Miami Heat star Lebron James has been taking some harsh criticism ever since his loss against the Dallas Mavericks in six games in the NBA finals.
The criticism has been primarily directed at his poor series play particularly in the fourth quarter play and practically disappearing from Game 6.
In fact, James had the worst +/- for any starter in the series at -36, which meant the Heat were scoring more points than the Mavericks if James was not on the floor. This statistic alone makes one wonder if the Heat would have had a better chance against the Macs without James.
James' worst game was Game 6 where he was -24, which is horrendous for one game. Though other Heat players also underperformed, James was so significantly below his standard that he may have been the sole reason why his team lost the game.
In the first five games of the series, James only scored a combined 11 points in the fourth quarter. James was slightly better in Game 6 scoring 7 points, but it was still a paltry number, not nearly enough to win the game.
The overwhelming criticism based on the statistics is that James couldn't perform in the series and couldn't perform in the clutch.
Besides James' on-court problems, he has also been taking criticism for his off court antics.
James was mired in the media for his infamous ESPN broadcast dubbed The Decision when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers for Miami. In the midst of the Mavs series, James had another media incident caught on tape as he and Dwyane Wade mocked Dirk Nowitzki's sickness.
Then, after the Heat lost the series, James lashed out at the media and his critics saying, They have the same personal problems they had today.
I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.
Does James deserve all the criticism he is getting?
James is one of the best players in the NBA and may be one of the best of all time. At the young age of 26, he still has a decade to prove he can be a championship winner in the NBA.
Already, his accomplishments are quite impressive. He was named Rookie of the Year after being drafted first overall. For two straight years, he was the league's MVP.
He took the Cavs, who were bottom feeders in the NBA, to the playoffs and kept them there for five straight years, despite what many consider to be a poor supporting cast.
During the playoffs, he had his clutch moments in particular in Cleveland's 2007 playoff run to the NBA Finals.
The Detroit Pistons were favored in the Eastern Conference Finals, having lost to them the year before, yet James led his team back from an 0-2 series hole to win four straight and take the series.
In particular, his Game 5 performance of 48 points, including the team's final 25 points in double overtime was one of the best playoff performances ever.
James' other accomplishments include helping Team USA win a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including 14 points in the final game against Spain.
James' accomplishments are impressive considering his young age, however his public image still needs a lot of work.
That being said, does Lebron James deserve the criticism?