I’m not a “10” on the NBA fan-scale, but I watch enough of the league to consider myself well-versed in the teams, players and story lines from season-to-season.
I’ve never, ever been able to figure out why everyone hates on LeBron James so much.
Is it because of “The Decision”, his made-for-TV appearance with Jim Gray when he told the world he was heading to South Beach?
Is it because of the Sports Illustrated cover where they depicted him as “The Chosen One” when he was a senior in high school?
Is it because he’s a black athlete with lots of tattoos?
I just don’t get it.
I follow LeBron James enough to know he’s carried himself in an extraordinary fashion since he joined the NBA in 2003. Arrests? None. Stupid post-game antics like Richard Sherman in the NFC title game, embarrassing himself like some wrestling-wanna-be? He never does that kind of stuff. Hoarding all of his money? Not James. He’s an active supporter and contributor to the Boys and Girls Club of America, ONEXONE and Children’s Defense Fund. His foundation still organizes a bike-a-thon that donates money to various causes in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
Does he have an over-the-top $9 million home in South Beach? Yes, he does. Drew would, too, if he had enough money to afford a $9 million home. So would you.
Last night in San Antonio, the temperatures on the court soared into the 90’s when the air conditioning system stopped working after an electrical failure earlier in the evening. James had leg cramps that sent him to the bench in the 4th quarter and the hate and vitriol started within seconds on Twitter and every other social media element known to man.
Sometimes I think if LeBron got jumped by some hooligans outside of the team hotel during a mid-day walk and was shot in the stomach, people would tweet: “Got shot at 1pm, couldn’t play at 8pm…what a wimp.”
I’ve battled enough injuries and ailments through my on-going struggles with Lyme disease to know this: If you’re hurting and that pain affects your ability to use your body, you can’t compete.
“Yeah, Drew, but Michael Jordan had the flu and he still scored 110 points in that championship game.”
Last time I checked, you can run on both legs when you have the flu.
Interestingly enough, I never once heard someone say, “How do we REALLY know Jordan had the flu? Just because he put a towel over his head and fell into Scottie Pippen’s arms at the end of the game?”
Last night, though, people actually questioned whether or not James actually had leg cramps in the first place.
Either way on Thursday night, James was done once he sat out for even thirty seconds.
Even if he would have come back in the game and limped around, the outrage would have started as soon as he fell into D-Wade’s arms at the end of the night.
I don’t get it.
Other than being a great player, a decent human being and an outstanding representative of the NBA, what has LeBron James done to deserve being raked over the coals like this?