I’m rooting for LeBron James.
There, I said it.
I’m part of a small minority of newfound LeBron fans, but my legions should be growing.
That’s because the LeBron hate is weak and played out.
Yes, LeBron chose a ridiculous and tone deaf way to pick his new team, but it’s been nearly two years since that happened.
The only people who stay angry for two years about how you choose to make a decision are crazy, jealous, jilted women.
And NBA fans.
Hell hath no fury like an NBA fan scorned.
Yep, NBA fans are the crazy, female stars of an upside down reality show, meet the Real Housewives of the NBA.
Unless you live in Cleveland or were a Cavs fan, hating LeBron for how he joined the Heat is nonsensical.
What’s the worst thing you can say about LeBron other than how he chose a new team?
He bites his fingernails, tries to hide his baldness with a headband that is now nearly the size of a toboggan, and isn’t “clutch” in “big games.”
As villains go, LeBron is the lamest villain in the history of sports.
The fact that he’s a villain at all says more about how contrived the LeBron hate is to begin with than it does about him.
What’s more, LeBron isn’t playing a villain role to drive up ratings. (I wouldn’t mind it if he pulled a Reggie Miller and went this route, but LeBron isn’t playing that game.) He actually wants to be liked, and still seems genuinely stunned by how much hate he provokes.
And why do so many hate him?
It’s not like he’s ever been accused of rape and bought off his accuser — Kobe Bryant — or had a harem of kept women in multiple NBA cities — Michael Jordan — or gotten a DUI while driving to meet a prostitute for a blow job — Charles Barkley.
LeBron’s never done anything that’s actually bad.
Think about this for a moment, would your record be as clean as LeBron’s if you’d become a superstar at 18?
Would you have avoided all trouble, kept the same friends that you had from high school before you made it big, and excelled at your craft to such a degree that you continued to get better and better every year?
Even after you were rich and had “made it?”
That’s incredibly rare.
Hell, most of us haven’t managed that now and we aren’t anywhere near as good at what we do as LeBron is at what he does.
Is LeBron an expert in etiquette?
But when did the average NBA fan turn into Dear Abby fanatics?
What’s more, even his harshest critics would acknowledge that LeBron is either the best or second best in the world at his chosen craft.
I personally think LeBron is the most talented player in the history of the game. Not the best, not yet, but his combination of size and strength allows him to do more and do it better than anyone who has ever played the game.
Hating LeBron is a cliche.
And like many cliches it’s outdated, timeworn, and lacking in any substance.
This year I expected the LeBron hate to die down.
After all, he didn’t commit a felony when he chose to go to Miami. He took less money and donated millions to charity thanks to his televised special. He’s so disciplined that LeBron’s decision didn’t even leak before the special aired. When was the last time an athlete was able to keep his decision quiet enough that a media member didn’t break it first? Not even in the age of Twitter? That’s pretty astounding. With a better public relations staff — or someone other than Jim Grey conducting the interview — this could have turned into a commercial bonanza, the King gives back to fans of his kingdom.
Instead, the decision is a hater’s albatross.
Even still, we’ve had a year to get over this RSVP error.
Instead, amazingly, the Lebron hate has gone to another level this year.
It’s stultifying and overwhelming, it’s all-encompassing.
And it’s stupid.
Put simply, LeBron is the most hated athlete in America who has never done a damn thing worthy of being hated for.
What’s more, in this finals we’re going to be treated to the hero, Kevin Durant, against the villain LeBron argument.
This is fine except for one thing, LeBron hasn’t done anything to make himself a villain.
Both of these guys are pretty damn good guys off the court.
Especially by today’s modern athlete standards, LeBron and Durant are both saints.
Yet one is a hero and the other is the villain.
Stop now, with your inane “clutch” and “big game” arguments against LeBron.
Those are so weak.
Being clutch and winning big games is conveniently defined to be whichever shots LeBron misses in games his team loses.
The big game isn’t whichever game he wins, it’s a moving target, the eventual game he loses.
And, guess what, most seasons end in a loss eventually.
If LeBron managed to win a title this year he’d be a year younger than Jordan did when he won his first.
Bet you didn’t know that.
If he performs extraordinarily, as LeBron clearly did in game six on the road in Boston, the haters brush it aside, waiting to leap upon a failure.
We’ve seen this all before, it’s Peyton Manning part two.
Remember when Peyton Manning wasn’t “clutch” and couldn’t win the “big game?”
Then Manning won a Super Bowl and the talk ended.
Was Manning any more “clutch” after winning a Super Bowl?
Of course not.
But the talk dried up because the argument was stupid to begin with.
A championship will cleanse LeBron.
But it shouldn’t take that long for anyone with half a brain to realize that hating LeBron is played out, pathetic, and nonsensical.
The fact that LeBron has legions of haters is evidence of how weak the hater meme has become.
It doesn’t even take anything worthy of hate to create haters these days.
That’s our flaw, not LeBron’s.