The NBA playoffs are in full swing with the second round in play.
However, there is something missing.
Actually, there is someone missing.
That someone is LeBron James.
We all know James as one of the greatest basketball players to ever live.
So shouldn’t he still be in the playoffs?
Well unfortunately, he was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round for the first time in his long career.
LeBron James is eliminated in the first round for the first time in his career pic.twitter.com/owXvM85tXN
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) June 4, 2021
James is the most popular player in the league and one of the more popular athletes across the world.
It must hurt the NBA knowing that their face is not going to be in the playoffs for the foreseeable future.
But does it really hurt the NBA?
Can the NBA survive without him playing for a title?
The NBA Is Hurting
The NBA and LeBron are synonymous with one another.
He is easily the face of this league.
Fans look for him more than they do for teams.
In fact, the NBA is a sport that is all about the players.
Team fan bases still exist within the NBA, but none are bigger than James’ fanbase.
The legend not playing basketball in the next three rounds of the playoffs is going to hurt the bottom dollar.
The intrigue starts to dissipate without him still playing.
Even former NBA players have voiced their displeasure with the remaining teams and lack of James.
Weakest playoffs ever nobody wanna see Utah vs nets or suns vs bucks lol
— Nick Young (@NickSwagyPYoung) June 4, 2021
Media outlets should be talking about the teams that are left, but instead still want to talk about James.
Is it right to solely focus on him even though he has been eliminated?
However, he brings in the audience and he is very captivating.
He is the face of the sport for a great reason.
To not talk about him for the next three series would be a hindrance to the NBA.
The NBA Will Be Fine Without LeBron
We as fans always scream for parity in the NBA.
Well, we now have that with James out early in the playoffs.
Of course watching him play is amazing and he is a great player.
However, there are so many great players that we can also look forward to as well.
There is the newly crowned MVP in Nikola Jokic; trying to carry his depleted team to a championship.
There are other storylines outside of James and his legacy.
It is okay to move on and focus on the actual sport rather than one player.
In the NFL, there were years Tom Brady or Peyton Manning were eliminated early in the playoffs.
The NFL still pushed forward and nothing changed.
The NBA doesn’t truly need LeBron all the time.
True fans want to watch the sport itself.
Game 7 of the Clippers-Mavs series averaged 5.59M viewers on ABC, making it the 3rd most-watched NBA game of the 2020-21 season, trailing:
a) Mavs-Lakers Xmas Game (ABC/ESPN): 6.95M
b) Dubs-Lakers May 19 Play-In Game (ESPN): 5.62M
Biggest 1st Round draw in 2019: G4 LAC-GSW: 6.29M
— Anthony Crupi (@crupicrupicrupi) June 8, 2021
James is by far the most riveting athlete in the sport and will go down as one of the great players to ever lace up their sneakers.
On the flip side, the NBA is fine where they are.
If the games are good, we will watch.