Blame It on LeBron: Evaluating the Obsession with What LeBron James Can't Do

Joye PruittSenior Analyst IFebruary 9, 2012

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 07: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at American Airlines Arena on February 7, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

There is a syndrome in the NBA.

After watching the Miami Heat against the Orlando Magic, as they were pummeled down low by Orlando’s finest and most unstable player, I took to Twitter.

Watching how fans interact after LeBron seemingly lets his teammates down has become more than insightful. It is more like four-star entertainment mixed with a compilation of mildly annoying enthusiasm and incredibly obvious bias.

Fans who hate Miami as a whole attribute their failures to the team just not cracking it as far as fans’ expectations. This is where the supposed overrated columns, “LeBron will never be Jordan” and commonly calculated Big 3 bashes come in.

Fans who refuse to recognize any of Miami’s talent because of the man usually leading the charge, at least this season, will always find a way to blame Miami’s losses on LeBron James.

His hairline is distracting his teammates. LeBron shoots too much and does not share the ball enough to the men who actually mean something in South Beach. Erik Spoelstra is too stuck up LeBron’s butt to actually run the team’s offense through other options.

Oh, and then there is my favorite. LeBron James is just not a great basketball player. He is just a good athlete and big enough to make devastating plays every once in a while.

The doubt comes in all shapes and forms, but when it comes to a bad game in the name of LeBron James, there is no question when it comes to the majority of the nation and beyond. James is usually the Joker, two-faced, Mr. Freeze. Generally speaking, he is the bad guy.

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Chicago Bulls at American Airlines Arena on January 29, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

But, how much of these games are really his fault? Do not look directly towards the blinding light of his lapse of judgment and shot selection in Miami’s latest meeting against the Orlando Magic. He was by no means performing to the height of his potential, and 5-of-15 shooting is barely anything to make a strong case for his greatness or even his place in the future conversation of the best of all time.


LeBron sucked against the Magic led by Dwight Howard, who seems to play exceptionally well while his heart is sitting on the trade table wishing and waiting to be shipped to a franchise with more than minimum potential.

However, James is still allowed a bad game or two during a shortened season where the OKC Thunder are being given a pass as they begin to look a little winded or the Chicago Bulls are being overly compensated as far as compliments and praise because they seem to be holding up despite injuries and a compacted schedule.

Miami is not afforded those luxuries because what should now be deemed “The Most Selfish Summer in NBA History” left fans with their jaws dropped as if they had never realized the collective bargaining agreement allowed players to determine their own destinies in the league.

Up until a few moments of bad decision-making and a game where Dwyane Wade was apparently obligated to take his squad by the horns, LeBron was considered a front-runner in the NBA MVP race.

He was doing much more alongside much more than any other player in the league. That is unless you are one of those people who cannot see the forest for the trees. Now, he has almost dropped to the bottom of the barrel in a game that will merely determine the outcome in the postseason.

Yes, the league is consistently suffering from a syndrome. That syndrome just so happens to be “Blame It On LeBron.”

If Miami loses the game in the fourth quarter, blame it on LeBron. If the Heat do not win a championship in a season that almost 100 percent favors them, blame it on LeBron. If the Miami does not end the regular season at the top of the Eastern Conference, blame it on LeBron.

If you have a headache, let’s blame it on LeBron. Your mail is not on time? Don’t worry! LeBron has everything to do with it.

The league, its fans and a lot of its players have become so centrally focused on the shortcomings of James that they refuse to see when he does contribute to Miami’s victories or when his lack of production may be a result of him trying to keep his teammates involved.

Nothing much matters about his game, but the fourth quarter and that type of mentality allows so many different facets and factors of the league to become immersed in everything it seems like LeBron cannot do despite the fact that he may very well have done plenty previously.

Not saying that his mental capacity should never be questioned. It should. However, when Wade or Bosh had a bad game in last year’s postseason, was it talked about at all during the 2011 regular season? Was Wade’s performance against Chicago remotely questionable after his Orlando game Wednesday night where he scored 33 points?

He had a great game in which Miami still fell to Orlando’s efforts, but the conversation was never had about how no one cares about his regular-season efforts because they're simply distracted from the true task at hand.

Neither Wade’s nor Bosh’s accomplishments are sideswiped by the public’s tunnel vision of their miscues. Yet, after such a stellar start in the 2011 season where James is averaging 29.0 points, 6.8 assists and 8.3 rebounds per, no one can salute him enough before remembering what an epic part he had in Miami’s crash in the NBA Finals.

His performance should not be readily excused but let us not forget how important he was to Miami’s emergence of awesomeness in the postseason as a whole.

The Dallas Mavericks shut the Miami Heat down unequivocally, but the loss should not be placed squarely on LeBron’s shoulders without an ounce being dished out to the other members of his team. It’s unfair to say the least.


But, then again what part of the league ever fesses up to being anything other than an equal opportunity employer with minimal dissension?

The “Blame It on LeBron” syndrome has swept the nation, and unfortunately for the hairline-less superstar, it is not shape-shifting into respect anytime soon. After he left the Cleveland Cavaliers, he readily turned in his enjoyable, carefree demeanor for a career that will be openly criticized by those who matter and those who don’t. It is a path he chose, but it is not one that he has been taking lying down.

LeBron has pushed Miami when there was no other option, and he has even performed when Miami’s third star and role players were on fire. The Miami Heat needs him just as much as his opposition believes he needs every man on that squad to complement his talents. His talent may never be adequately recognized by anyone but himself.

Luckily, that is all Miami needs. 


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