Why I Lost Respect for Lebron James

Will VaughnCorrespondent IMay 2, 2008

I’ve been in awe of Lebron James since I first saw him play in high school. The game was on national television, and against Carmelo Anthony’s Oak Hill team. I was in awe when I saw him pull off his double-clutch slam in the McDonald's All-American dunk contest.

It was not only Lebron’s freakish athletic abilities that made him so appealing. In his senior year, he was driving around in a Hummer, with money borrowed in anticipation of his enormous future earnings. His $90 million shoe contract paid off that loan pretty quickly. Before his first NBA game, Lebron was already a rockstar.

In his first five seasons, Lebron has been nothing short of spectacular. Skip Bayless may lambaste his shot selection, but no one can reasonably question his greatness.

Before this series with the Wizards, I was a Witness. I accepted Lebron as the basketball Messiah Nike had envisioned. He seemed to be a consummate competitor, and an upstanding citizen. He was never in any bar fights started by his brother, and he didn’t have any DUI’s. But after this series, Lebron seems less like the Savior, and more like just another whiney, arrogant superstar.


DeShawn Stevenson / Jay Z

After DeShawn Stevenson called him overrated, James should have just kept quiet, and let the comment motivate him, a la the New England Patriots. Instead, Lebron came out and compared himself to Jay Z, and Stevenson to Soulija Boy.

First of all, I don’t think Lebron has reached Jay-Z status yet. He hasn’t won a championship, and he’s been in the league five years. Jay Z is arguably the greatest rapper ever. Secondly, great players, and supposed saviors, shouldn’t tell people how good they are. Their actions are supposed to speak for themselves. Lebron’s buddy Jay Z then felt that the great Lebron needed help in his media spat with Stevenson. So at Lebron’s party, the DJ played Jay Z’s recently recorded Deshawn Stevenson diss track. It’s cool when Jay Z records a Nas diss track. But Deshawn Stevenson? Overkill on Lebron and Jay Z’s parts.

Delonte West Quote

After Game Four, Lebron was asked about Delonte West’s game-winning shot. Instead of praising Delonte for the shot, which he could have pulled up to take, Lebron just said that it gave West confidence, and gave him confidence in West. Lebron made it sound like he’s playing with a bunch of fourth graders. Even though he knows he is far better than any of his teammates, he does not need to belittle them in front of the media.

Whining about Fouls

Yes, DeShawn Stevenson should have been ejected for his flagrant foul. But basketball is a physical game, and Lebron is supposed to be the greatest physical specimen to ever play the game. If he decides to drive his 260-pound body to the rim, he should expect to get bumped around.

I don’t remember Jordan complaining when the Pistons, and every other team, manhandled him far worse than anything Lebron has had to deal with. The league gave right in to Lebron by suspending Darius Songaila. Songalia’s arm had gotten locked up with Lebron’s, and when both of them pulled away, Lebron barely got hit in the face. Lebron played it off like he got punched. This isn’t soccer. Superstars should not complain about getting fouled, and give Oscar performances when they’re touched.

My view of Lebron’s play hasn’t decreased, but my respect for him certainly has.