How to like LeBron James, despite it all
Yesterday LeBron James proved that he is an unbelievable basketball player with freakish talent, perhaps the best athlete in the world, no matter what your opinion of him.
James haul in the series-tieing win against the Indiana Pacers was simply Jordan-esque. Look at the figures and then read them one more time to fully realise their impact – 40 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists.
This was in a crucial Easter Conference semi-final game, and the Heat were also without a star in Chris Bosch.
That is impressive, a complete performance on the floor (OK, he only got two steals), whether you love or loathe James.
Personally, I have tended in the past to more dislike “King James”.
Part of the reason was The Decision, his farcical media event that trumpeted his move from his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami. The program was strung out over a few hours, time I will never get back, and when James said “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach” my view was complete.
The words wanker, and arrogant tool, came to mind. His talents? Was that all he was taking? What about his luxury cars and expensive wardrobe? Jesus. Hardly a dignified way to switch teams. T
he whole drawn-out transfer to the Heat was a waste of time, unedifying for James and painful for the Cavs faithful.
The reaction of Cavs majority owner, who slammed James’ decision as a “selfish”, “heartless”, “callous”, and “cowardly betrayal” in a long rant, was petty but in many ways understandable.
James has been called a chocker, his failures in the playoffs in Ohio and Florida hailed by many who enjoy seeing him lose. Tall-poppy syndrome or not, you can argue that he has hardly helped his cause with some of his actions.
In the past he has seemed petulant and money-grabbing. Watch this video. Hell, even the way he wears his baseball cap pisses me off.
But then I watched the documentary More Than A Game, and I gained some new-founded respect for LeBron. His dedication to his childhood teammates, his humble beginnings, his rags to riches story, his struggles to deal with fame and attention.
Sure he has made mistakes, so have we all.
James is fantastic athlete, a ridiculous physical specamin who dominates at both ends of the floor and also may have had the ability to play in the NFL (he was a high school gridiron star).
He may be a mercenary, he may be selfish and he may be up himself, but it’s hard to argue that he’s not a freak and very enjoyable to watch from a pure hoops perspective.
You might not want James to succeed, but enjoy the thrill of watching him do his thing on the court while you can.
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