Hate and sports hate are supposed to be two different things.
Real hate is a raw, strong emotion that should never be taken lightly. Sports hate is supposed to be casual and based on team loyalties…but in the end, out of respect.
I hate intolerance. I hate liver and onions. I don’t REALLY hate Derek Jeter….I hate that he played in pinstripes.
With guys like LeBron James you would expect the sports hate from the fans of teams that do not reside in Cleveland, but with the level of respect that the greatest player in the game today deserves.
Problem is, it’s not.
I see petty, illogical hate thrown at LBJ day in and day out and it goes FAR beyond the “he’s not MJ” stuff. It’s not even “The Decision” as much anymore…even though it’s still (for some reason) an issue to non-Cleveland fans 7-years later. So let’s start there.
The illogical hatred of LeBron James actually started before he even stepped onto the floor in an NBA arena. He gets the blame, of course, for being an 18-year-old kid thinking that Nike’s decision to call him “The King” was cool. I would have too.
I’ll fast forward through all of the hate based on the ESPN/Nike hype and get straight to 2010, though. The Decision was undoubtedly a creation of ESPN. The staging, the promotion, the delaying the inevitable…all ESPN. LeBron gets the hate for it though.
The Decision still looms for many fans as their hard evidence that LBJ is the “bad guy” in a very murky sports world. Except they refuse to even acknowledge the fact that The Decision raised $2.5 million for the Boys and Girls Club.
ESPN, by the way, made upwards of $6 million on advertising….but blame LeBron.
Now, The King is in Miami and Cleveland fans…deservedly so…are irate. But why is anybody else? He didn’t leave New York, Chicago, L.A., Orlando or Boston in his dust. He left Cleveland in his dust. A front office that seemed to think that they didn’t have to create a team to win in a team sport.
Reminder: NOBODY does it alone in team sports.
The Cleveland front office wasn’t interested in creating the championship caliber team that the best player in the game today deserved. A team on the level of the teams that Michael had or Magic or Bird. A team that was not one guy and a bunch of scraps.
You know what changed that? The Decision.
After his 4-years, 2-titles and 4-Eastern Conference Championships in Miami, LeBron chose family and that loyalty everybody claimed he didn’t have to return home and make good on his promise to bring a title to Cleveland.
Now comes the best kind of sports irony.
The Miami fans that spent 4-years telling Cavs fans to “get over it” now burned their LeBron jerseys in anger. He didn’t help to triple the amount of titles the franchise had or anything…
Back in Cleveland, the Cavs are suddenly a championship caliber team around LBJ. Cleveland fans can thank LeBron for that. If he never leaves, I’m not sure they ever put together a team this good.
So good in fact, that before they even learned to play together…they still won the Eastern Conference.
Now, LeBron has fulfilled his promise. He won a title in Cleveland….but he’s still the villain. He’s still hated more than almost any NBA star I’ve ever seen.
The entire NBA flops.
“He get’s all the calls.”
So has every superstar, including MJ, in NBA history.
Again…the entire NBA does.
“He’s too cocky.”
So…he’s a professional athlete?
There’s no actual, logical reason to hate LeBron James other than the fact that he doesn’t wear your favorite teams’ jersey. As Mel Brooks once said, “It’s good to be the King.” Thing is, in the current sports world, being the King comes with an insane amount of jealousy.
We see it all the time.
Somehow, Tom Brady is the biggest villain in the NFL…not the drug abusers, womanizers and PED users. Bryce Harper and Jose Bautista are the bad guys in baseball for simply trying to have fun…but the guys throwing fastballs at heads get cheered.
When did we become so obsessed with tearing down greatness?
Let’s try to be better as a whole and celebrate it instead.
LeBron James is the epitome of the role model athlete. Even though there is nothing forcing athletes to be role models, LeBron continues to be one.
Want proof? Try the $41 million he gave to help at-risk kids go to college.
LBJ has never been arrested, had never been accused of awful things and outside of one 60-minute ESPN creation, he’s really never even given anybody a reason to think he’s a jerk.
Jordan on the other hand has….and he’s still idolized above LeBron for much more than just on-the-court play.
Let’s stop tearing down the few good people we have left in the public light. Instead, lift them up.
You don’t have to agree that LeBron is better than MJ…that’s personal choice. You don’t have to believe that The Decision wasn’t a big deal…that’s your prerogative. You don’t even have to like LeBron James…just try and find a logical reason why.
Until then…it’s all just illogical hate to me.
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (facebook.com/InsideTheMindOfDitti) and Instagram (dittius33).