There's a problem with big expectations, when you don't meet them, it's considered a failure, plain and simple. The bigger the expectations, the bigger the failures when they don't get met, that's how it goes. So when LeBron James left Cleveland the way he did and joined Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami then had an introduction celebration where they guaranteed upwards of 7 championships, you can say that they raised the expectations of everybody watching.
Now, months later and after an inexplicable three game collapse against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, the Heat, and James, are forced to meet the realizations of expectations that weren't met, they are forced to deal with failure.
They made a good run of it, all the way through the Eastern Conference playoffs, squashing the competition with a nonchalance of a champion. Then came the Finals. The pressure tripled, the opposition was tougher than any they faced and once the Heat realized that they would need more than name power alone to win it, they folded like a cheap suit.
Especially LeBron James.
Now, it takes a team to win it and a team to lose it, but if you can make any argument for one player being influential enough to cause a team to lose, then you could make that argument for James. James was great throughout the playoffs, he was a bruiser who could score at will. He, at times, looked like a cross between Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, so much so that Jordan's old running mate, Scottie Pippen, went to the media to proclaim that James could be the greatest basketball player ever.
Then came the Finals.
In the Finals, James pulled a disappearing act so complete that it had even Maverick players checking the court for mirrors. He was a non-factor who became even less relevant as the series progressed. It didn't matter which side of the ball he was on, he was inexplicably inept and it cost his team this Finals.
Champions bring it when the game is on the line. That means both in fourth quarters and in elimination games. James brought nothing but an easy chair to both. The most telling stat that pretty much sums up James's Finals is this; when it came to 5 minutes or less in the fourth quarter, when games are won or loss, James scored zero point this series.
That's none, zero, zilch.
How can a man who is the self-proclaimed 'King' not deliver in crunch time? The answer is as simple as it is disheartening to anyone who is a LeBron fan, it's because he's the King of the regular season. In the playoffs, in the Finals, you need more than skill to succeed, you need heart. You need to play like there is no tomorrow because, frankly, there isn't.
The Miami Heat, and LeBron, have all offseason to realize that. Then, when next season does begin, the true test of their character will begin.