Miami, FL – The king is now crowned, and after nine seasons, LeBron James is finally a champion. Ever since James decided to take his talents to South Beach two summers ago, many wondered if he would ever live up to his immense talent and one day hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy. James’ critics made claims that he didn’t have the “it” factor to get it done and wasn’t clutch enough to carry his Heat to a championship. Something happened at some point during these playoffs, and he became what many thought he could be….a slashing, decisive, powerhouse unlike anything this league has ever seen. During these Finals, James played some of the best all-around ball I have ever seen, also giving Kevin Durant some fits on the defensive end of the court as well. So now LeBron has his ring, and deservedly so. With this being said, a question came to mind….Who is now on the hot seat in the professional sports world to “get it done”? Which players, who currently do not have a championship, need to get one? It’s an interesting topic, which should produce a multitude of various opinions and answers. So here are my “Top 7″ current players without a ring……
7 – Kevin Durant - The guy is 23, and is really not on the hot seat at all. However, he is a 3-time scoring champ and just lost in his first NBA Finals appearance. He is already one of the top 3 players in the world, and is with a franchise who have the parts to win multiple championships in the next several years. This loss could be a great thing for Durant in the long run, as it taught him and his Thunder what kind of intensity the Finals are all about. No real rush for him to win a ring, but he is that good that he belongs on this list.
6 – Ed Reed - Reed will go down as one of the greatest safeties the NFL has ever seen. His instincts combined with his ability to make big plays make him one of the best defensive players in the game today. He has been selected to 8 Pro Bowls, and was the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year. Many people forget that he was not part of the 2000 Ravens who won the Super Bowl, as he was drafted in 2002. Baltimore always seems to be in the hunt in the AFC, but hasn’t been able to get it done in recent years. A championship would really enhance Reed’s career when it’s time for him to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
5 – Carmelo Anthony - The heat on his hot seat was just ratcheted up a few degrees with LeBron winning his title. Why, you ask? Anthony and James are somewhat linked in that they were both in the 2003 NBA Draft. James selected first, and Carmelo third. Anthony got his wish to go to New York, and has plenty of career numbers to one day get him into the Hall of Fame. He will be entering his 10th NBA season in the fall of 2012 and his still in his prime. His playoff success leaves a lot to be desired, and many wonder if he will ever become unselfish enough to win big in the post-season. The heat is on, as Anthony could definitely end his career years from now without that elusive ring.
4 – Tony Romo - Generally, people either love him or hate him. Maybe it’s because he plays for the Cowboys, who always have the spotlight shining brightly upon them. Yes, he has really struggled in December and January in what seems like every season. He hasn’t won much in the playoffs, and we all know that is ultimately how a QB is graded when his career is over. He does, however, have the 2nd highest QB rating in the history of the NFL (96.9). His TD to INT ratio is also very good (149-72), but his mistakes at key times give people ammo in saying that he is overrated. Romo is now 32 years old, and he has to find a way to get it done in the playoffs, and soon. In Dallas especially, you have to win championships to be considered one of the great ones.
3 – Alexander Ovechkin - Ovechkin is still just 26 years old, but seems like he has been around forever. He has tons of accolades, including Rookie of the Year (2006) and two league MVP’s (’08, ’09). He is and has been regarded as one of the best players in the world for several years now, but he and his Capitals haven’t been able to win the Cup. Ovechkin has plenty of time, and my guess would be that a championship or two comes his way before his career is over. He is in his prime right now, and winning big sooner rather than later is much more likely.
2 – Philip Rivers - I put Rivers on this list because he and his San Diego Chargers seem to disappoint each and every year. Rivers has shown that he is one of the best QB’s in the game most of the time, and has the individual numbers to prove it. He is a 4-time Pro Bowler, has a career QB rating of 95.5, and has a TD-INT ratio of 163-78. San Diego has been a pick by experts many times in the last few years as a Super Bowl contender. At 30 years of age, Rivers is not old, but the clock is beginning to tick on him ascending to championship levels. He has the talent, but can he ever get past the likes of Tom, Big Ben, and Peyton in the very tough AFC?
1 – Michael Vick - Much like Tony Romo, he has his fans and his critics. Those who love him point out the huge stats he puts up at times and his video game-like play on the field. Those who criticize him point out how he is too fragile and has rarely won big games during his career. Either way, the time is now for Mr. Vick. He has been given two separate $100 million contracts during his career, by two different organizations. His Eagles did not live up to the hype last year, and struggled to go 8-8. Everyone in Philly is squarely on the hot seat, and excuses have gotten old. In 2012, Michael Vick needs to elevate his game, stay healthy, and win big-time. He got a second chance in the City of Brotherly Love, and it’s time for him to get to the Super Bowl and win it.
Denver Sports by J Simp