Jun 17, 2012; Miam, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) shoots against Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) during the second half in game three in the 2012 NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena. Miami won 91-85. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

LeBron's Legacy: What Will People Do If LeBron Wins? Part III

Why shouldn’t LeBron James worry about dislocating his ring finger?

It’s not like he was planning on using it any time soon!

Every ringless joke, every person scoffing at the self-titled King not yet having a crown and every analyst who has ever mentioned that LeBron can’t be considered the greatest if he doesn’t have a championship on his resume will be silenced Thursday night if the Heat can secure one more Finals victory in Miami. With the Heat up 3-1 in the series, LeBron is the closest he’s ever been in his career to a ring.

So what will happen once James gets his long-awaited ring? A lot of the jokes targeting his lack of jewelry on his ring finger will soon have no value if the King and friends can close out the Thunder, either tonight, on Sunday or Tuesday if the Thunder can force a Game 7. Life and the NBA will be different, but the “haters” will always be there.

I was reading an article that Mark Titus of Grantland wrote about learning to accept the Miami Heat. He brought up a very good comparison between this year’s Kentucky Wildcats, who won the championship under head coach John Calipari and the “Big Three” in Miami who joined forces in 2010. Calipari has been criticized throughout his career for coaching players who stay for one year of collegiate play and then are off to the NBA and has even had two Final Four appearances vacated.

But once Calipari won this year, all the talks of one-and-done were over. The weight was lifted off his shoulders and he could finally associate himself among great college basketball coaches. However, fans will always look at Calipari and link him to the scandals that have surrounded him throughout his career, not his recently-won championship.

No amount of rings will ever remove the picture solidified in fans’ heads after James went on ESPN and made his “decision” known to the world; that he would be taking his talents to South Beach. A ring will make it easier to rank LeBron among the top 10 players in the history of the game, but will never white out all the selfish “decisions” he has made in his career thus far. His legacy may be solidified, but he will always be looked at as the player who stabbed his hometown in the back.

I think Titus gives a beautiful description of the reasons why fans can still hate LeBron James and the Heat:

My point is this: When the Heat win the title tonight (cross your fingers that I’ve successfully jinxed them by writing all of this), don’t hate them because they “colluded” and “cheated the system” to get to the top. Hate them because they threw a celebration party before they ever won anything. Hate them because they’re entitled douchers who flop and whine about not getting calls even though any neutral fan with half of a brain can see that most calls go their way. Hate them because your co-worker wears his LeBron jersey to work on game days and talks smack about your team not being in the Finals, even though your team was also his team three years ago.

So if you’re reading this and watching Game 5 at the same time, you’re probably getting your last ringless jokes out while you can. This could be it. This could be the defining moment of the career of the former Cleveland Cavalier. What should we do now?

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