Brian Tan | Now Serving
The Curious Case of LBJ
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 07:11
LeBron James is the best basketball player on the planet. If you disagree with that, you either live under a rock or are blinded by hatred and from Cleveland. Starting out as a prodigy who was hyped up as the next great basketball player, LeBron’s path to the NBA has been well-chronicled ever since his days at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. He was the first overall pick in the draft, chosen by the local team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The rest is history. LeBron cemented himself among the game’s greats over the years, and finally won his long sought-after championship this July.
However, he is also the most hated athlete in all of sports. LeBron — or, as he calls himself, “King James” — has been criticized for a laundry list of perceived mistakes. When LeBron reached free agency, he ditched Cleveland because he decided to take his talents to South Beach, even though he had promised an NBA championship in Cleveland. The city of Cleveland felt abandoned, though now, with future NBA superstar and my new favorite player, Kyrie Irving, the Cavs are slowly back on track.
Anyway, “King James” also appeared on “The Decision,” an hour-long ESPN show that revealed where he was going to play the next year. He was criticized for not notifying the Cavs’ front office of his decision before going on the show. Obviously, LeBron could have done some things differently, but I’m here to tell you why LeBron doesn’t deserve your hate.
First off, the most basic reason to hate LeBron is that he took the easy way out by joining Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami to form the Big Three. Hmm, three superstars joining forces to play on the same team to maximize their chances of winning championships. Where do you think they got the idea? Any Celtics fans care to admit it? Maybe when Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all came together and said, “You know what would be really unfair? If we all played on the same team!”
Not surprisingly, the Celtics won a championship their first year together. In a somewhat similar fashion, the Heat made the Finals in the trio’s first year and won it their second. In the year LeBron finally won that elusive ring, he was also regular season MVP, Finals MVP, and an Olympic gold medalist.
Boston fans, I hear you already. You’re saying that the Celtics’ Big Three didn’t go on TV to televise their “Decision,” host an obnoxious celebration party and declare eight championships for their new team. Well, judging by how everyone was trying to predict where LeBron would end up even years before he actually hit free agency, ESPN’s literal nonstop coverage of his possible destinations with Photoshopped pictures of how LeBron would look in each uniform, isn’t it understandable that LeBron had an official announcement to let the whole world know all at once? Instead of just texting Stephen A. Smith or Chris Broussard where he was going, LeBron had “The Decision” because the entire world was highly anticipating his actual decision. Not to mention the fact that the revenue from the show actually went to local Boys and Girls Club foundations. As for the celebration, I mean, come on. Can you really blame a 20-something, multimillionaire, superstar athlete for wanting to party with his best friends — in Miami, don’t forget — and thousands of other people?
Hate is a strong word, and as everyone has been taught, we have more room in our hearts for love than hatred. LeBron could have done some things differently, but what 27-year-old millionaire is flawless in his decisions? He doesn’t deserve your hatred. Unless, I guess, if you’re from Cleveland.
Brian Tan is a sophomore majoring in Chinese and economics. He can be reached at Brian.Tan@tufts.edu.