Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

LeBron James

Highs: In the spring, James became the 10th player in NBA history to win back-to-back MVP awards. He averaged 29.7 points per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009-2010, to go along with 8.6 assists and 7.3 rebounds, again proving he's the best all-around player on the planet. After some early-season hiccups with his new team, the Miami Heat, James and his mates are in first place and riding a nine-game winning streak. In his much-anticipated return to Cleveland, James drowned out the boobirds by thoroughly dominating his former team: he finished with 38 points, and scored 24 in the third quarter alone.

Lows: His Cleveland career ended horribly. During the Cavaliers' second round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, James shot bricks and seemed disinterested in the last two games, both Cleveland losses. In a nationally televised event dubbed "The Decision," James announced on July 8 he was leaving Cleveland as a free agent and "taking my talents to South Beach." The spectacle angered fans (and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert) in Cleveland, and across the country: people wondered why James dumped his hometown team on national television, and James' previously unchallenged popularity took a huge hit. In Miami, the Heat got off to a disappointing 9-8 start, and James even appeared to intentionally bump his new, relatively untested coach, Erik Spoelstra, while walking towards the sideline during a contentious timeout.

Sean Gregory