The articles on LeBron James must be approaching the heavens by now. I will go ahead and state the obvious for those of you who don’t read articles on EPSN every day.
LeBron pinned the target to his own back.
I was talking to a friend in the weight room the other day and we were discussing how LeBron is actually not that bad of a dude. As Rick Reilly astutely observed:
Has he refused to speak to reporters after a single game this season? Has he called out his teammates for their poor play, as Kobe Bryant did twice this postseason? Has he gotten his coach fired? Been fined for criticizing refs? Asked to be traded, released or named general manager?
Has he punched anybody? Choked anybody? Screamed at any parking valets? (Mom doesn’t count.)
Smashed a chair? Drop-kicked any equipment? Tiger Woods does that on the front nine.
He also is a phenomenal basketball player. Every game he brings it, and usually dominates. He can play any position and succeed at it. In some ways he is absolutely unstoppable and as others have noted, instead of just cheering against him we need to enjoy his domination while it lasts because he will only get older and slower. As Joe Pos says:
It’s too easy for people like me to forget just how amazing LeBron was when he lugged a bagful of Larry Hughes, Eric Snow and Donyell Marshall to the NBA Finals by averaging 25 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and nearly two steals along the way. It’s too easy for people like me to forget that in the Cavaliers’ heart-wrenching seven-game loss to Orlando in the 2009 conference finals, LeBron scored 49, then 35, then 41, then 44, then 37 (that was his crazy 37-point, 14-rebound, 12-assist game) before struggling for a mere 25 in the final loss. The guy does extraordinary things, and he does them with regularity.
In fact at times I feel bad for him, wishing that he would have success. But I keep going back to this statement he made. A statement that never should have been made. A statement that (along with “The Decision”) made it okay to cheer against him.
Not 1 [championship], “Not 2. Not 3. Not 4. Not 5. Not 6. Not 7. And when I say that I really believe it. … The way we’re going to challenge each other in practice, once the game starts it’s going to be easy. I mean with me and D-Wade running the wing, I mean Pat [Riley] could come back and play like he was in his Kentucky days. Just throw it up there and we’re gonna get it.
Saying something like this would be like going into a new job and saying, “Because I am here, you will make not 1 million dollars, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7. The sky is the limit. It is going to be easy.”
Some might be inspired, or already annoyed by a statement like this. But after a couple of years go by and the newest brand of “Heat Ovens” are only making $500K, there would start to be some giggles when he walks into the lunch room. And these would turn to outright hilarity if the entrance into the company included smoke and screams. See below.
So hate him, or love him, he has a target on his back, and don’t forget, he put himself in this position.