The Miami Heat were so hot last night, Justin Bieber’s sunglasses ended up being SEARED ONTO HIS FACE. Because that’s the only reason why he would be wearing sunglasses inside, OBVIOUSLY. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and the Miami Heat tied a franchise record with their 14th straight victory, rallying to beat the New York Knicks 99-93 on Sunday. (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
In the air: A Brooklyn Nets cheerleader slam dunks a ball during a break while entertaining the crowd during the Nets’s game against the Miami Heat during their NBA game. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
In May 2010, James, then a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was contending with two separate mysteries. The first concerned impending free agency, and the decision — it was still lower case then — he would make. The second concerned his inexplicably passive performance in Game 5 in Cleveland, a 15-point sleepwalk through an integral game.
In June 2012, James’ future was tied to the Miami Heat, and his recent playoff performance had been hard to deny. Still, the memory lingered of James’ half-speed triple double in his last game as a Cavalier, which he capped by taking off his jersey off while cameras remained fixed on him.
Heading into the evening of June 7, 2012, many observers expected another bewildering moment to become part of James’ not-good-enough legacy. (Photo: J Pat Carter/The Associated Press)
Fancy, fancy: Jay-Z, Beyonce, LeBron James, and Savannah Brinson attend the 2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award presentation (which was given to LeBron) at Espace on Wednesday in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
Bruce Arthur: It’s not that LeBron James needed to be placed on the cover of Sports Illustrated in an all-black suit, looking worn and weathered and somehow at peace, to be validated. He is the magazine’s Sportsman of the Year for 2012, but it’s the 18th time he’s been on the cover. Other than the fact that he’s only got one championship ring on his fingers, he almost looks retired, on his way to a tribute dinner wearing a watch Miami gave him as a goodbye gift or something. He has always looked older than he is, even when he was 18 and 6-foot-8, 240 pounds. Now he looks aged.
But then, it’s been a long road, and he hasn’t travelled in a straight line. He was 16 when Larry Bird put him in the Hall of Fame; he was 18 when he showed up on the stage in Manhattan in the blazing white suit, like a preacher or a saviour, as the most anticipated No. 1 draft pick of all time. It only feels like a lifetime achievement award because that’s what 2012 felt like for him — his first NBA title after nine years, unexpectedly delivered the hard way; the domination of Olympic basketball, where he is clearly head and shoulders above a peer group that is wide and deep. His third NBA MVP award. (Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./The Associated Press/Sports Illustrated)