Re: Does any other top 20 player have a blemish on their career equal to 2011?
As with most of these questions it just comes down to your particular bias.
Had Lebron instead of losing the way they did in 2011 won 10 more games to have one of the 5-6 best records ever....ran away with MVP....but lost in the first round to the 76ers as he put up 8 points on 2-13 shooting in the 25 point blowout closeout game while the 8th seed opponent was clowning around and harlem shaking on the bench I think we would remember it as even worse. Lebron as the MVP being the 5th leading scorer in the series losing to a team 25 games worse in the first round with Stephen Jackson giving him the "You aint shit...." lip curl all series?
You would be talking about it forever.
About the same as 99 when Karl Malone...with Jordan finally out of the way...got murdered by Portland. I think they got beat and he had like 6 points while Brian Grant, Sabonis, and Sheed took his lunch money. Hes the MVP over Shaq, Duncan, and so on....no Jordan..its his time. He gets violated by Brian Grant and kicked out in the second round.
We just kinda brush such things under the rug since nothing before the finals even happened....except of course...Lebron himself in 2010. So remove that "Well....its not Lebron...so it didnt happen" factor and I think an 07 Dirk or 99 Malone situation would be pretty heavily discussed.
So it isnt really the worst blemish from a basketball or upset standpoint. Its more an issue of how it can be shaped. 2011 wasnt the worst an all time great has played. Or the biggest upset. It wasnt a "How could they lose to these bums..." situation. It was a "What is he doing? Did he forget hes supposed to be running this shit?" kinda head scratcher.
Hell put aside the numbers and look at what would be big iconic moments? Imagine Lebron literally dribbles out the clock at the end of game 2 of the finals without getting a shot off....then turns it over to allow the other team to force OT in game 4....and misses the potential game tying FTs in OT, and turns it over to give up the sealing points in game 7. Magic didnt exactly play poorly in the Tragic Johnson series....but imagine Lebron doing all that today. The image of him dribbling out the clock might be the most posted gif in ISH history.
Point is...if you set out to hate you could bend a few things into the biggest deal.
What im sure we all agree on....they lost a series they shouldnt have and Lebron went role player like he forgot who he was. Where it stands in history is gonna depend on what you are looking to prove and why.
As a noted hater of Karl Malone a number of things he did come to mind first when I think choking. Losing in the first round with I think...a 61 win team. When the second all time leading scorer couldnt get his team past 54 points in a finals game. The mailman doesnt deliver on sunday Ft choke before Jordan made the game winner in game 1 97. The strip before Jordan made the title winner in 98. The Blazers crushing with Jordan out of the way(His second shot at a no Jordan league where he was upset early). But again....I have issues with Karl Malone so it shapes my opinion. You have Lebron issues. Id say my issues(being a child ****ing, violent, choker) are more valid reasons for hate than Lebron being a bit of a douche(at best) or a massive douche(at worst). But thats just....a discussion for another time.