Tanguay: Long live the King

Tanguay: Long live the King

I like LeBron James. I really, really like him. AND, I'm not one of you bandwagon jumpers who needed LeBron to win his third NBA championship before you'd announce your affection for him. I felt this way before Sunday night.

What’s not to like? Heck, even if the Warriors had won, an argument could have been made for James to win the MVP. He almost averaged a triple double for the series; 33.2 ppg, 11.8 rpg and 8.8 apg. .

LeBron James has never been arrested, never selfied in the sack with “another” woman (or “women”), never been involved in drugs. The only -- and I mean only -- justified criticism of James is that stupid brain cramp of an idea called The Decision.

But I gave him a mulligan on that a long time ago. Like, when it happened. Why? Well, he wanted to win a championship and he took less money from the Heat for the chance to win one. How many players take less for a ring? (And we usually praise them when they do.) Then he went back, to win a title in his hometown.

I don’t believe this garbage that James will opt out of his Cavs’ deal and go elsewhere, like to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. Not a chance. He ain’t leaving the city that he just handed its first championship in 52 years.

Plus, Ohio is LeBron’s home. It's part of him. I could tell when he left Miami he was just happy to be going home, to the place where he first become famous. I know LeBron is a giant celebrity and was funny in the Nike ads when he played like five characters, but he doesn't seem Hollywood to me. He doesn't even seem Miami. Who the hell leaves Miami to go back to Cleveland?

Someone who's homesick, that’s who.

Is he the greatest player of all time? No. I still have Kareem, Magic and MJ above him. (Sorry, Minihane.) And sorry Green Teamers, but LeBron is better than Larry. Even Larry would admit that.

So he's not the greatest of all time. But he's the greatest active player, and now he's a three-timc champion.

Good for him.

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum had another strong performance for the Boston Celtics, doing so against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George, a player Tatum has acknowledged on more than one occasion he has looked up to. 

That admiration didn’t get in the way of Tatum delivering a big-time performance in helping Boston rally from six points down with 12.7 seconds to play, to knock off the Thunder 100-99.

Tatum tallied a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. And doing so at 20 years and 17 days old, Tatum became the youngest player in franchise history to tally at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

“It feels good,” Tatum said when asked about his first 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game in the NBA. “But honestly, I’m just glad we won. That was a big win against a great team and it was fun playing out there today.”

Impacting the game on multiple levels offensively along with being a defensive and rebounding force are qualities often associated with George who became familiar with Tatum prior to last June’s NBA draft which is when the Celtics selected him with the third overall pick. 

“I reached out to him before he was coming into this draft and I got to talk to him,” said George, who had 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Celtics. “It’s an honor when you see young talent. I‘ve been inspired by many in this league so it’s great to inspire the younger generation in this league.”

And while Tatum may be young, he continues to prove himself up for whatever challenges await him. 

“We are going to keep throwing to the wolves and keep going to him in those moments,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston closed out the game with an 8-1 spurt in the final 24.7 seconds, with Tatum either scoring or assisting on five of those points which includes assistant on Marcus Morris’ game-winner.

Tatum’s composure down the stretch comes from being influenced by many, including George who considers it “an honor” that Tatum holds him in high regard. 

“At the end of the day, us veteran guys want the younger guys to take the game further and advance much farther than what I was,” George said. “There’s going to be kids looking up to Jayson (Tatum) that are probably already looking up to Jayson (Tatum).”


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.