Monday, August 06, 2012

Jersey Monday: LeBron James (USA, 2008)

It's hard to believe this was four years ago, and how much has changed since then. Back at the start of the 2008 Olympics, LeBron was coming off a Game 7 loss to the Celtics, but one in which the perception was he'd done everything he could to nearly carry his team to an upset of a vastly superior opponent. He'd never won an MVP award, never won a championship and, most pressingly at the time, never won a Gold Medal.

LeBron and the "Redeem Team" took care of business in Beijing in 2008, rolling through most of the competition before facing a serious test in the gold medal game against Spain. Everyone remembers that game for Kobe Bryant's late-game takeover, which was key, but LeBron was consistently great throughout the tournament. He averaged 15 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game, and his time in Beijing was widely cited the following season, when he rose to MVP status.

Now, of course, we look back at Beijing as the time when the "Big Three" came together. They'd all signed their contracts following the 2006 World Championship, but the idea of playing together on the same NBA team following the summer of 2010 was cemented -- reportedly -- in Beijing.

Oh, I should probably say something about the jersey itself, since it is Jersey Monday. I was never a huge fan of the sublimated design gimmick (something Nike used extensively at the college level), but it certainly looks better as a display element than an on-court element. But I still hate the white-on-white name on back.

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