The World According to LeBron James

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LeBron James didn’t deserve last year’s championship. Ray Allen bailed him out.

I’ve heard that more times than the Lorde song. First off, Ray Allen bailing anybody out nowadays is a pretty slim prospect. I haven’t seen Jesus carry his team since he turned down Denzel and that offer from Big State (or did he?).

Anyway, it got me thinking. What if I really do have Ray to thank for everything? Is the universe/NBA nothing more than a deterministic chain of events following a universal law of cause and effect? Without Ray’s shot, am I just a Cleveland choke artist all over again?

Because if the present moment is truly necessitated by a bunch of other events and conditions that preceded it, I am nothing without Ray. I’m the goat of Game 6. There is no Game 7, no Finals MVP, no Samsung Commercial. My legacy is built on a house of Shuttlesworthian sand and fog.

Look, I’m not a big fan of philosophy. I tend to over think things and most decisions I make are universally panned anyways. But I don’t think our actions are part of a bigger plan or an unbreakable chain of events that started billions of years ago. Some people call it determinism. This King doesn’t like the sound of it.

If everything in the past necessitated everything in the future then can’t we just bypass Ray-Ray’s shot all together and say I single-handedly destroyed the Spurs because of, I don’t know, dinosaurs? Cavemen? Or was it trilobites?

I’m not interested in that kind of world. Before you tell me, “of course you aren’t, ’cause you just want the credit for what Ray did,” you should know that such conditions excuse me from all my transgressions. I’m not responsible for the Decision, or that Clown Parade in Miami. It was all already decided in the Universe’s grand plan. I had no control over my actions.

So yeah, it’s convenient but I’m still not interested. I don’t think events are caused deterministically by prior actions (read: I did not win the 2013 NBA Finals because of Ray Allen). I’m not saying there are no such thing as causes, I’m just saying that there isn’t a single outcome for any one cause. Just like there isn’t only one “the one.” There are probably closer to thousands of people who are “the one.” I love Savannah, and I’m glad she’s the one, but she’s probably not the only one. She’s just the one I ended up with.

So when all you people out there status-post on Facebook about how great your significant other is, don’t forget there are probably a lot of other great people out there too and that you’ll probably break up with the person you’re currently with.

Cole is good at baking. But so is Scott
Cole might be good at baking but so are millions of other people

And so, sure, Ray’s shot against the Spurs was huge. It had a whole bunch of strange energy and it helped change the outcome of that series — I’d call it momentum but we all know that’s imaginary.

But the effect of that shot wasn’t deterministically determined. All it did was tie the game in that present moment. That’s it. The future was a whole bunch of undetermined possibilities. And I determined them. Without me, my body and my phenomenal skill-set, the future was nothing but immeasurable quantum space-time noise. I alchemized that meaningless fuzz into an NBA championship. End of story.

Maybe The Chosen One is fitting after all. I am the Chosen Distributor of the Magically Infinite Possibilities of the Universe.

But so too, are every single one of you.

Look, I get the reason behind all of the hate. If Ray doesn’t make that shot, I lose. That’s true. But that’s just one small part of the story. After all, we’re not strangers to a single, fluke event — our rapid universal expansion.

But are you saying that you had nothing to do with your life? That you don’t deserve the cupcakes you baked or the children you’ve worked hard to raise? Some dense-hot-expansive-jackpot-particle-system does?

Basketball, much like the universe, is made up of alternating layers of action and reaction that aren’t just indeterminate — they’re infinite. You’re not just a puppet on a bunch of cosmic strings.

So stop hating, haters.

Horace Smith writes about sports and the universe with a healthy dose of cynicism. He's based in Portland.
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