LeBron James is in a 0-3 hole to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, seemingly outdone by a superteam greater than his own.
James is no stranger to superteams, deciding it was time for him to strike out and find his own team of All-Stars to play alongside when he left for the Miami Heat what feels like a lifetime ago.
Since then he’s made a second superteam in Cleveland with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The Warriors raised the stakes when they signed Kevin Durant, though, and it seems the Cavaliers don’t have any kryptonite in the vault.
James spoke with media the day following an incredible Game 3 that ended in heartbreak for Cleveland and was asked about the differences between the Warriors signing Durant to James creating a superteam with the Heat, and if it's fair to the NBA. His response was thoughtful as ever.
"The best thing with Golden State's situation is a lot of their guys are drafted. They drafted a lot of their guys. They drafted three of their best players, so they were able to hold onto them because they owned their bird rights," James said.
That's a detail often overlooked when discussing the creation of Golden State's roster. While they have some of the top players in the league, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were all drafted directly by the Warriors. It's not their fault for nailing the picks in the context of this, and they didn't buy those players through free agency.
James walked into a very different situation in Miami than Durant did with Golden State because of this. Golden State is paying Curry a mere $12 million this season, partly due to the control the franchise has had on his contract since drafting him due to the collective bargaining agreement.
"In my case, going to Miami we had to clear a lot of [salary] space because they didn't have anybody as far as guys that they wanted to keep as far as bird rights besides Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade.
"It was a different situation. Totally different. Is it fair? I don't care. I think it's great for our league. Right now look at our TV ratings, look at the money our league is pouring in. Guys are loving the game, our fans love the game, who am I to say if it' s fair or not," James said.
"Is it fair that the New York Yankees in the 90's was adding piece after piece after piece after piece... You have an opportunity to sign one of the best players and you can do it, go ahead and do it. Why not," James concluded.
James may be getting beaten by a superteam, but he knows that all is fair in the era he began that fateful day he took his talents to South Beach.