NOTICE: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS FANS—THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU.
For the rest of us—the fans of the other 29 teams in the NBA—this article is for you. At this time last season, you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger LeBron-hater than the person typing this article. But that was last year and things have changed. LeBron James ate more than his share of humble pie when Dirk Nowitzki force fed it to him four times in last year’s NBA Finals, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
First of all, we all know he was wrong to leave Cleveland the way he did. He knows it, too, which is a huge step in reconciling his image and regaining the respect and love that basketball fans have for his skills. LeBron has said that if given the chance to do it over, he wouldn’t have scheduled an ESPN special to announce it.
Let me caveat this by saying that as a Green Bay Packers fan, I still can’t forgive Brett Favre until he admits it was a mistake to play for the Vikings. If he doesn’t believe it was a mistake, he has no right to seek forgiveness and he probably won’t be granted it in Green Bay.
Unlike Brett however, LeBron can see the error of his ways, even if only in retrospect. I admire that in a player. However, he hasn’t admitted he was wrong in leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers, and in that regard, he is wrong. He isn’t wrong in the way Favre was because they did it for two completely separate reasons. Favre’s was out of vengeance and a desire to wrong those who he felt had wronged him.
LeBron left Cleveland out of cowardice.
LeBron James spent his entire life trying to be “Like Mike” and instead settled for becoming Scottie Pippen. We, as basketball fans, deserve better out of the best players in the league. Of course it’s fun to see LBJ and Wade run the court together, but not as much fun as it is to see them play against each other.
But that isn’t what makes LeBron a coward. What makes him a coward is the fact that when the going got tough, LeBron got going. We watch sports to see athletes overcome the odds, not stack them in their favor. LeBron going to the Miami Heat was the equivalent of the “Cowardly Lion” tucking his tail between his legs while claiming to be “King of the Forest."
But, it’s time to put that behind us because watching him walk off the court as a loser (again) proved to him that nothing will be handed to him. Of course, he has lost the privilege of being mentioned in the same class as Bird, Jordan, and Kobe.
But the world needs Scottie Pippen and Kevin McHale. They were great players and so is LeBron. He is exciting to watch, he’s just not an all-time great like he proclaimed to be. History will judge LeBron James much harsher than the present can so for now, I’m just going to try to enjoy him for what he is.
He isn’t Batman. He isn’t the Joker. You don’t have to love him or hate him. If you’re a basketball fan, you just have to feel indifferent about him—like Robin.