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Now That LeBron James Won the NBA Title, Will Fans Forgive Him?

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat answers questions from the media next to the Larry O'Brien Finals Championship trophy during his post game press conference after they won 121-106 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 21, 2012 at American Airlines Arena 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ernest ShepardAnalyst IIIOctober 10, 2015

In sports, villainy is a much-needed entity. It helps fans decide who to root for and who to root against. On July 8, 2010 LeBron James decided to “take his talents to South Beach.”

It was one of the more disturbing moments in sports history, not because what James was wrong in what he did. As a free agent, he had the right to do whatever he wanted and go play for whichever team he felt gave him the chance to win.

It was in the manor in which he did it.

Some people called it a callous move by James. Others called it arrogant. It was, no doubt, a black eye for not only professional basketball but professional sports as a whole.

At the time, James and teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh predicted multiple NBA titles for the Miami Heat, officially making the team the most hated in basketball.

Fast-forward to today. The Heat has won the NBA title on their second consecutive trip. Now that the Heat has indeed won the ring against a vaunted Oklahoma City Thunder team, will James be forgiven?

I am not sure that James ever works his way back into the hearts of NBA fans. He alienated many NBA cities with how he conducted himself during his free-agency period. While his talent is unmatched, so is his ego.

Gone are the things that fans loved about James. Remember the Nike commercials, “The LeBrons”? He was completely humanized, funny and entertaining. He also identified with a suffering Cleveland fan base, one that had not ever raised a NBA title banner in the rafters. He was a local product with a single mother. Everything you can love about a success story, LeBron James was it.

Now, all of the love is gone. Many fans wanted James to finally win a title so he can just go away. Others spoke of a different sentiment. After talking to some friends about the NBA playoffs, the common theme was If my team cannot win it all, I would rather see anybody but the Heat win it all. It was echoed in many places I am certain.

It is also what has inspired this question: Will NBA fans forgive LeBron James for “The Decision” now that he has finally won it all?      

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