LeBron James: Hate and Criticism Towards James Has Gone Too Far

Ryan BothmannSenior Analyst IIMarch 4, 2012

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 19:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Arena on February 19, 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

I truly believe that this is absolutely as bad as it can get.

If it hasn't already, the hate and criticism towards LeBron James has finally gone too far.

Many fans and writers are completely, 100 percent, blaming the Miami Heat’s loss Friday night to the Utah Jazz on LeBron James.

They are not blaming Udonis Haslem for missing the game-winning shot. They are not blaming Dwyane Wade for missing a huge free throw and then inexcusably fouling a jump shooter to allow the Jazz to take the lead at the free-throw line. How could it be their fault?

Instead, it is the fault of LeBron James, the most hated person on the planet, and the new scapegoat for anything that goes wrong in the world.

I know that this will mean nothing to most people, but without LeBron the Heat would have been run right out of Utah on Friday night. Without LeBron’s 17-point fourth-quarter effort, the Heat would not even have had a shot to win the game at the buzzer. So obviously, it makes perfect sense to blame him for the loss.

The decision of James to pass the ball to Haslem on Friday once again sparked the question that all NBA fans want to know the answer to: Does LeBron James have the killer instinct to close out games?

This might be the stupidest question in the history of sports. In fact, the drama and hate that surrounds LeBron James every day is the single stupidest sports soap opera ever.

On July 8, 2010, James went from one of the most loved figures in sports to one of the most hated athletes ever, in a matter of seconds. “The Decision” brought with it an unbelievable amount of backlash from almost everyone, even from people who do not watch the NBA.

The backlash from the world has always been completely outrageous and unnecessary. In reality, the only people who really have any reason to be mad at LeBron James are Cleveland fans. LeBron did go on national television and humiliate them. I can clearly understand why they hate LeBron, but as for the rest of the world, find some other way to spend your time besides hating LeBron James.

As much as many of you hate to hear this, there is no evil and sadistic side to LeBron James. LeBron is simply just another guy who happens to be one of the greatest basketball players in the world.

There is no reason to hate him. He plays a game, and he is really good at it.

There are also a large amount of basketball fans, though, who do not hate LeBron James. Many people love him, and there are also many people who just like to analyze every minute detail of his game.

Many of the people who analyze LeBron’s game have come up with this insane idea that the man cannot close out a basketball game. That could not be further from the truth.

LeBron James has made a living closing out basketball games since the Cavaliers drafted him in 2003. Sure, it is easy to go back to individual games and say LeBron screwed up here and did not get it done, but it is impossible to close out every game, every night.

The only time in his career where LeBron shied away from the big stage was in the finals last year against Dallas.

For one of the greatest players in NBA history to put up the performance LeBron James did in the 2011 NBA Finals was completely unacceptable. LeBron averaged just under 18 points per game in the finals. His drop-off in points per game from the regular season to the NBA Finals was the largest drop off in NBA history, as he went from 26.7 points per game in the regular season to 17.8 points per game in the finals.

Like I said before, the performance from LeBron in the finals was unacceptable, but it is a lone instance.

Ever since the series against Dallas, though, LeBron has been called into question for his inability to close out games. In my opinion, this is a misconception.

LeBron James has no problem with closing out games. I have watched him step up in the fourth quarter throughout his career. In the 2011 playoffs, many people do not want to acknowledge that LeBron was a major factor in closing out the first three playoff series for the Heat.

James has even been called into question for not wanting to be the player who closes out games. In Utah this past Friday night, James’ pass to Udonis Haslem was an indication to many that LeBron does not want to take the final shot.

Just because you pass does not mean you do not want to shoot, nor does it mean you are incapable of closing out the game.

James passed the ball to a wide-open Udonis Haslem, because James himself was double-teamed on the play. If Haslem makes the shot, then this is not even a discussion. Even with the negative outcome in the game, LeBron James made the right decision Friday night.

LeBron James is putting up one of the greatest seasons in NBA history. The fact that his game is called into question so often is ridiculous.

LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, and he is the run-away MVP for this season.

The criticism and hate towards James has gone too far. It has gone past the point of ridiculousness. James is one of the greatest basketball players the game has ever seen, and although many people recognize this, there are still many people who do not.

I don’t care if you love LeBron or hate him, but he is one of the greatest players ever, and to question his ability on the court is absurd.

It is time for the entire world to finally give LeBron James the respect he deserves.