Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) watches as Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry dribbles during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 7, 2015. (Ben Margot/AP)

Steph infection has jealous James in critical condition

LeBron James needs help, and in so many words, he’ll tell you that himself. The Man Who Was King suffers from an acute Steph infection, and there’s no apparent cure for it.

As far back as his grammar school days, James has craved attention on and off the basketball court. But Stephen Curry gets all the love and sells most of the shoes now. Curry hasn’t just accepted the torch as the best basketball player in the world. He’s taken it miles ahead of the pack, and James just can’t get over it.

“[The Warriors] are not going to be the only team that enters the playoff pool,” James said the other day. “You can be 82-0, man, [but] once the playoffs start, everyone’s 0-0. … Regular-season [performance] is great for the record books, but it means nothing for the postseason.”

Detect a sliver of jealously there?

So the closer Curry and the Warriors get to 73 wins and more history, the more obsessed James becomes with how to take them down. Bron-Bron knows that it will never happen with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a flawed, overpriced team that he helped construct behind the scenes. Now we learn that he has visions of another super power like the Miami Heat team he stiffed two years ago, this time with best buds Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony on the West Coast, presumably.

Emotionally, a chunk of James has left Cleveland already. That was evident in Miami the other night, when he got chummy with Wade in the halftime warm-up — when his team trailed by 21 points. So much for that warm-and-fuzzy return to his hometown.

“Body feels great,” James reported after separate sit-downs with concerned coach Tyronn Lue and general manager David Griffin last week. “I am just trying to put this team on my back and try to help us get to a point where we can just play at a high level. And they always take my lead and my energy, and hopefully they follow me.”

Those are the words of a desperate man at the crossroads, one who has Curry shimmying in his head and can’t believe this is happening to him of all people.

DUBS IN SIX: Could the LeBron and the Dinos beat the Warriors in a best-of-seven series? Not a chance. Too long in the tooth. Too slow. Too few. Too old school.

James is 31 and Wade is 34, and they’re about two years older in basketball years. Anthony is 31. Paul is 32. Come Game 5, they’d be on either fumes or respirators. If there even was a fifth game, that is.

To beat the Warriors, an opponent can’t trade 3s for 2s for 48 minutes, and James and his pals don’t shoot the long ball well at all. James has bricked 71 percent of his treys this season. Wade is even worse — 7 of 37 overall. At 34 percent, Anthony doesn’t scare anyone. Paul (37 percent) is the best of the bunch, and the Warriors have four guys who stroke it as well or better.

Then there’s the bench. There’s a bench? The salaries of James and his buddies would take up so much of the salary cap, they’d be surrounded by a bunch of who-dats and has-beens. That’s no way to dethrone the Warriors, the deepest team in the league.

If James really thinks his Fab Four could win it all, it says just how little he knows about what it takes to build a successful team. But we kinda knew that already.

ANOTHER SORRY EPISODE: Of course, any prediction about the Warriors assumes that Draymond Green is alive and in uniform.

In a TMZ video that was since deleted, Green photographed his speedometer at 118 miles per hour last week. He admitted to “poor judgment” and told teammates that he was sorry once again.

Now Green is on pace to become first player in franchise history to achieve a quadruple-double in points, rebounds, assists and apologies.

MESSAGE RECEIVED: The possibility of another superteam on the horizon is yet another reason why the Warriors should pursue free agent Kevin Durant this summer. Because the longer a team stands pat in this league, the more likely it is to fall back.

JUST ASKIN’: Oregon has been the class of the Pac-12 since the first jump ball, so what were the media smokin’ when they ranked the Ducks behind Arizona, Cal and Utah in the preseason poll?

LET’S GET IT STARTED: The Giants and Chicago Cubs are the pick here to meet in the NLCS this fall — are you gonna bet against Balls? — and if their game on Thursday is any indication, it will be worth the wait.

Jason Heyward and Madison Bumgarner got into it briefly after the Cubs outfielder appeared to stare down the pitcher after a strikeout. Heyward claimed the reaction was intended for a teammate who had erroneously tipped him off on a pitch at second base, which violated the so-called unwritten rules, whatever they happened to be at the time.

“They might want to be a little more discreet about it if you’re going to do that sort of thing,” Bumgarner warned afterward.

A postseason matchup between two of the old and richest teams in the big leagues has the potential for much drama, but if Burgarner still has an 11.12 earned run average by then, all bets are off.

JUST SAYIN’: Blaine Gabbert is the latest quarterback to get raves from nervous 49ers coach Chip Kelly, and that can only mean Scott Bull, Trent Dilfer and Steve Spurrier are next.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to pladewski@sfexaminer.com, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.

Just Posted

Mayor, supervisors reach consensus on plan to fix SF’s mental health system

Both parties agree to drop ballot measures and pursue reform with legislation.

Treasure Island residents could get a break on tolls

New proposal would exempt current occupants from congestion pricing for at least six years

BART police call for ‘apology’ from board member who joined protest over sandwich citation

First came the sandwich, then came the fury. Shortly after BART General… Continue reading

Chinatown robbery prompts silent protest condemning violence against seniors

The attack injured three men in their 60s and was captured on video

Tenderloin nonprofit employs formerly homeless and incarcerated to patrol city sidewalks

Expanded security force welcomed by some, but homeless say they feel harassed

Most Read