Friday, June 21, 2013

Why I Don't Hate LeBron

Eh, not that much
The greatest thing about sports is hating. Hating people, hating teams, hating geographical locations in their entirety just because they house a team you hate just because that team beat your team that one time. Sports, and the hate they facilitate, are one of the few ways one can show how their area is superior to another.

I hate all sorts of people and places due solely to sports. I hate the Chicago White Sox, I really fucking hate the Yankees, and the list of individuals I hate due only to sporting reasons is far too long to publish. Hell, I often use Alex Rodriguez as an example in class when I describe the hypothetical existence of a douchebag scale (it makes sense in context).

So I get the desire, nay the demand, to hate. I really do. But I just can't understand why so many people so desperately hate LeBron James. Not only hate him, but think him to be the biggest cocksucker in all of sports. As far as star athletes go, he seems to be one of the least objectionable to come along in a long time. There's really only two reasons I can seem to come up with for why he draws so much ire, and they're both stupid.

The first is that he's no Michael Jordan, and to be fair, this is empirically true. But I think the people angry about this don't quite actually remember the real Jordan, but instead what they want Jordan to have been (and LeBron to currently be). There's this conception that Jordan won 6 championships by himself, and LeBron's a cheater/quitter/coward for going to team with other actual basketball players on it instead of repeatedly bashing his head against a wall in Cleveland. Even ignoring the fact that every sane person in existence would jump at the chance to move anywhere that isn't Cleveland, this also ignores that Jordan had a shitload of help, like playing with multiple Hall of Famers.

It's also weird that people are so upset about the move from Cleveland when only a few years earlier, the exact same thing happened, but was received the exact opposite way. When Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen ditched their teams to meet up with Paul Pierce in Boston, they were lauded as good team-first guys who were so unselfish they took pay cuts so they could achieve team glory. I don't remember reading any angry rants about what a traitor KG was for leaving the team that drafted him without single-handedly winning multiple championships. But when LeBron took a pay cut to team up with other talented players to win team championships, this was apparently the most cowardly move since Robert Ford shot a dude in the back while he was hanging a picture.

The only obvious decision between the two is The Decision, the idiotic hour-long special on ESPN James used to announce he was leaving Cleveland for Miami (again, remember that people are criticizing a multi-millionaire in his early 20s for wanting to move from Cleveland to Miami). And yeah, it was a stupid thing to do, but like so many things young black men are accused of being monsters for doing, it was actually conceived, engineered, and packaged by a bunch of rich white dudes who more-or-less talked LeBron into it. Again, James probably should have had the good enough sense to not do it, but come on, that's one bad public decision made by a guy who was a millionaire before he even graduated high school. I guarantee I would have done a lot more stupid shit than that if you gave me triple-figure millions before I could even legally drink.

So this is all to say I'm probably the only guy outside of Miami-Dade county who was actually kinda happy LeBron and the Heat won last night. Mostly so I don't have to listen to idiot sportscasters talking about how he's no Jordan, but also because he seems to be not that bad of a dude, or at least not nearly as deserving of all the shit he gets.

But Alex Rodriguez? Fuck that guy. Seriously.

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