The LeBron James Saga: What Have You Done For Us Lately?
Sports fans, sports writers and sports broadcasters are idiots. I know. I’ve been all three. I give you LeBron James, one of the greatest athletes of modern times.
When LeBron was drafted as the most hyped high school basketball player in history by the Cleveland Cavaliers seven years ago, I was worried. Not for the fame I knew he would achieve on the court — barring injuries — but of his pedigree.
I had seen too many athletes from low income to ghetto families strike it rich and blow it, ending up like Joe Louis playing doorman for a Las Vegas casino.
I was worried because what I had read was that young James was street smart but academically challenged in the fundamentals of English, geography and mathematics.
I was wrong. It was simply a case of a 16-year-old not applying himself in the classroom to the basics while dreaming of slam dunks, full court presses and NBA championships. But, he was paying attention.
LeBron James is living proof you can succeed in life without being the top of your high school graduating class or a Phi Beta Kappa with a college degree.
What LeBron achieved was not only making more money from his God-given talents in one quarter on the basketball court than I make in a year but parlaying those talents into a titan of industry through judicious marketing.
And he has achieved that not through sports marketing gurus as a Michael Jordan but with a cadre of his old high school buddies whom he trusts.
I don’t know what moral compass LeBron James holds to nor do I judge him by different standards such as propagating children out of wedlock.
I do judge him by his sole purpose at his stage in life to win not one but more NBA championships than any other person who has played the game. Think Bill Russell, the Jack Nichlaus of the roundball game.
The fans in Cleveland are dumbstruck they lost their hometown boy. It is a reminder that there are no loyalties, moral or financial, in professional sports.
James has chosen the Miami Heat as the best franchise to win championships. It was not the best offer. The New York Knicks floated $2 billion in his face over a lifetime contract.
The only franchise that could almost guarantee championships in the bidding wars was the Los Angeles Lakers and their owner/management team decided not.
The way the world of sports works, is that you are nothing if you don’t win championships. Wilt Chamberlain, who won two in a lengthy career, was considered a loser. The poor guy had the misfortune of playing against Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics during their glory years.
Kobe Bryant won three with Shaquille O’Neal with the Lakers and considered a whiner until he won two more these past two years.
The dribble I have heard on ESPN and written matter about James decision moving to Miami is opinions run wild.
Here’s just one excerpt from John Krolic of NBC sports:
LeBron James will never become the undisputed darling of the NBA, the way so many thought he would someday become. LeBron never had much of a cult of personality — a quick look around message boards, LeBron’s FaceBook page, or any comment section will reveal that LeBron is now flat-out reviled by the vast majority of serious NBA fans.
He will never experience the pure joy of bringing his hometown its first championship in a major sport since 1964. If he does win a championship, or even several championships, some people will always remember that he needed Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to get him one. He might win, but it won’t trigger the kind of mass celebration that it would have before. If he wins now, it will have been on his own terms.
History, especially in the world of sports, is the propaganda of the victors. LeBron said all the right things after he came into the NBA. He played at an incredibly high level for seven regular seasons, and won the last two MVP awards easily. He stayed in his hometown and tried to bring the Cavaliers a championship. He was effective, exciting, creative, and explosive on the court. When he failed to win championships, none of that mattered. He was a failure, and all his previous achievements just gave him a higher pedestal to fall from.
A failure? I think not.
Only in sports are you considered a failure when you don’t win back-to-back-to-back championships. That’s an impossible standard even in the real world unless you’re Exxon Oil or something.
As for the fans, their dreams are impossible, too. After 89 years or something, the Boston Red Sox were second fiddle to the New York Yankees until they won two world series in three or four years. Now, Red Sox fans are insufferable. Short of winning the Fall Classic, the team is sour clam chowder.
Chicago Cub fans are so paranoid after more than a century without a World Series win they are accustomed to some jinx snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Fans are spoiled by success and by definition idiots, failing to take into account — well — failure when winning world titles year after year is the standard.
To hear those of the John Krolik ilk weep, LeBron James could be a member of a Miami Heat team to win 10 consecutive NBA titles and still be considered a loser.
LeBron is a winner in my book, as much off the court as on. For he has taught himself the lessons of life learned more on the court than in a classroom when he was too young to know better.
Cross posted on The Remmers Report
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