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Nike Cowboys #21 Ezekiel Elliott White Men’s Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey

Nike Cowboys #21 Ezekiel Elliott White Men’s Stitched NFL Limited Rush Jersey

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It’s no secret the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a need at wide receiver, and the 2017 NFL scouting combine hasn’t disappointed, with a whopping 58 prospects at the position. Even without Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, who didn’t participate because he’s recovering from ankle surgery, this group features a lot of talent. Here’s how they performed in Indianapolis and how they’d fit in with wholesale jerseys the Bucs:

John Ross, Washington: In case you live under a rock, Ross beat Chris Johnson’s NFL combine 40-yard dash record, running an official time of 4.22 seconds (0.74 5-yard split). He sustained a cramp in his calf on the run, which meant his day was done. Now he’ll head home to undergo shoulder surgery. Ross’ 17 touchdown catches in 2016 were tied for most among all receivers in Power 5 conferences. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Ross scored a touchdown on 20 percent of his offensive touches last season, the highest rate among Power 5 conference players with at least 80 touches. Ross had a formal meeting with the Bucs. It should be noted, too, that a player the Bucs are expected to pursue in free agency, DeSean Jackson, has trained with and mentored Ross.

Curtis Samuel, Ohio State: Samuel ran the 40 in 4.31, and would have been the talk of Indy on Saturday had it not been for Ross’ earth-shattering 40 time. Samuel served as an H-back for the Buckeyes, but at 5-foot-11 and 197 pounds, that’s not doable at the next level. He led the Buckeyes with 15 touchdowns last year, but the thing that jumps out in watching his tape is his yards after the catch. He’s also incredibly versatile: He looks physically like he’d line up in the slot, but at other times that he could take handoffs as a running back and take pitches out of the backfield, and of course could go vertical with that top-flight speed — he’s not getting caught from behind. Bucs coach Dirk Koetter would have so many options with him. Samuel also had a formal meeting with the Bucs in Indianapolis.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC: Smith-Schuster ran a 4.54 40, posted a 32.5-inch vertical and had a 10-foot broad jump. Koetter has said he prefers bigger receivers, and Smith-Schuster fits the bill at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. He doesn’t have breakaway speed and looks to be more of a possession receiver. Smith-Schuster had 3,092 receiving yards over the last three seasons, second-most among Power 5 conference players. He’s plenty tough to bring down when the ball is in his hands (watch him stiff-arm defenders) and would be an asset over the middle with that kind of toughness. Koetter also said the Bucs need some yards after the catch. Smith-Schuster is a solid blocker, a plus for a run-heavy team like Tampa Bay. The most interesting thing with him, though, is that despite having great size, he’s not a player you see making many contested catches. He had a formal interview with the Bucs in Indy on Friday.

Zay Jones, East Carolina: He ran a 4.45 in the 40 (0.79 5-yard split) and had a 4.01 in the 20-yard shuttle, second-best among receivers. He turned in a 6.79 in the three-cone drill (13th among receivers). In the last two seasons, Jones produced 1,322 yards after the catch, the most of any player in college football. He also had 535 receiving yards after contact over the last three seasons, also the most among all players in college football.

Rodney Adams, USF: Adams turned in an official 4.44 in the 40, tied for ninth among receivers. In the last two seasons, Adams had 1,221 yards after the catch, third-most among all players in college football, and averaged 10.9 yards after the catch, more than any other player at the combine. He can make an immediate impact on special teams, where he averaged 26.3 yards per kickoff return over the last two seasons and produced a kickoff return for a touchdown against Navy in 2015. He met with the Bucs in Indianapolis.

Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M: Reynolds ran a 4.52 40 and posted a 37-inch vertical (fifth among receivers). That’s pretty darn good for a guy who’s 6-foot-3 game jerseys wholesale. What jumps out with Reynolds is his consistency and production, especially downfield, which is where the Bucs could stand to improve. He averaged 17 yards per reception last season. His 15 catches on balls traveling 30 or more yards downfield over the last three seasons were fifth-most in the Power 5. What may be most impressive of all is that in the last two seasons he was targeted for 22 passes of 30-plus air yards and he managed to haul in 15 of them. No other player comes close to that. He had 2,788 receiving yards over the last three seasons, fifth-most in the Power 5, and his 12 receiving touchdowns in 2016 were tied for eighth. His 377 receiving yards after contact over the last three seasons were fifth-most in college football. Reynolds met with the Bucs in Indianapolis.

Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky: Taylor turned in a 4.50 40, dominated the three-cone drill with a 6.57, tops among receivers, and posted a 33.5-inch vertical. His 11-foot broad jump was also tied for sixth among receivers and his 11.23 60-yard shuttle was eighth. His 3,197 receiving yards over the last two seasons were most of any player in college football, as were his 34 receiving touchdowns. He could making a living on yards after the catch, and with his size (5-foot-11 and 198) and skill set, is probably best suited for a role in the slot.

Chris Godwin, Penn State: Godwin turned in a 4.42 in the 40 (0.79 5-yard split), tied for fifth among receivers, and a 4.00 in the 20-yard shuttle, tied for tops at the position. Where he really shined was in his on-field work, matching effortless catch after catch. Godwin had 2,421 receiving yards over the last three seasons, ninth-most in the Power 5 during that span. His 303 receiving yards after contact over the last two seasons was third-most in college football and most in the Power 5. He’s a player who has shown great ability to catch the ball on passes deep down the field. At 6-foot-1 and 209 pounds, he’s got pretty good size.

Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia: McKenzie ran a 4.42 in the 40 (tied for fifth among receivers), posted a 36-inch vertical and had a 6.64 in the three-cone drill, second among wide receivers. At 5-foot-7 1/2 and 173 pounds, he faces a huge size disadvantage at the next level as a receiver, but he could make a big impact on special teams with five punt returns for touchdowns (third-most in SEC history) and a kickoff return for a touchdown in three years at Georgia. If the Bucs did utilize him on offense, it would have to be out in space, working out of the slot.

Ryan Switzer, North Carolina: Switzer had 2,566 receiving yards in the last three years, sixth-most among Power-5 players in that span. At 5-foot-8 and 181 pounds, his size is limiting at the next level, but he could be a productive slot receiver, although he doesn’t offer an upgrade over what the Bucs have already in Adam Humphries. Where he shines is on special teams. His five punts returned for touchdowns tied an NCAA single-season record.

Shelton Gibson, West Virginia: He was expected to be one of the faster players in the combine but turned in a 4.50; it was disappointing considering the way he hyped his own speed, saying that he’d top Johnson’s record. He didn’t come close, although his on-field speed is more eye-catching, and he’s got decent size at 5-foot-11 and 191 pounds. He finished first in the 60-yard shuttle with a 10.71. He is one of those receivers you could really air the ball out to downfield. In fact, his 17 receptions for 20-plus air yards and 13 for 30-plus air yards both were more than any other Power 5 player last season. Over the last three seasons, he produced 21 catches for 30-plus air yards, also tops among Power 5 players. His ability to make adjustments to the ball on tougher catches is impressive.

Artavis Scott, Clemson: Scott managed only usa wholesale jerseys a 4.61 in the 40, disappointing for a player with his level of production in college. His other numbers were also near the bottom (4.49 in the 20-yard shuttle and 12.06 in the 60-yard shuttle), something he’s going to have to answer for as pro days and private workouts get underway. He had a combined 2,149 yards after the catch over the last three seasons, more than any other player in college football during that span. His 534 receiving yards after contact over the last two seasons were second-most in college football. What Scott brings is sure-handedness: His 78.5 percent receiving percentage over the last three years was fourth-highest among Power 5 players athletic jerseys wholesale.

Mike Williams, Clemson: Williams did not run the 40 but posted a 32.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot-1-inch broad jump. His most impressive trait on tape is his ability to adjust his body in mid-air — he’ll dive and spin and contort his body in all sorts of ways to make some really tough catches, including jump balls, much like Mike Evans. Williams had 60 receiving first downs in 2016, second-most among players in the Power 5. At 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds, he looks the part of a player Jameis Winston could lob the ball to or hit on a back-shoulder fade. He also looks like a player who could fill the role left by Vincent Jackson and grow with Evans for years to come.

Wholesale Jerseys: Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor in a sophomore slump?

Wholesale Jerseys: Sixers’ Jahlil Okafor in a sophomore slump?

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No. 1: Jahlil Okafor in a sophomore slump? — There’s a young big man wholesale jerseys who ’s slowly capturing the imagination of starved basketball fans in Philly, but enough about Joel Embiid. The forgotten big man in Philly, with all due respects to the injured Nerlens Noel, is Jahlil Okafor. The No. 2 overall pick two summers ago isn’t seeing improved production this season, which the Sixers counted on after his somewhat rocky transition from college a year ago. Here’s Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News on the enigmatic second-year center:

The reactive fans in this city, as most are, go right to Okafor’s defensive struggles and insist, for now, that his isn’t a place easily found on this team and that he is the team’s most valuable trade commodity. Okafor undoubtedly has struggled, mightily at times, at the defensive end. He knows it. The coaches know. The fans know it. But there is so much more to it all than just saying it’s time to ship him. That is just too reactive and narrow-minded, for now. And when viewing this organization, that isn’t the proper lens too look through.

In Okafor, the team has a wonderfully talented offensive player who possesses the footwork and post moves rivaled by few others in the NBA for a man his size (6-10, 275). That part of his game has always been there. That is a big reason why he was a college recruit in eighth grade; the reason he has been the best player at his age since anyone can remember. And it’s an area that can still use improvement. See, Okafor never had to run a pick-and-roll before; giving it to him and clearing out is what was done for him in high school, on the U.S. national team and during his one season at Duke.

Defense was passable in high school simply because Okafor was so much bigger and stronger, and smart enough to know how to use his talent. Rarely was he relied upon at Duke for stoppages or much rebounding; mostly, he had to stay out of foul trouble.

That is how stars are treated, and Okafor has always been that. Now, however, he finds himself as an NBA backup to one of the most electrifying players this town has seen in quite some time in Embiid.
It’s a big difference for me and something that I’m trying to adjust to,” said Okafor, who scored 10 points in 27 minutes in the Sixers’ 105-89 loss to Chicago on Friday night. “I haven’t even played a full NBA season, and I’m already trying to adjust to something new. I’m trying to get it down. I know the fans, they want everything to come right away, and I understand where they are coming from. I’m going to work as hard as I can to make it happen as soon as possible.

“With me, there’s a lot that goes into the role that I’m playing – with Joe not being able to play some nights or more than 24 minutes on others usa jerseys wholesale.

Once his restriction is off and we have the opportunity to play together, I’m anxious to see how it all plays out.”

Perhaps it will play out that way. More likely, it could be a case of Embiid getting his 30 minutes, Okafor relieving him and the two getting some time on the floor together. Seeing Okafor display displeasure at a lack of minutes because of Embiid’s play isn’t a bad thing. It means he wants to be out on the court. The next step is to do everything possible to ensure that, which directly points to his play at the defensive end.

No. 2: Evan Turner looking to get on track in Portland — To say that Evan Turner’s transition from blue collar worker in Boston to highly-paid sub in Portland has been rough is an understatement. Turner hasn’t found his groove in the Blazers’ system and at least initially looks like a poor fit. The Blazers thrive on 3-point shooting, which he doesn’t do well at all, and low-post rebounding, which he does fine for a swingman. There’s an urgency to put Turner in a thriving role but so far the results are mixed at best. Turner spoke recently with Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe and sounded upbeat nonetheless:

The thing Evan Turner said surprised him about Portland? The rain. Turner said he was unaware that it rained so much in Oregon, despite being in the Pacific Northwest location and its proximity to Seattle.

Like in his other NBA stops, it’s taking time for Turner to adjust to Portland, which signed him to a four-year, $70 million deal this summer after two successful seasons with the Celtics. Turner earned $3.42 million last season in Boston, and he’s making $16.3 million this season in rainy Portland. Hence his decision to leave, despite his attachment to the Celtics.Through 17 games for the Trail Blazers, the versatile Turner was averaging 8.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists, and shooting 40.4 percent from the field. Eventually he’ll catch on, but it will be on Turner Time.

“I was just excited about the Trail Blazers and how they ended [last season], and obviously the money was great as well, so I thought it was a great mixture,” he said. “I think the culture here is good and we’re going to keep getting better and better and hit our stride.”

Turner revived his career in two years in Boston. Celtics coach Brad Stevens helped Turner discover his calling as a ballhandling forward who could score, rebound, and distribute the ball. After years of trying to shake the tag of being a flame-out in Philadelphia, Turner became comfortable in his own skin and found happiness with the Celtics’ roster of journeymen and afterthoughts from other organizations.

“I was most definitely comfortable there,” he said.

“Going through certain situations where there were coaches who didn’t comprehend my game and I wasn’t always in position to be comfortable sometimes. When you finally find that mixture of great basketball and off-the-court [things], you definitely don’t take it for granted.”

The Celtics have missed Turner in terms of offense and team chemistry. They could use a player besides Isaiah Thomas who is capable of hitting a key jumper down the stretch or pulling down a big rebound. Perhaps it was what he experienced in Philadelphia or even at Ohio State, but Turner was fearless in Boston. He played with no hesitation and no regrets.Turner chose to wear No. 1 with the Trail Blazers.

No. 3: A labor primer from the expert wholesale jerseys for cheap– When it comes to the nuances of the labor agreement, few are as well versed as Larry Coon, the guru of collective bargaining. The next labor contract between NBA owners and players is nearly done with regard to most money issues, but there are still remaining issues to be settled. One of the key issues will be free agency; Coon believes there’s a push to limit the freedom of certain players, especially the superstars from leaving their teams. Here’s his take on what’s probably coming soon, maybe before the All-Star Game:

Here are three issues the two sides appear to be addressing in the next CBA, according to media reports over the past month or so.

1. Slowing down the formation of super-teams

Durant leaving the Thunder for the Warriors sent shock waves through the entire league. It shouldn’t have been so easy for a team to win so many games and then sign a recent MVP in his prime without touching the core of its roster. But because the stars aligned just right in 2016, that’s exactly what happened.
2. Making restricted free agency less restrictive

Restricted free agents have always been akin to second-class citizens. They don’t enjoy true freedom of movement, because their prior teams can match any contract they sign, which puts the brakes on their departure.

And because of the three-day window to match a contract offer, teams are hesitant to make offers to restricted free agents. They often feel they can’t risk tying up their cap room for three days in the crucial free agency period, only to have their offer matched — not only do they miss out on the free agent, but other free agents are getting signed in the meantime.
It appears the new agreement will feature several rule changes aimed at leveling the playing field for restricted free agents. Teams will be able to sign them to offer sheets as early as July 1, while unrestricted free agents will still have to wait several more days until the end of the July moratorium. The window to match an offer will be shortened to 48 hours, and teams will no longer be able to scare off other teams by proclaiming they will match any offer game jerseys wholesale, then wait the entire match period before pulling the trigger.

3. Taking the D-League to the next level

The sides are making a number of changes to increase the value of the D-League as a true minor league. Some D-League salaries will rise from their current $19,000 — $26,000 to a much healthier $50,000 — $75,000.

The league will introduce two-way contracts, in which the player will earn a higher salary when he’s with the parent NBA club and less when he’s playing for the D-League affiliate. The league also will add two additional roster spots for two-way contracts.

Quick glance at players under 27 who could be traded wholesale jerseys

Quick glance at players under 27 who could be traded wholesale jerseys

Five of the six finalists for the Most Valuable Player Awards wholesale jerseys were guys who played in 2016 at age 26 or younger. And spoiler alert: None of them is going to be traded this winter.

But in a game that, as evidenced by that finalist field, increasingly revolves around young and controllable talent, there are actually several other young bodies who do have the potential to be dealt.

Here are some young guys — all of whom will be south of 27 on Opening Day 2017 — who qualify as trade possibilities.

Jurickson Profar, Rangers

He’ll be 24 on Opening Day, he’s versatile and Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels calls him a “winning piece.” It’s a piece Daniels would be reluctant to part with, and maybe his uninspiring slash (.239/.321/.338) in 90 games in the bigs this past season limits his trade value.

But every scout in baseball knows of Profar’s talent, and his ’16 ought to be graded on a curve, anyway, given that he missed two full seasons of development due to shoulder issues. Most likely, the Rangers keep him, but Profar doesn’t have a set role in their infield (he currently shapes up as a super-utility sort) and, with three years of contractual control remaining, he could be used as an attractive chip in a deal for a starting arm, especially if the buying team is simultaneously trying to reload and compete.

Yasiel Puig, Dodgers

He was on this list a year ago, and here we are again. You can pretty much copy-and-paste last year’s outlook right here. Puig is still young china wholesale jerseys (he turns 26 next month) and enticing enough to generate trade interest despite the injury absences, the performance lag and the occasional distractions. The Dodgers love the way he responded to his brief Triple-A demotion in ’16, and his bat showed improvement down the stretch for a Dodgers team that greatly needed impact against left-handed pitching.

Because of that last element (Puig had a respectable .784 OPS against lefties), Puig is probably more likely to stay put than to move. But if the Dodgers do make a play for one of the big commodities in this trade market, Puig’s is a name that will be mentioned.

Marcell Ozuna, Marlins

Another guy who generated a lot of trade chatter — but not an actual trade — a year ago. Unlike Puig, Ozuna, who turned 26 earlier this month, arguably upped his trade value with a bounceback year, in which his OPS rose 82 points and his home run total returned to its 2014 form (right on the nose, in fact, as Ozuna hit 23 each year, sandwiched around the 10 he hit in ’15).

The Marlins’ rise to relevance was dealt a devastating blow with the untimely loss of Jose Fernandez, and it’s doubtful they’ll spend big money to upgrade their rotation. They don’t want to move Ozuna, but if they want to field a competitive rotation in this market, they might have to. It should be noted, though, that some teams will be leery of the big split between Ozuna’s first (.892 OPS) and second (.609) halves.

Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, Nationals

This really isn’t intended to be a list of prospects potentially on the block, and Giolito and Lopez will enter 2017 with their rookie status intact. But they did make their first forays into the big leagues this year, and they are high-velocity, highly-valued arms in this marketplace.

Multiple reports have indicated the Nats have interest in some of the bigger names in the starting pitching trade market (Chris Sale, Chris Archer), and the organization does have a history of adding strength to a rotation already perceived as a strength. Teams would ask about Trea Turner, but he’s locked into an everyday position in 2017. The Nats might be more accommodating if/when these names arise.

Jorge Soler, Cubs

Even if the Cubs don’t re-sign Dexter Fowler, they’ve got depth in the outfield, with the potential to add more. The return of Kyle Schwarber adds to a group that counts Soler, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Albert Almora Jr. and Matt Szczur among its options.

Basically, it’s hard to know what Soler’s role game jerseys wholesale will be in this crowded unit. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein has told reporters he’d like to see Soler “reach his full potential with us, if possible,” and we got a taste of that potential late in 2014 and in occasional flashes since. The Cubs could certainly use Soler, who turns 25 before Opening Day, as a trade chip to land pitching depth.

Anthony DeSclafani, Reds

He qualifies for this list by the slimmest of margins, because he’ll turn 27 two weeks into the ’17 campaign, but, with just 341 innings under his belt, DeSclafani is certainly a young’un.

I include DeSclafani here not because the Reds have an eye on moving him. Quite the contrary, in fact. But with the starting pitching free-agent market as thin as it is, we can’t rule out the possibility of a team, much like the D-backs with Shelby Miller a year ago, getting drunk off DeSclafani’s ’16 breakout (130 ERA+, 3.28 ERA in 20 starts) and cost control (he’s not eligible for free agency until after 2020) and making the still-rebuilding Reds an offer they simply can’t refuse.

Cesar Hernandez, Phillies

By default, the Phillies are closer to contention than they were a year ago, but their mindset ought not be much different than it was a year ago. If there’s an opportunity to sell a player at the point of his perceived peak, they have to investigate it. Hernandez, who turns 27 next May, was benched in late June, then played like his hair was on fire. He hit .326 with a .421 on-base percentage, eight doubles, six triples and four homers in his final 83 games, and his speed is a potential strength as his instincts mature.

The Phillies can use the newly acquired Howie Kendrick wholesale jerseys review in left field and keep Hernandez. But the Kendrick acquisition did seem to increase the possibility of Hernandez being dealt.

Tyler Skaggs, Angels

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal listed Skaggs as an “under-the-radar” trade candidate in a recent report, and, really, in this market, that shouldn’t be terribly surprising. Yes, the Angels are thin on pitching, so moving Skaggs would seem counter-intuitive. But the Halos are trying to contend without adding any more big contracts to their books, and the 25-year-old Skaggs’ potential, now that he’s returned from Tommy John surgery, combines with the thin free-agent market to give the Angels the potential of moving him to fill their most glaring need at second base.

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Just one step more will help LeBron wipe away pain

Just one step more will help LeBron wipe away pain

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Well, on the eve of Game 7, let’s just say LeBron James was so at ease, he could go hours without deodorant and not stink wholesale jerseys.

“I’m going to give everything I’ve got to my teammates and my coaching staff, as I’ve always done,” he explained. “And I live with the results. One thing I can’t live with is if I don’t go out and be true to the game; that would stop me from sleeping. So I’m ready to go.”

This should come as scary news to the Warriors, and the most refreshing news for Cleveland since 1964, the last time the city celebrated a professional sports title of any kind. LeBron is chilly like Harrison Barnes’ shooting percentage because inside, his confidence is burning. The jump shot is falling, the path to the rim seems six lanes wide and suddenly he’s doing whatever he damn well pleases in this series. He knows that he’s on, perhaps, the finest stretch of his career, all things considered. Yes, he did have that gargantuan series against the Pistons in 2007 (48 points, nine rebounds, seven assists in Game 5). Yes, sport jerseys wholesale he did chop down the Celtics in 2012. But neither was the NBA Finals.

Nor did they put the Cavs on the doorstep of history.

The agent for a Cavs’ player who shall not be named made a point of grinning and insisting the Warriors are feeling the entire burden, and that’s not entirely true. The Warriors do need to justify their 73 wins this season, and true, they coughed up a 3-1 series lead. But they have a ring. Worst case scenario, they lose Sunday (8 PM EST, ABC) and bleed a little, then start next season with a strong and relatively young core good enough to reach the Finals again and be the favorites.

LeBron returned to Cleveland two summers ago to create a new image for a sobbing city with a sports inferiority complex, and that can only be secured with a championship. That’s heavy. That’s a burden. How many more times will he get this close game jerseys wholesale?

And he’s one win away.

“I don’t think people imagined it this way, the route we’ve taken,” he said.

He was the teenaged basketball messiah from Akron drafted No. 1 by the sad-sack Cavs and therefore planted a seed of hope. That initial tour of duty in Cleveland resulted in one championship appearance, where the Cavs were rudely swept by the Spurs, to be followed shortly afterward by a nasty defection to Miami. After living out his mid-life crisis with the Heat, winning two rings, LeBron returned two summers ago to a hero’s welcome only because Cleveland was just as miserable as when he left, maybe more wholesale basketball jerseys.

The Cavs last season were simply unlucky, harpooned by injuries and therefore ran out of gas last summer against the Warriors. LeBron was the most important player on the floor, then and now, especially the last two games, both 41-point masterpieces, forcing a winner-take-all Game 7.

His averages in this series: 30.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 2.7 steals, 2.5 blocks in 41.2 minutes of heavy labor. He’s away from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, his All-Star teammates in Miami who relieved him of all the leadership responsibilities and pressure, and blessed only with Kyrie Irving, which magnifies what he has already accomplished. Win or lose in Game 7, LeBron should be a strong favorite if not a lock for MVP — Jerry West is the only MVP winner on a losing Finals team — and jerseys wholesale usa he managed a wisecrack about that.

“The last time I answered a question about MVP, it didn’t go so well for me,” he said, “so I’m not going to do it.”

Why should he? His play speaks loudly and boastfully. If you combine this series with last summer’s, nobody has more points, rebounds, assists or blocks than LeBron. He shot only 40 percent last summer, mostly because he wore down from the load without Irving and Kevin Love, but is far more efficient now. Besides, his defense and especially shot-blocking has been brilliant if barely noticed from the outside; when the subject came up Sunday, he took the opportunity to mention his pet peeve: “I’ve been highly upset that I haven’t won Defensive Player of the Year.”

So yes, he cares about individual honors, another reason why he’s taking delight in outplaying Steph Curry, the only player to win MVP other than Kevin Durant and LeBron in the last six years.

LeBron is gunning for three trophies, then: Finals MVP, championship hardware, and a statue that will surely be built in Cleveland should he do the unimaginable. And yet, regarding that last piece of metal, he’s being cool about it, because he doesn’t want his teammates to deal with that gorilla. Deep down, maybe he doesn’t want the Win For Cleveland campaign to consume or suffocate him, either.

But it’s impossible to ignore what’s at stake.

“I came back for a reason, and that’s to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland,” he said. “That’s been one of my goals. But I don’t add too much pressure on it. You go out there and see what happens. I mean, if we win and we take care of business, that’s something that our city hasn’t had in a very long time.

“The word everyone likes to use in sports is ‘pressure.’ I don’t get involved with it. But I guess in layman’s terms, ‘pressure’ is an opportunity to do something special, and I’m fortunate that I can be in position where I can do something special.”

If you ask him, he’ll spend the hours leading up to tipoff in his very own chill chamber, barely noticing the fuss around him, unable to see Cleveland mobilizing itself 2,000 miles away, just in case. LeBron mentioned that he’s been inspired by watching “The Godfather” almost non-stop, and judging by the level of his performances of late, it wasn’t “Godfather III.”

One championship in Cleveland is worth, what: Five in Miami? A place on the basketball Mount Rushmore? Dinner for life in any Ohio restaurant? At the very least, every man and woman in Cleveland will suddenly develop amnesia regarding The Decision, if they haven’t already.

A group of fans burned his Cavs jersey when he announced he was headed to Miami, and the emotion that LeBron will generate, should he win Sunday, would be the complete opposite.

Lake Erie, the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame, and LeBron. Those would be the everlasting Cleveland landmarks, and not necessary in that order.

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