LeBron James to Tiger Woods: We Love the Players Who Love the Game

Gene ZarnickCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2010

If you didn't notice I haven't really written much in the past two or three weeks.  It wasn't that I didn't have the time, it was more the fact that I didn't want to write: about LeBron James.

Let’s face it.  Since July 1st until probably the beginning of this week almost everyone has written about LeBron.

I didn't want to.

It's not that I didn't have lots to say about it, but I just thought you probably already read every possible angle in the LBJ Saga.

Now that some weeks have gone by the only question I really am still pondering is if LeBron can restore his image to what it once was?

Kobe did it.  Tiger is semi on his way.  What is it about these particular athletes who were overwhelmingly vilified that made us found a renewed sense of trust in them?

I figured it out.  They love the game they play.

Unfortunately we as fans won't ever get the opportunity to lace up our shoes and step foot into Madison Square Garden to participate in an NBA game.  

We can't dig our cleats in to the sacred dirt at Fenway or Wrigley.  There won't be thousands of people watching us if we ever get a chance to play eighteen at St. Andrews.

It's these simple things that we see every day that we love and cherish.  We just want the athletes who get to experience these things to cherish them as well.

The fact that LeBron went on national television for his lame special is one thing, but are we really that upset that he was on TV for his decision?  

College athletes do the exact same thing every year and if you want to talk about being heinous, I can still picture the nightmarish scene where Kevin Jones picks up the Penn State uniform, holds it there, tosses it aside and takes off his sweatshirt to reveal a Virginia Tech jersey.

As a Penn State fan and alum I will not only hate Kevin Jones forever, but I will hate Virginia Tech too.

What LeBron did was a charade.  It was just his new way to once again have the spotlight on him, but when the spotlight shines to bright it's a detriment to everyone’s' eyes.

Everyone isn't mad at LeBron because of The Decision; they're mad because he made himself bigger than the game and nobody is ever bigger than the game.

That phrase is cliché, but it's oh-so true.  As fans we can try to pretend like we understand the business, understand what the players are thinking, and try to put ourselves in their shoes, but we can't; we'll never be able to.

All we can truly understand is the game we enjoy watching and appreciate it for what it is. That's why in the end we respect the athletes who also appreciate the game in same respect that we do.

People like to say that winning cures everything, but I disagree with that as well.  It's how you win that change peoples' minds.

When Kobe returned to glory after his court case he was focused on winning.  He had one goal in mind and he got there.  We respect him for that.

On the other hand compare players like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.  No matter if you hate the Yankees, most fans still respect Jeter, but A-Rod could win ten rings and most people still wouldn't like him.  A-Rod is trying to change his image so we'll see if it works out.

I guess sometimes lowering your ego makes you bigger in the fans' minds.

So sorry LeBron, but you're no longer the young favorite of the NBA.  That torch is getting passed on to Kevin Durant.

Durant issued his extension press release on Twitter.  He didn't need an hour show to do so.  He was praised for it, but the greatest thing about it was that praise was the last thing he was trying to get.  

Everyone can tell that Durant is a player that truly respects the game and loves the game and because he shares the same feeling as so many NBA fans, his appreciation resonates to so many fans and he will become a huge star because of it.

My hiatus was a great thing.  Instead of venting and throwing my thoughts into words I was able to just sit back, read, and reflect.  I learned that all sports fan, no matter how many debates or arguments we have about everything that happens in sports, still have one thing in common.

We love the game and we'll love the players that feel the same way.