It seems everyone has an opinion on whether or not LeBron James exhibited poor sportsmanship by not shaking the hands of Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic just after the Cavaliers were bounced from the playoffs.
I am here to say that this situation stinks on every level.
I think LeBron should be ashamed, but I also think the media is blowing this out of proportion.
James didn't shake the hands of the Boston Celtics after losing last year's Conference Semifinals and I don't recall a media firestorm following that series.
What's the big deal?
Well I guess it's that James should be setting a good example for kids and young players, and he should have displayed a little more class by congratulating the Magic.
LeBron was also chastised for not showing up to the post game press conference.
Leaving your coach and right hand man to face the media firing squad after a crushing playoff lose isn't exactly in line with the persona of greatness that you, as well as the NBA, have created for yourself.
LeBron should have slapped the hands of the Magic players, and he definitely should have attended the post game press conference.
King James is only 24, and perhaps he needs to be reminded that patience is a virtue and good sportsmanship is absolutely necessary for a star player.
LeBron seems to be built from the same mold as Michael Jordan. He has freakish athleticism, is arguably the best player in the league, and he is a marketing machine.
I don't doubt that James believes he is a winner and a competitor, but he needs to follow some examples set by NBA greats that came before him.
Take a look at MJ. The Bulls suffered first round playoff loses in his first three seasons in the league.
The next year, Jordan won the league MVP and began a streak of three straight playoff loses at the hands of the Detroit Pistons.
In the face of one crushing playoff loss after another, Jordan always maintained an exceptional example of good sportsmanship and never lost the respect of his fellow players.
We all know what happened next.
Jordan was patient and persistent, and he was rewarded with three straight NBA titles.
After missing the playoffs in his first two seasons, James and his Cavaliers have been bounced from the playoffs for the past four seasons.
If LeBron is, in fact, the NBA's next great player, then he needs to swallow his pride, be the leader of his team, and just be patient.
Fans should be patient, too. I am fairly certain there will be no more blowing off the opposing team or the media.
If James is as good as advertised, the championships will follow.
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