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Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2007

Criticism of James is petty, ridiculous

May 31, 2007

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Sports fans are generally hypocrites. And the media today are more or less interested in screaming, understanding that it's otherwise impossible to be heard amid the clutter.

That explains the LeBron Obsession.

Trashing LeBron James is somehow chic now.

He's overrated because he hasn't won a championship, solved the United States' trade deficit and developed a political solution to Iraq's internal strife before his 23rd birthday. He's soft for making the pass to the open man for the last shot in Game 1 instead of taking it to the hole. He's weak for not taking it strong enough to the hole for the last shot in Game 2. He's lucky that the big shots finally fell late in the fourth quarter of Game 3, but it means nothing because the Cavaliers were only following the script handed down from the NBA's Fifth Avenue corporate suites.

He's lacking a moral center because of his initial hesitancy to attach his name to a letter of protest from the Cavaliers' players to China regarding genocide in the Darfur region of the African nation of Sudan. The letter requested that the Chinese government cut off its military assistance to Sudan, with the Beijing Olympics approaching in a little more than a year. James said he wanted more information regarding Darfur before signing his name, understanding that anything bearing his endorsement garners massive attention.

His character is attacked because he thinks of potential consequences before acting. Isn't that quality of forethought something that we criticize other athletes for lacking? He's 22 years old, OK? He'll have plenty of time to save the world after he has saved the game.

LeBron isn't the problem.

We are the problem.

There is seemingly no reward for selflessness, despite the constant public rattling about guys who take too many shots to the full exclusion of their teammates. All we hear from fans and media is how everybody has grown fed up with the egocentricity of star athletes. How it's all about them. The rules that govern everybody else on their team don't apply to them. They have little respect for the game from which they earn millions, and even less for themselves when you factor in their extracurricular depravity.

Yet you have a young man here who is loathed because he's basically boring.

I didn't believe it possible, but James apparently has found his Nirvana off Lake Erie. He adheres to a competitive philosophy predicated on embellishing the team aspect of basketball. Isn't that what everybody supposedly demands?

LeBron isn't the contradiction.

We are the contradiction.

LeBron could score 50 points a game if he wanted. But wouldn't he then become Kobe Bryant, and isn't Bryant the devil incarnate in many minds? Bryant's now the Lakers' surrogate owner, trumpeting for Jerry West's return to the team's executive branch.

But it's the Kobes of the world that everyone craves. Why don't the self-anointed basketball moralists admit to themselves that they desire the brash self-absorbed bad boys who thumb their noses at conformity? They complain about the lack of positive role models among the NBA star galaxy, yet when you have players who preach team play like you have in each of the conference finals, fans stay away from their televisions, producing potentially historically low ratings.

He has become a convenient target for those who simply need something to complain about, and the pettiness of the criticism borders on the ridiculous.

That's not LeBron's problem.

That's our problem.

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