They still call it a mistake. They still shout out in article after article it was selfish and gratuitous, egotistical and ridiculous. They still say it was the biggest PR blunder in sports history. It being the nationally televised Decision by LeBron James to “take [his] talents to South Beach.”
And just who are they? Practically any fan, coach, analyst, or media mouth who doesn’t root for the Miami Heat (and surprisingly quite a few who do).
While most fans of Miami are ecstatic about LeBron’s decision to join his friends, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a troika of superstar talent (in their prime) on one team the likes of which the NBA has never seen, and most don’t feel he did anything wrong in hosting his show to let everyone know, those who don’t cheer for the Heat look at it in a very different way.
Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel recently wrote of it in his piece titled LeBron’s Decisive Backlash Topped All Stories saying “America darn near vomited because of it.”
I have a feeling Mr. Wetzel may have upchucked a bit of his lunch when he heard James reveal he was coming to South Florida to form the “Three Kings”, and I’m sure he wasn’t alone, but was the entire country suffering from a sudden case of feeling like they had to hurl simply because LeBron had revealed his decision on a one-hour show?
Umm, I highly doubt it.
In fact, I think very few people outside of Cleveland and Ohio were incredibly upset over the whole thing initially.
Now, in that region of the nation there’s no doubt people were tossing their cookies when they heard the news, but even then it wasn’t so much the way LeBron had let them know he was leaving them behind, but rather just the fact he was abandoning them in their minds.
To people in Ohio, and especially Cleveland, James’ decision to leave the Cavaliers was tantamount to treason; it’s why there was no dearth of people burning his jersey on the streets of Cleveland immediately following (and even during) the show.
Those fans visceral reaction was understandable to a degree, although ultimately misguided and ridiculous when looked at in hindsight. Their expectations were simply unreasonable.
They felt LeBron owed them something. They’d projected their fantasy onto him, that he would be the savior of the town, and deluded themselves into believing he wanted that responsibility.
Of course, those fans latched onto the media’s (and Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert’s) pathetic lie that they were only upset because of how he revealed his decision, not the decision itself.
Anyone with a brain could see right through that deceit. They weren’t upset James’ had gone on national television and hosted a one-hour show that benefited the Boys & Girl’s Club. They were irate because they thought he was indebted to them in some way.
LeBron had been drafted by the Cavaliers and had given Cleveland fans seven years of incredible joy. He hadn’t brought them a championship, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. As Cleveland’s record this year indicates, he all but single-handedly took the Cavs to an NBA Finals and the best record in the NBA two years running.
He, and Cleveland fans, were let down by Gilbert’s inability to surround James with enough talent to seal the deal.
However, moving on from Cleveland fans, let’s get back to America as a whole. As is pointed out above, there seems to be an overwhelming mantra that’s being repeated over and over and over by the press that most Americans view LeBron’s Decision show as some sickening ode to ego.
I don’t see it that way, and I’m sure there are many who feel just like me. Yet, why is it there are so many, especially in the media, who do feel that way? Are they all just haters?
Here’s what I believe. I believe most in the media still just haven’t been able to forgive LeBron for showing them to be the know-nothing fools and morons they truly are. You see, the vast majority of these idiots had repeated their own tripe so often they’d actually begun to believe it was gospel.
Some of them had him going to New York, and they’d made their case as to why the Knicks were the perfect team for LeBron, and how he would thrive under the lights of the Big Apple; reviving a franchise in the biggest sports market in the world that had floundered for a decade.
Many of those writers, pundits, and analysts were fans of New York and New York teams, and like most fans from New York, arrogantly believed no one could ever possibly want to play anywhere else.
Then, of course, there were those who desperately tried to convince themselves, their readers, and everyone else James was headed to Chicago to join forces with Derrick Rose (they even boldly claimed Wade would be joining him there even though the Bulls didn’t have enough cap room to sign them both).
Still others in the media (as well as fans) from across the country were selling their readers the fantasy LeBron would come play for a team like the New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks, and even Los Angeles Clippers.
My goodness; what imbeciles.
When the idea LeBron might actually choose to play in Miami (with Wade and Bosh joining him) was brought up to any of these fools, they would laugh at you so hard it was tough for them to even speak.
I know, because I dealt with it personally. I called the whole thing even before Stephen A. Smith did, and everyone I brought it up to simply dismissed it as if I was telling them aliens had landed in my backyard.
They simply couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea. Why? Because it frightened them. It scared the living bejeezus out of them. It made the hair on the back of their necks stand up and had their subconscious screaming out, GOD NO, DON’T EVER LET THAT HAPPEN!
They knew that a pairing of Wade and LeBron alone would produce a team difficult for any other to beat eventually, and that teaming both of them up with Chris Bosh would be tantamount to handing the title to Miami for the next four to five years at least.
We’re beginning to see why their fears were justified. While Miami began the season with a series of disjointed performances that had even this writer anxious and wondering if something drastic needed to be done, they’ve since righted their ship, and have proven to be the best team in the NBA over the past month.
They’ve effectively shown they can play together, and that when they do, it’s damn near impossible for any team to beat them (including the defending Champion Los Angeles Lakers).
So, that brings me back to what Dan Wetzel said (and he’s not alone in this sentiment, as it’s parroted in the national sports media almost daily) about how people perceived LeBron’s Decision.
Again, I don’t think all these people truly thought the one-hour show was the PR nightmare they claim it was. What I think is going on here is they were thoroughly embarrassed.
LeBron James had gone on national television and proven completely, and without a doubt, that these dunderheads didn’t have a single clue about what they’d been talking about. He’d spent an hour revealing to millions upon millions of Americans that the sports media establishment was, to put it bluntly, full of crap.
He’d shown them up. He’d shown them to be ignorant and foolish and full of themselves, and they didn’t like it one bit. So, what did they do? They immediately turned him into this “villain” in hopes everyone would forget how wrong they’d been in their assessment of the situation.
After all, they were only wrong because LeBron had gone on national television and spent 60 minutes being selfish. Or that’s what they’d have you believe.
James’ wasn’t selfish. He was selfless. He gave up easy acclaim for a tougher road. He knew there would be some backlash (although even he probably couldn’t have anticipated the level of hatred and ire from so many), and yet he still did what he did.
And of course, what he did was nothing more than tell everyone where he was going to play ball from now on. Wetzel and others would have you believe it was the equivalent of some self-aggrandizing infomercial bent on crowning LeBron “King”. However, James had already been bestowed that title by his adoring fans.
The real truth is this. Wetzel and his colleagues simply can’t stomach that he proved them wrong. They’ll never forgive LeBron, as most people like them never do. They bear a grudge, picking at it like a scab that won’t heal; and their hatred and bitter bile eventually eats them up inside.
I actually pity them in many ways, as they’ll never be able to enjoy the greatest basketball team our generation will ever witness; and that’s precisely what the Miami Heat are going to be known as someday.
We are only at the beginning of a journey that I truly believe will end with LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and the rest of the South Beach Superteam hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy six or seven times in a row; destroying teams and records along the way.
Will I be right? Only time will tell. However, if I’m proven wrong, I can assure you I won’t be as hateful toward anyone or anything the way these blowhards in the media are about LeBron and his Decision.