LeBron James: The NBA Star Who Is Hated by Many, but Not Me

Tim Stoeckle@@TimStoeckleContributor IIIJune 22, 2012

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Finals Championship trophy 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Ever since he took his talents to South Beach in 2010, LeBron James has been the most hated player in the NBA.

People believe he took the easy way out by abandoning his home town Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that he put on his back and carried to the NBA Finals in 2007, in order to join All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

It didn't help that ESPN held an hour long special called "The Decision," which featured about 55 minutes of speculation by basketball analysts of where LeBron would go, and the last five minutes or so were dedicated to LeBron actually making his decision.

Now, the Heat are the most hated team in basketball, and people everywhere, basketball fans and non-basketball fans alike, are rooting for King James to fail. I'm not one of those people.

I don't necessarily root for the Heat, but when it comes to crunch time, I root for LeBron to hit that game winning shot just to shut up everyone who says he can't do it.

Yes, since joining the Heat it seems like James can't hit the clutch shot. But, watching these games I can't put the blame 100 percent on LeBron. Erik Spoelstra is setting him up for failure with his play calls at the end of games.

It doesn't seem like he's even calling any plays at times. Just get the ball to LeBron with about a second left and have him shoot. How do you expect him to make a jumper in tight double coverage with the clock running down? LeBron James is a freakish athlete, but he is still human.

As for LeBron's highly scrutinized decision to join the Miami Heat, I had no problem with that. Was I a fan of "The Decision"? No, I thought that was a bit over the top. But, I also have a hard time believing that the idea of having the ESPN special was totally LeBron's, especially since I get the impression that he regrets making such a big deal out of his decision.

LeBron doesn't want to be hated. He doesn't want people to root for him to fail. He wants to win. The Miami Heat gave him the best chance to win a championship. The Cleveland Cavaliers made the NBA Finals in 2007 completely because of James.

The next best players on that team were Larry Hughes, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden. That is not the supporting cast that a superstar like LeBron can win a championship with; it's amazing that that team even made it to the Finals.

So, he joins his friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in an attempt to win multiple championships. Everyone always says that winning is everything in sports and that personal accolades and stats come second. Then why does it matter if LeBron wins a championship on a team with other All-Stars or if he carries a team of bench players to a ring?

In my mind, LeBron James shares a special place with Tim Tebow. These are two athletes that have their fair share of haters out there, but I root for both of them. I almost feel obligated to root for them just because so many people wrongly root against them.

Don't get me wrong, I don't root for any player who is widely disliked. I root for the guys who are wrongly disliked.

LeBron James will go down as one of the best players in the history of the NBA. He will win multiple championships. Unfortunately, after all of that, he will still be one of the most hated players in the sport.