Page 7

THE DAILY IOWAN

SPORTS 7

DAILYIOWAN.COM TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2014

POINT/COUNTERPOINT

PRIME TIME LEAGUE

Is LeBron’s legacy Kirkwood players primed tainted by a third loss? Several members of the Kirkwood basketball team will play in the Prime Time League this summer.

No The past four years have been the most successful in Miami’s history and one of the most dominant runs of any team ever in the NBA. Yet many people view it as a disappointment and a failure on the part of LeBron James. Four trips to the finals in as many years and two championships is apparently not enough for basketball fans to recognize the greatness of fourtime MVP James. Sunday night’s series-ending loss to San Antonio unfortunately brings his legacy into question in the minds of many. Basic logic and statistics would beg to differ. No player on a contending team has more weight on his shoulders than LeBron. The Heat lack an effective, facilitating point guard — except for LeBron. They also lack a legitimate offensive post presence — except for LeBron. He’s the team’s best passer, scorer, rebounder, defender, and easily the most well-rounded player in the league. His career numbers (27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game) prove he is a threat for a triple-double every time he steps on the court. He can play every position on the court, but he cannot do it all at once. The Spurs had seven players who outplayed everyone on the Heat not named LeBron. Basketball is a team sport, and it takes a team effort to win

championships. On Sunday, LeBron scored 31 points; the next leading scorer was Chris Bosh with 13. The one constant has been LeBron, and to win two league titles and four Eastern Conference titles in four years is pretty special for a 29-year-old guy who is constantly relied upon to do it all. At this point, it is completely fathomable that James could still go down as the best to ever play the game. — Charles Green

Yes The answer is a resounding yes. This is not to say that LeBron James isn’t an incredible player. Quite the contrary. If he retired today, his body of work as it stands would easily garner a top-10 ranking in NBA history. However, because of his virtually unparalleled athletic gifts, James’ legacy has been and will remain inextricably linked to the standard-bearer of basketball greatness — Michael Jordan. If Jordan is used as the sole benchmark for appraising James’ NBA success, the impact of the Miami star’s failure in San Antonio on his legacy is profound. Jordan boasted a 6-0 record in the NBA Finals. James’ 2-3 record pales in comparison. When individual Finals games are accounted for, the discrepancy is even more pronounced, Jordan holding the ad-

vantage with 24 victories against 12 losses versus James’ 9 wins to 12 losses. Keep in mind that had Manu Ginóbili made either one of his two late-game free throws in Game 6 of last year’s Finals, LeBron’s pedestrian finals record would have fallen further below .500. Though Jordan comparisons are certainly helpful, there is a contingent of fans and media members who wonder why the Bulls legend’s career is seen as the lone arbiter of NBA success. After all, win-loss profiles from some of the other faces on basketball’s proverbial Mount Rushmore present King James with attainable goals. Larry Bird was 3-2 in the Finals. Magic Johnson was 5-3. However, no matter what past players LeBron is compared with, the real measure of his legacy is his ability to live up to his own expectations. Upon arriving to the team of virtually handpicked All-Stars in 2010, James made the infamous proclamation that he would win numerous NBA championships, specifically “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven …” After a devastating loss in the Finals, the legacy he publicly aspired to his in disarray, and the words “not three” have taken on a significantly different meaning. —William McDavid

By KYLE MANN kyle-mann@uiowa.edu

Last year, the Kirkwood men’s basketball team’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion — it was defeated in the final seconds by Iowa Lakes in the semifinals of the regional tournament. At 21-10, however, the Eagles improved their record from last season and are excited to continue developing as a team in the Prime Time League. Neither the Iowa players nor the Northern Iowa players — who will rejoin Prime Time after a two-year hiatus — were present at tryouts on Sunday, but the Eagles sent a strong contingent that will provide a considerable presence throughout the summer. Led by sophomore Joe Tagarelli, the Eagles will provide the league more young players who play competitively at a high level. The 6-5 Tagarelli is a tenacious rebounder and was awarded Division II first-team All-Region honors last year. A skilled player, Tagarelli will try to use Prime Time to improve his game and become better-rounded and versatile weapon. More than anything, he looks forward to soaking up the teaching and instruction he’ll receive in such a high-profile summer league. Point guard Ajay Lawton accompanied

Tagarelli at the tryout on Sunday, and he said Kirkwood head coach Bryan Petersen recommended that his players participate in the league. The 6-foot guard also received All-Region honors as an honorable mention, and he is eager to improve before a season in which he could garner attention from some Division-I schools. In the meantime, Lawton said, playing with some of his potential competition is of great value. “[I’m looking forward to] learning from D-1 players,” Lawton said. “Taking in what they tell us to do, learn it, experience it.” Lawton will have good company this summer; he will be the lead guard with Hawkeye swingman Jarrod Uthoff and Northern Iowa’s Jeremy Morgan on his side for coach Dan Ahrens. Also joining the veteran Eagles will be transfers Jordan Ashton and Ronald Singleton. For players preparing to play with a new team for the first time, Prime Time will give them more reps in a basketball environment to get a feel for each other. The transfers were not drafted together, so other than watching and supporting each other, most of the development will be dependent on how each player approaches his summer and what he

gets from the level of competition. The Kirkwood presence and competition level is something Chike Ukah — brother of Hawkeye Okey Ukah — said will help the Eagles once the summer is over. “During the summer in the league, it’s something [Petersen] wants us to experience and have an opportunity to get better in,” Ukah said. “I think it’s really going to help team chemistry and bring us all together. Spending as much time together as possible is going to help in the long run, and that’s what this is all about.”

The Daily Iowan - 06/17/14  

The Daily Iowan's print edition for Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

The Daily Iowan - 06/17/14  

The Daily Iowan's print edition for Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

Advertisement