CLEVELAND — The Chosen One did not ask for hops or crazy handles. He did not pray to the heavens for a silky jumper.
The Chosen One asked simply for court vision—for the glory of the team.
We know this because once upon a time, when his game was young and his cheeks were baby-smooth, LeBron James burst into a virtual church and began zipping no-look passes to a jubilant congregation of King James disciples.
The church elders, Jerry West and Dr. J, smiled in approval.
The preacher promptly fainted.
It was 2004. James was a 19-year-old prodigy, just a few months into his rookie season. And if you had yet to see him play, you learned everything you needed to know in “Book of Dimes,” a joyful 60-second shoe commercial that cast James as a basketball messiah who would deliver the NBA from a generation of me-first gunners with his selfless play.
“Why did The Chosen One ask for court vision?” sermonized Bernie Mac, playing the preacher. “He wanted glory—for the team!”
The message was clear: James would be unlike any other modern star—a devout playmaker, endowed with divine creativity and a purity of purpose. Oh, he could score, but his passion was for the pass.
He would be more Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan. That’s what everyone said (and never mind that familiar No. 23 on LeBron’s back).
“He’s more like me than he is like Michael,” Johnson affirmed in a 2007 interview with the New York Times. “He’s more into controlling the game than he is dominating it with scoring.”
It was certainly true. And yet, not entirely accurate.
The greatest passer of his generation, as it turns out, has become one of the greatest scorers of all time. He’s both Magic and Michael.
With 35 points Thursday night, James burst past Jordan to become the No. 1 scorer in NBA playoff history, with 5,995 points. Jordan’s record, 5,987, had stood for 20 years. James earned the title while leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 135-102 rout of the Boston Celtics, securing a return trip to the NBA…