Winning the ESPY for Male Athlete of the Year is a form of redemption for LeBron James. In this new era of the modern athlete, there are stars that bring polarity to the table. Whether that is from their personality on or off the field of play, people are more open to giving their opinions than ever before.
Most likely this new trend has developed because of exposure. We are bombarded with media in the sports world. We have progressed far from just having CBS, NBC and ABC. Now we have hundreds of channels and multiple news outlets, as well as the explosion of social media.
With Twitter and Facebook, people in general are expressing their ideas in new ways. The one thing that many use these tools for is anonymity. It is much easier to hide behind a keyboard heavily supporting or persecuting an athlete without any repercussions. People would never say what they say if they were face to face with the athlete they try to knock down.
While these discussions used to happen in a local establishment or in the home, now the message can be broadcasted to anybody willing to listen or read.
The guy still living in his mother’s basement eating Hot Pockets thinks that his opinion is as good as the gumshoe doing all the grunt work and research for his respected news outlet from radio, TV and newspaper.
The term “hater” is something that has been getting thrown around without much thought, it seems. The Urban Dictionary describes a hater as "a person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success." So rather than be happy, they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.
Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesn’t really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock someone else down a notch.
Will LeBron ever lose the villian label?
Many fans are haters for outrageous reasons.
For example, LeBron James has probably been the most hated athlete in the past year. For a guy who has never committed a crime, came up with no father and a drug addicted mother and found a better job with better co-workers in a better location, it screams “The American Dream”.
He is probably the most gifted athlete in all sports currently, but he’s had a few PR gaffes from the “Decision” to the “Celebration." People don’t remember he donated $1 million dollars to the Boys & Girls Club during the Decision. If your friend got a new job with better people in a better place, you’d be happy for him, right, especially if he busted his ass for years at the same crummy job?
Then, you have athletes who should be hated for their lifestyle but always seem to get a pass from the public if they produce on the field.
In a short period, Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick were all athletes who had reasons for the public to be “haters," but somehow have managed to gain back much of their fanbase. If they win back fans for their play on the field, why hasn’t LeBron gained back compassion with his once loyal fanbase?
Why LeBron James gets the same treatment as these delinquents makes many people shake their heads at our society.
Athletes shouldn’t be role models; try to tell that to your kids. Fans exude passion but many times lack the objectivity to take the filter off and have perspective.
Maybe once people realize that LeBron moved to another city “the right way,” unlike Dwight Howard, then we can fully appreciate the greatest of a player who hasn’t even came close to his full potential.
When LeBron wins the ESPY for Best Male Athlete again next year, maybe most of the hate will dissipate once people figure out he did it the right way. He created a blueprint for all players trying to win the Larry O'Brien trophy.