Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oh look! Here Comes The "Hate" Anyway! Sorry LeBron!

EVERYONE who follows the NBA remembers LeBron James’ game 5 performances in the 2010 playoffs when the Cavs squared up against the Boston Celtics. I know EVERYONE remembers because EVERYONE has referenced that particular 3-14,15 point outing all week leading into Friday night’s game 5 of the NBA finals due to the very close resemblance of James’ performance in game 4 of this year’s finals. What I’d like to know is, how do people view the way he finished those series? How should they view them? How should we all view him?

LeBron James seems to have no problem bouncing back after a bad game, at least numbers wise. After setbacks that presented themselves as what I’m sure had to be painful losses LBJ finds a way to improve his numbers, after last year’s game five in which he had a fifteen point output he posted a 27pt triple double. After his 8pt disappointment in this year’s finals he rebounded with a 17pt triple double with 10 assists and 10 rbds to go along with that. In game six? 21, 6 and 4. So LeBron James, super natural half man, half basketball god who fancies himself a king seems to have did his best and did everything right.

Greater effort? Check.

More aggressive? Check.

Triple doubles? Check.

I must be forgetting …oh! That’s right ….the win!? How could we forget?

So LeBron James bounces back from adversity and puts up great numbers following poor playoff performances for losses and does EVERYTHING  he could possibly do to win except for…well, you know….win.

And there it is.

People are always debating what LBJ’s legacy is, or will be and thus far for his career, it’s been that he’s the best to never win a damn thing. This must really be very frustrating and awkward for him. I remember someone asking via twitter If these bounce back games are enough to vindicate his prior “choke” games.

I gave this thought loooong before Thursday’s game 5 took place. In fact, I’ve thought about this before game 4…hell, It was BEFORE the season, before Miami ever even played a game, that summer  I was on youtube watching the elaborate and over the top signing party/event listening to James regurgitate a prediction of a multitude of championship rings for he and his Miami brethren when it first crossed my mind. Not even 7 championships were enough to guess for the king, I thought he was just playing up to the crowd. I mean, could he really think it was that easy??? Then he put that thought to bed when he basically said he wasn’t playing around or blowing smoke to appease the fans. Well okay then LeBron.

It was then I realized James needs vindication not just for those “choke” games but for pretty much every time he has ever opened up his yap box.

He kinda needs vindication for his career…for his professional being if you think about it. He is a physical freak of nature, he’s supposed to win. He has built his brand on the belief that he is in fact a winner.  The public has only perpetuated this belief, willingly becoming “witnesses” and begging for him to bring his talents to them New Yorkers promising him fame and fortune, Philly promising cheese steaks for life, everyone put their bid in for a piece of the man  and now that he has spurned all but Miami we all criticize him. I’m sure every city that roots against him would forgive him for his trespasses had he decided to play for them instead of Miami and so I’m led to the even bigger question…that question is no matter  what his legacy is, do we shallow fans and media even have the right to criticize, scrutinize or even question this legacy in the first place? Aren’t we going in on him a little too hard, a little too harsh? Shouldn’t what he has already accomplished stand for itself?

NO.

You can’t call yourself a king without a crown and not expect people to throw rocks at your throne. LeBron James wanted the adulation. We knew this when he named himself “King James”. We knew this during free agency when he donned a yankees fitted and proceeded to toy with reporters about where his allegiance would lay.  We knew this when instead of ignoring reporters, going about his business and quietly signing his contract, he elected to break up with Cleveland on national television.

These are not the actions of a man who wants to be left in the shadows. These are the actions of someone craving attention and when you go out of your way to get that kind of attention, some of it will be bad and you have to deal with it.

This is not hate but the king will likely interpret it as such. No, this is not hate at all. I’m the first to give credit where it’s due. I’ve actually even felt bad for him for a moment because how can a man so wildly talented not expect to win? He’s like some tragic hero from Greek mythology blessed with every advantage and power known to man, except that which could control his own destiny.

Mind you, some of the criticisms are pointless and even idiotic. The man clearly wants to win, he passed up a boatload of money to prove it. Who cares what Jordan would have done in free agency? Are athletes supposed to stay on worse teams and continue to lose simply because MJ would have done that? I call bullshit. Jordan can say what he pleases now because he’s had his great career and made truckloads of money already.

Who’s to say what he would have done had he not won that first title? MJ was a competitor that wanted to beat other great competitors and that’s cool but I don’t even think Michael knows what he would have done after constantly coming up short against those other great competitors.

Also consider the fact LeBron had no Pippen along for the ride, I dunno if Mike could have continued to ride out for so long in a Bulls uni under those same conditions.

While we're at it, lets clear this up here and now when comparing Jordan and Bron Bron, know that James is hands down is the more talented player.

Yeah, I said it. Sorry, Jordan worshipers. Tis’ the truth I speak. LeBron is more talented, Jordan (for now, perhaps forever) is the more ACCOMPLISHED of the two.

Jordan could not pass like LeBron, he didn’t have LeBron’s vision, he didn’t have LeBron’s size, he wasn’t as good as a defender as LeBron nor could he cover as much range. Jordan was a better scorer than LeBron sure, but that’s it. Any other basketball related skill LeBron will cook him in. The only other thing MJ has on him… those pesky accomplishments.

The other thing LeBron gets killed for…his killer instinct…or lack thereof. Should LeBron have won this series, no one would even bring it up again. I’m not saying this intangible should be ignored but any coach would rather have his team be on the same page and all playing well in compliment to each other rather than one individual being responsible for the outcome of the entire game.

LeBron is a playmaker. He makes the correct play whether it’s for him or for a teammate and that’s that. I think that’s very commendable and if I’m a teammate of him I’d be forever grateful for that particular attribute.

LeBron James’ deferring is not a big deal itself. In fact his game and decision making is probably as close as any NBA player will ever get to flawless.  Those things aren’t the reason we love to hate LeBron James.

The problem is his hubris.

    "At the end of the day, all the people that were rooting for me to fail ... at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems they had today. And I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things I want to do."

LeBron just won’t let himself get out of his way. He continues to put unnecessary pressure on himself and his teammates. Consider the pre-emptive celebrating, the boasting, the mocking of the other of theother team’s best player (who has actually kicked your team’s collective ass all series.) He might believe he can handle the pressure but has yet to prove it. I don’t even think it’s too far off to say maybe all this douche bag behavior is to compensate for the fact that he himself knows he can’t handle it.

Are we over analyzing and scrutinizing with all the criticism? Absolutely, but he invites us to do so every time he fails to back up his bold douche baggy statements and stunts with actual wins.  That’s all on you King James, and you deserve everything that comes your way win or lose.

Remember you were never crowned, you anointed yourself.

Now...after losing in six, in a series his team was heavily favored, the king cuddles up to failure yet again and spoons it. You accepted the praise coming into the league, you hammed it up for the cameras tossing your chalk in majestic fashion while the fans drooled; you literally danced on fools in the middle of games. Must of thought this shit was gonna be easy huh?

Our king makes a point to mention the work he puts in away from the cameras and lights as if he rebukes them, yet he’d bring out all the lights and cameras to announce his move to South Beach. It’s almost as if he wants the adulation but on his terms and I’m sorry but it don’t work like that.

It’s time to take your medicine king. Take the ridicule like you took the adoration. It’s time for you to grow up, shut up and lead like a real King or crumble under the spectacle of yourself and prove to be a peasant masquerading in King’s clothes. For the sake of the game itself though, I hope you shut up and play because that's what basketball needs from you.