliers against basketball’s best regular season team, the Detroit Pistons. The Motown Maulers won a franchise record 64 games and secured home-court advantage throughout the playoffs by doing so. They won the NBA title two years ago, lost in the Finals last year to San Antonio, and were favored by many to regain the crown this year. And after games 1 and 2 in this series, both convincing wins by Detroit, it looked like Cleveland was nothing but a mere speed bump on the road to glory. Enter King James and over 20,000 screaming WITNESSES at “The Q” in Cleveland for games 3 and 4.

Once again James defied the odds that Charles Barkley loves to bet on and posted his second triple-double of the postseason in Game 3 with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in an 86-77 win. Only Magic Johnson has posted more triple-doubles in his first ever playoff season. Then in Game 4, LeBron knocked down the game-winning free throws and had a huge block and steal in the last minute to secure the victory and even the series at two games apiece. In the 74-72 Game 4 win, James finished with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 48 minutes. Before games 3 and 4 Detroit was thinking sweep. After Game 3 the Pistonsí Rasheed Wallace guaranteed Detroit would win the next two games and end the series in five games. One thing the Motor City motor mouth forgot to take into account was LeBron James. Add Rasheed to the list of thousands of WITNESSES. The series is up for grabs now.

Regardless of the outcome of the Cavs-Pistons series, one thing is for certain. What we have WITNESSED already is greatness in the making. LeBron’s destiny seems to be that of a hometown kid, leading his hometown team to the city’s first professional sports championship in decades. How soon will that happen? I’m not sure. It took the great Michael Jordan seven years to win his first title and a lot of people feel LeBron is ahead of MJ’s pace. Cleveland fans can only hope so because they have been waiting to WITNESS a title for far too long and would love nothing more than to close the case against their city and put to rest that they are losers no more.

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