Posted by: Jeff | December 7, 2009

Why I Am Not A LeBron Fan

This about sums it up:

LeBron Hurt

Also, LeBron James was dancing the entire game. Just making an ass of himself.

We’re out of excuses for this guy. If he’s so desperate for attention on a random Sunday afternoon game in Milwaukee, then what hope is there for him to just be a stud on the court and secure with himself once the whistle blows?

I’ll try to keep this relatively recent.

Damon Jones danced. Antoine Walker danced, and Mark Jackson danced. Nick Van Exel danced. These are the players you’re acting like, LeBron.

Magic Johnson didn’t dance. Michael Jordan didn’t dance. Kobe Bryant didn’t dance, Larry Bird didn’t dance, and Dr. J didn’t dance. These are the players whose games yours most resembles, LeBron.

And it’s your damn fault that we’re walking away from a dominant win like this with me thinking of you more of a Damon Jones sort, than a Magic Johnson sort. Despite those 10 assists.

Listen, the game is supposed to be fun. It’s OK to exult. You should be jumping through your skin when your teammates pull off something great. It is fun as hell to knock in a circus shot in Milwaukee, even if you’ve played in the Finals, in the Olympics, and have hit game-winners on national TV in the deep playoffs. The game is a joy. Believe me, I understand.

But you have to find a balance. Otherwise, you’re in danger of turning off a couple of different generations of fans, all at once.

It isn’t just the showboating I take exception to – it’s the overall feeling one gets while watching LeBron that he knows exactly how good he is and believes it allows him to get away with anything.  How many times have you watched a Cavaliers game and seen LeBron draw a non-foul on one end, and then complain when he gets whistled for legitimately hacking a player on the other?  It happens all the time!  There’s a reason Washington fans call him “the crybaby.”  And don’t get me started on the way he plays up bumps and bruises on the court.  As if he feels the need to really sell every foul, he writhes and grimaces like an Italian soccer player whenever there’s an iota of incidental contact.  He’s also the only player I’ve ever seen to hold the ball for an entire shot clock before hoisting a contested 27 foot three.  In the middle of a quarter.  And not get excoriated for it – LeBron will be LeBron, after all.

LeBron may have a lot of game, but it’s the me-first mentality that will never make me a fan.

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Responses

  1. I read the Dwyer summary this morning, too. I agree that his sportsmanship and ego leave something to be desired, but I also think he’s held to a different standard than other people. And not just “well he’s supposed to be because he’s a superstar” but he’s held to a different standard than other superstars. Everyone thinks KG is such a wonderful human being and teammate. Well, LeBron doesn’t crawl on his knees during games and bark at opposing point guards. Or clap in people’s faces during play. But KG is a stand up guy, right?

    Regardless of this horrendously overlooked counterexample, I think the real problem is with the socialization and discipline of high school phenom players and one-and-dones. These guys are held to the same maturity standard as every other player in the league (and other sports) when they enter the league essentially as children. Children whose egos have been coddled since they were 10. I think that is the issue at hand. LeBron thinks he can get away with acting like a kid because 1) he always has and 2) he’s never been able to be a real kid and will forever be a stunted adolescent.

    Look at this list of straight-out-of HS players, and tell me which one isn’t a primadonna:
    Garnett, LeBron, Kobe, TMac, Kwame Brown, Amare, Al Harrington, Darius Miles, Jermaine O’Neal, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, Monta Ellis, Andrew Bynum

    That’s just high school. I didn’t go through the one-and-dones. The only guys on that list that aren’t jerks are MAYBE Rashard and Dwight. Every single one of those other guys has the same immaturity level and ego as LeBron.

    Plus, as someone who has followed the Cavs for years, saying LeBron is selfish is just not accurate. Sure, he thinks he’s better than everyone else, but egotistical is not the same as not incorporating your teammates into the game. LeBron has helped the Cavs franchise grow from essentially the NBA equivalent of the Bad News Bears into an elite team. Without LeBron on the floor for the past 2 seasons, the Cavs have handily defeated teams. He’s got a good cast around him now, and he’s one of the best distributors in the league.

    I also read an interesting take on his call/non-call complaining. While I do think he complains about non-calls a lot, I also believe that he is held to a different standard than other stars on his level. Stepien Rules (http://www.stepienrules.com/2009-articles/november/on-donaghy-dancing-and-delonte.html) had an interesting take on this, and I agree when I say a lot of his non-calls because of his size. He’s a Power Forward that moves like a Shooting Guard. That’s very difficult to officiate. I’m not saying that excuses him every time, but the same type of contact that Kobe and Wade get called for them as fouls don’t always apply to LeBron.

    You know? I think I may just take this comment and post it in a blog. But for now, it’s here for you.

  2. Your comments are well-taken, particularly the point about straight out of high school players generally being less mature than those that went through the ropes in the NCAA (or Europe, in the case of Brandon Jennings).

    However, I can’t help but point out that your defense seems to be built upon the following two points:

    1. That yes, LeBron is a diva, but he can’t help it because he’s been treated as such his whole life.

    2. Yes, LeBron is a diva, but so are other players.

    I don’t think those detract from my original point. LeBron is a superstart, no doubt about it. The guy is ridiculously talented. But he acts like an adolescent, and as much as I think Joakim Noah is a fool, he was well within his right to call LeBron out on gloating when they beat the Bulls over the weekend.

    Numbers not-withstanding, LeBron won’t be a champion until he acts like one.

    And don’t think I’m giving Cleveland fans a free pass – they’re largely to blame. They hung up an 8-story poster of LeBron in a Jesus pose for crying out loud. No wonder the kid has a complex.

  3. I honestly think it was more disrespectful of Jarrett Jack to tie his shoes during a blowout against the Bulls than for LeBron to have been dancing on the sideline. Noah was in his place to be pissed, but the proportional reaction would have been to bumrush Jarrett Jack. I don’t understand how that wasn’t disrespectful.

    My argument IS based on those two points. But it mostly is based on the fact that LeBron’s actions are easy to take out of context. Why is he held to a different standard than other players? That’s my question. And that’s not his fault. He shouldn’t act the way he acts sometimes, but he shouldn’t be a pariah because of it either when 25% of the league is just as immature.

  4. I don’t know that I hold him to a higher standard than other NBA players (you know well my opinion of divas in the NBA). But, if he is, it’s because he’s better than they are. 25% of the league isn’t even taken seriously (Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis, Damon Jones, etc.). And nobody is about to accuse Allen Iverson of being a good teammate.

    I’m playing with fire here, but compare LeBron to the other athlete whose “love of the game” is rarely questioned: Brett Favre. Ignoring off the field antics (where both behave questionably), on the field Favre has fun, but not at the expense of the other team. And you don’t see Favre begging for late hit calls.

  5. haha THE FAVRE MANEUVER! i totally didn’t see it coming.

    well, Favre doesn’t beg for late calls because he’s too busy throwing crackback blocks. BOOM

    • Speaking of Favre maneuvers…

  6. Touche. 😦


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