General Admission 

Cleveland’s James is king of world basketball

By Al S. Mendoza

 

EVERY basketball generation has its own star.

On home shores, Caloy Loyzaga it was from the Fifties to the Sixties.

In 1954, Loyzaga was in the Mythical Five in the World Basketball Championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

No Filipino, nor an Asian, has made it to that legendary squad up to this day.

Monikered “The Big Difference,” the 6-foot-4 Loyzaga can do all positions in basketball, from point guard to forward to center.

That is why he was also referred to as “Mr. Utility.”

Only one player has followed in the footsteps of Loyzaga: Robert Jaworski.

Only a mere 6-foot-1, Jaworski could play all three positions with finesse.

So powerful off both boards that he could easily outbox his rebounding rivals with his heft.

So forceful were his lane incursions that he could score easy lay-ups.

He’d be like parting the Red Sea each time he drove in traffic, earning also the tag, “Barreling Big J.”

But his No. 1 weapon was when he directed plays for his team.

He was the epitome of a great point guard, who could create scoring, winning plays with his near-flawless ball-handling skills.

From the Seventies to the Eighties, even extending up to the early Nineties, Robert Jaworski lorded it over.

Up to this day, his following haven’t deserted him.

To both young and old, his charisma is without equal.

There were several challenges to Jaworski’s reign.  All fell short.

His closest pursuers were Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio.

But that’s only because Fernandez and Patrimonio share the record of having four MVPs each—the most by any.

With both now retired, June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer now looks the most formidable to contest Jaworski’s stature.

Not yet 30, Fajardo has also four MVPs.  Well, let’s see what the future holds for this 6-foot-10 gentle giant.

In the U.S. NBA (National Basketball Association), the hottest player in the last decade or so is LeBron James.

This 6-foot-8 wrecking machine can shoot bundles, issue tons of assists and snare rebounds in wild abandon.

That is why Cleveland, James’ team, has entered the NBA Eastern Conference Finals for the eighth straight year.

James highlighted his dominance by sinking improbable, winning shots in powering Cleveland past both Indiana (7 games) in the first round and Toronto in the semifinals (a crushing 4-0 sweep).

James and Cleveland will probably play Boston in the Eastern Finals, with the winner clashing most likely with defending champion Golden State for the 2018 NBA title.

Before James barged into the world stage, the certified stars were Jerry West in the Sixties, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Magic Johnson in the Seventies to include Larry Bird, Michael Jordan in the Eighties to the Nineties and then Kobe Bryant.

But James, a three-time NBA champ, appears to stay a little bit longer. He is only 33.

Didn’t Jordan win his sixth NBA ring at age 35?

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