LeBron James won a ring. Thank goodness for that. Now maybe someone will finally cure cancer, solve the riddle of the Sphinx or figure out how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. And by someone, I mean one of his many haters…err, umm detractors.
A weekend has passed since LeBron James and his pips closed out the Oklahoma City Thunder in a decisive Game 5 to win the franchise’s second NBA championship. James’ triple-double earned him Finals MVP honors and an offseason free of media speculation as to whether or not LeBron really is who we thought he was.
I picked the Thunder to win the series. In fact, on twitter I said that OKC would thrash Miami. I was wrong. As annoyed as I was last Thursday night, I figured I might still be upset about it today. Instead what I feel can only be described as relief.
I am not a LeBron hater. I’m just not a LeBron fan. It’s important to make this distinction since “hater” might be one of the most overused and misused references in pop culture today. If I was a LeBron hater, I wouldn’t be able to respect his game and I would likely spend a bunch of time trying to convince myself and anyone who will listen that when we see him play we really aren’t seeing greatness. But we are; I won’t deny that.
Actually, deep down in places that I rarely talk about, I have to admit that I can barely remember why I have decided not to be a fan of his in the first place. It is likely rooted, however, in my resentment towards him being crowned King James before he played an NBA minute. Then just as I started to get over that, he refused to live up to my lofty expectations. The spectacle that was “The Decision” only made me more incensed.
On this day, though, I am relieved. I can finally let go of my obsession with rooting against him. I can finally stop coming up with reasons why the Heat won’t win with him. I can finally resist the urge to hope that he will shrink in a big game and expose his immaturity in a post-game press conference. Those are futile efforts now. LeBron is a champion and, I am free.
It’s the same type of freedom that comes with forgiving an ex or ending a grudge against an old friend. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, most of us prefer to believe that when we get mad and stay mad we are actually hurting our offenders. The truth is that we are really hurting ourselves-stunting our personal growth and our happiness. When we stay in an angry place, we blind ourselves to all of the goodness in our midst.
It’s no wonder then that when we stop our tirades against old flames, we find new love. We stop pining over the job that we didn’t get and, we find our path to our true purpose.
Maybe now all of these folks who burned James’ Cleveland jersey will get on about their lives. There are likely a few people with the potential to become the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg in that group. Or at the very least a few people who might be able to stop hating James and start loving some of the NBA’s exciting young talent.
Maybe Dan Gilbert can give up his grudge and become the world’s first trillionaire and single-handedly feed all of the starving children in Africa. Or at the very least use that energy to figure out a way to put together a team that can make it to the playoffs in the Cavaliers post James era.
My newfound freedom likely won’t help me figure out how to bring about world peace or match up all of the colors on a Rubik’s cube. I am simply looking forward to going into the NBA’s 2012-2013 season re-energized, no longer bound by my antagonistic fixation with the King’s royal passage.
This Oprah inspired brand of making the sports world go ‘round won’t suit everyone. There will be those who decide to stay in their angry place as it relates to LeBron. One need only count the headlines that continue to reference his promise of multiple championships to see that a lot of people will still prefer to criticize him for what he hasn’t done instead of appreciate him for what he has done.
As for me, I’m done with that. And at the very least, I know I’m better for it.