Talking Points: Will LeBron ever get due praise?

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

LeBron James and the Miami Heat are NBA champions.

The title certainly gives James confirmation that he made the right choice to leave the Cavaliers to sign with the Heat two offseasons ago.

Now, that he has his championship, James figures to be lifted along some of the NBA's all-time greats, right? Well, former Blazer Clyde Drexler wondered to the Associated Press' Jim Litke if James will ever get his due praise.

Like James, Drexler came up short several times in the postseason in Portland, then moved to Houston alongside Hakeem Olajuwon and won his only championship.

"I'm one of those guys who says you can't view team sports the same way you view individual sports. If he gets you 30-plus points, 10 rebounds a night and I'm his teammate and I miss two free throws at the end of the night, is he a great player or not? And does he have to rely on other people for that judgment," Drexler said, without waiting for an answer. "No.

"The guy has an unbelievable résumé, he's the most unselfish, hard-working guy on the court and if you're a fan of the game, you can't help but love the way the guy plays the game. ...

"I know what Michael (Jordan) said about playing against your rivals instead of with them. But when I got to Houston and started playing with Hakeem, frankly, I needed a lighter load. I knew I wouldn't have to work as hard.

"With LeBron, the expectations were outsized once he said he was going to Miami," Drexler said finally. "He met those once. We'll find out how much he's got left."

2

Ichiro Suzuki recorded his 2,500th career hit earlier this week. When asked if he had an eye on 3,000 hits, Ichiro responded that was a dumb question.

OK, then, here are two more questions we hope aren't so dumb.

Question No. 1: Can he get there?

Sure, if he plays long enough. Ichiro is 38, but his batting average has dipped from .352 to .315 to. 272 to .264 in the past four seasons.

His streak of 10 consecutive seasons with 200 or more hits ended last year when he collected 184. He's on pace for 178 this season.

At that pace, he would reach 3,000 hits sometime during his age 41 season.

Question No. 2: If he reaches 3,000 hits, will it be as a Mariner?

Hmmm. Ichiro is in the final year of his contract, earning $17 million this season.

The Mariners are young and rebuilding, so it wouldn't make much sense for them to pay too much to an outfielder pushing 40.

So it comes down to how much the Mariners are willing to pay, and how little Ichiro is willing to take.

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