King James: Part 2

In my previous post, I gave you all a little insight into how I felt about LeBron James circa 2011, having just blown a chance at winning the championship. James has been worthy of his nickname “King James” for most, if not all, of his life; however, the way in which he wears the crown has definitely changed throughout the years.

Four years ago, James was labeled a villain. Having just signed with the Miami Heat via an hour-long interview now known as “The Decision,” people were outraged; and it was not just Cleveland Cavaliers fans. Every NBA fanatic around the league had something to say; at the time, I may just have been the only one who approved of this arrangement. Although I would miss seeing the obvious brotherhood between Mo Williams and James, would have to stop wearing my maroon James t-shirt, and would have to accept that fact that head coach Erik Spoelstra resembled my (now) ex-boyfriend, I saw James going to Miami as a great thing. First, the Heat previously won a title in 2006. They were also already full of solid talent beyond just Dwyane Wade. On top of that, president Pat Riley, besides being a legend in the world of professional basketball, had a remarkable eye for running an organization. All of this, combined with the fact that Cleveland simply did not have what it took to win a championship, and I was sold. I hate to say it, but I even liked James’ new villainous role. I knew it would feel that much better watching him succeed, knowing how many people wanted him to fail.

But James did not seem to share my sentiment, after his first season in Miami was not exactly going as planned.

He backtracked on the way he announced his relocation, stating he should have done it via a regular press conference. Instead of being confident that soon his promise of “not one, not two, not three…” rings would come true, he felt ashamed that he ever muttered those words. He was careful around the media; explaining his intentions behind yesterday’s quotes, just in case they were misconstrued. He even came forward with a sort of call-for-sympathy via a Nike commercial. James did everything he could to shake his new image, letting it get the best of him rather than embracing it.

And unfortunately, his 2010-2011 season with the Heat only prompted his naysayers to feel victorious.

Fast forward to present day. James, with two championships to his name, is well on his way towards a third. And that is what first comes to mind when you think of him. It is not the sentence “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.” It is not Dan Gilbert’s angry letter.  It is not even failing to the Dallas Mavericks during the 2011 playoffs. Obviously, the team has had time to become accustomed to one another. And yes, they have only added more talent since then. James is also only getting better with age. But all of those reasons are not necessarily why James (and the Heat) turned himself around. The real difference between now and then is attitude.

It could be that James stopped being deemed a villain, simply with time. Or perhaps it was because the following year, he took the Heat all the way. But I am willing to bet that most of it was in James’ control; once he stopped paying attention to what was being said, and focused on what he had come to do, the rest fell to the wayside. James no longer cares what the public thinks of him. He is no longer careful in his interviews. He does not apologize for his words or actions. He is who he is, and that is good enough for him. Good thing too, seeing as he is one of the best athletes in the world.

To me, King James has always been a hero of sorts. It just seems that now, finally, everyone else sees him in the same light too.


King James: Part 1

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After the 2011 NBA Finals, I wrote a piece about LeBron James, on an old blog. Today, I wish to share it with you here, and then dissect it in my next entry. Note: changes have been made to the original.

I could sit here and give my opinion why the winners won, and the losers lost; instead, I am only going to talk about one topic: LeBron James.

James has never been one without haters. From his high school days, to the night he was drafted, to his years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and finally his great “decision”, critics have always had something to say. From attacking his loyalty, to his interview style, to his tweets, his personality flaws have been highly scrutinized, granting him nicknames like “queen James” and “quitness”. His hairline has been thrown under the bus, rumors of his ex-teammate Delonte West and his mother Gloria having an affair have been floating around, even his habit of excessively chewing on his mouthpiece has been under speculation. And yet, something that rarely turns up in anti-James discussions are his actual basketball abilities.

After game six of the finals, the Miami Heat having just lost to the Dallas Mavericks, James stated,

“All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point.”

Within seconds of being released, it was dissected apart. Once again everyone called James selfish and cold. They said he was delusional, that he had no concept of the real world. He was named a traitor to his fans, disrespectful, and yet, was he not spot on?

He may have once again failed to lead his team to victory, ending another season without a ring, but so what? Despite the Heat’s on-stage celebratory declaration of landing “not one, not two, not three, not four…” championships, did anyone really think that after only one year together, they would be able to snag it? And does anyone really believe that James will one day retire from the league without a single stone on his finger and a gold trophy on his mantel? At the end of the day, James has a decade left to accomplish his goals, is still one of the best ballers to ever play the game, and oh yeah, a millionaire only getting richer by the day. So when he basically calls himself a superstar, and his haters Joe Shmoes, does he not have a point? Is he not still winning, even after a loss?

In my opinion, James only has one flaw; not truly accepting his role as a villain. He obviously sees himself as some type of god-figure, supernatural and high above the rest. And even in his darkest hour, supports his decisions 100%. However, despite the number of years in the league, or how much he grows as a player, you will never hear him admit any of this. And that is where his problem lies.

He should bask in his ways. He should celebrate his drive. Openly feed his ego. Take pride in always putting himself first. Instead of always having a more “g-rated” followup statement to any so-labeled outlandish quote that escapes his mouth, he should stand up for his beliefs, back up what has already been said.

“It wasn’t saying I’m better or superior than anyone else. I would never look at myself as bigger…”

There is no need for excuses following his actions. Commercials calling for sympathy, “what should I do? Maybe I should just disappear?” are unnecessary. He is and will always be one of the greatest, and deny it all he wants, he knows it too.

No matter what James does or does not do, says or does not say, stands by or apologizes for, there will always be those who disapprove of his actions, hate what he says, and target his personality. But what will never be denied is the raw talent he possesses, the skills he is continuously developing, and his role as a leader in the game. So why defend himself? Why try to appeal to the masses? To me, it seems the time and energy wasted towards handling “misinterpreted” quotes, “misunderstood” decisions and “misconstrued” ideas, would be much better spent mastering shots, making money and managing a legacy.

Maybe my personality is too close to his, and maybe I love going against the grain, but personally, I bow down to the king. Because on Sunday night, a night that should have been all about the Mavericks and their win, I was ordering pink Lebrons v8/v2s and he was giving reporters interviews that once again made sure the media’s focus stayed on him.