(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
It's an unfortunate fact that two days after the Orlando Magic clinched their first Finals birth since 1995, they were once again overshadowed.
Today, the media once again focused it's attention on LeBron James.
Despite some media figure accounts, it is well documented that the 'great ones', though obviously disappointed in defeat, never displayed poor sportsmanship.
That's one of the qualities that made them great.
They understood their responsibility to their team. They acknowledged the respect owed to their opponents in defeat, and they fulfilled their obligation to the fans that supported them throughout the season.
In the 1960's Bill Russell and Wilt Chamerlain would secretly dine together before and often after games.
In the 1980's Larry Bird and Magic Johnson always threw each other a respectful "fist pump" prior to tipoff and praised each other to the press core following games.
Magic and Isiah Thomas would go so far as to kiss before games and they never missed an amiable embrace following each contest.
's game six loss to Orlando on Saturday, the only thing more ghastly then Dalante West ripping his jersey off on national television was LeBron James' retreat into the locker room without even a glance toward the team that ended his season prematurely.
I am not suggesting that after game six LeBron and Dwight Howard should have followed Magic and Isiah's pregame ritual. However, It was a bit disappointing to watch LeBron completely ignore his Olympic teammate.
It has been said repeatedly in the media that LeBron James has been the model NBA
poster boy. Though I can agree that LeBron is wiser then his years, typically composed, calculated, and well spoken with the media, his team's routine "celebrations" have been well documented throughout their 66 win season.
The media often defended Cleveland's festivities
as great "camaraderie" between teammates. My argument continues to be that until you are holding the Larry O'Brien Trophy such pronounced celebrations at another teams expense is completely premature and will only come back to haunt you.
At points during the season, The Cavaliers only seemed to be spectators to their own generic ascendancy. So often we witnessed LeBron's half time and post game analysis that was so in depth that it rivaled Doug Collins' and Hubey Browns famed statistical breakdowns.
It's obvious that once Kevin Garnett
went down, King James and his Cavaliers never thought they would be anywhere but in the finals competing for the championship. The thought of losing never crossed their minds. Anything prior to playing the Lakers
for the title was a formality.
Today, as I glanced on youtube to re-visit such Cavaliers celebrations, I realized how idiotic they actually appeared.
Throughout the season, the Cavs displayed such a complete lack of humility through frequent taunting and emotional outbursts while winning. Such infamous Cavalier disclosures such as the pre-game "photo shoot", LeBron's flexing, panting after big shots or dunks, and the blow out "dance off" and "air guitar sessions" at the Q have been described by opposing teams as unsportsmanlike behavior - sound familiar?
Though it was disappointing to see LeBron scurry to the locker room avoiding his opponents, it was not shocking. Let's not forget, he played the same disappearing act, following his team's game seven loss to Boston
What was shocking was his absence from the post game press conference. Let's face it, LeBron has never been camera shy.
It's an unspoken responsibility for the leader of the team to address the media following victories and losses. Regardless of how frustrated he may have been, LeBron could have taken as much time as necessary to calm himself down. We know that the media would not have vacated the press room until James had arrived.
This responsibility is not only to the press that so favorably covered him throughout his career, but also to his loyal fans.
It's hard for me to swallow that LeBron would expect the media to flock to St. Vincent-St. Mary's High School (which, of course, they did) for him to be awarded his Most Valuable Player crown
but then to have the nerve to not show up for a post game press conference because he was "frustrated" over his team's elimination.
It has also been suggested that LeBron avoided the media to evade any questions about the dismantling of the current Cleveland Cavaliers roster. Though LeBron's future would naturally have been a topic of the post game conference, it only fueled speculations today when he gave delinquent comments to the press in his typical New York Yankee's hat.
Does LeBron want to be a New York Knick?
In what I believe to be a good decision, the NBA decided not to hammer James with any fines for ditching the post game press conference.
The Cleveland Cavaliers celebration has ended with no press conference, no title parade, and with more media questions then answers.