LeBron James and the Burden of Being Great(est)

He is miffed about not winning the M.V.P. Award, and rightfully so. His magic on and off the court is often unfairly taken for granted.

Poor LeBron James. There he is again, battling into the deep muck of the N.B.A. playoffs, leading his team oh-so-close to a world title. And there he is: An omnipresent force in purple-striped high-tops, so consistently great on the biggest stage that we have come to expect nothing less.

His Los Angeles Lakers are now vying with the Denver Nuggets for a spot in the N.B.A. finals. After Sunday’s 105-103 victory over the Nuggets — sealed by Anthony Davis with a buzzer-beater but fueled by James’s hot start — Los Angeles is now up two games to none in the best-of-seven series.

Should the Lakers advance, it would mean that James has pushed teams from three cities — Cleveland, Miami and Los Angeles — to the league’s championship round in nine of the past 10 seasons.

Within that time, he has won two title rings with the Miami Heat, and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the cloister of the N.B.A.’s Disney World bubble, he is making a credible run for a championship with the Lakers.

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