LeBron James Wants Revenge on Miami Heat Haters: Who Are They?

Lance PaukerCorrespondent IOctober 26, 2010

LeBron James Wants Revenge on Miami Heat Haters: Who Are They?

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    MIAMI - OCTOBER 18:  Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat prepares to face the Charlotte Bobcats on October 18, 2010 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Being that this is probably the 450,238,0235th article written about LeBron James over the past few months, it's safe to say that the King has accrued quite a royalty of media attention during the infamous 2010 NBA offseason.

    In case Dan Gilbert broke your television in the aftermath of King James' notorious "decision," here is a basic timeline of what we have all "witnessed" during this tumultuous summer:

    May 13: James' Cavaliers are eliminated by the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. A number of analysts criticize LeBron's play, suggesting that he looked disengaged from the game. 

    June 17: The Los Angeles Laker's defeat the Celtics in a thrilling Game 7, capturing their second consecutive NBA Championship. Half the country fails to notice, too engrossed in the looming "Summer of LeBron." 

    July 1: The free agency period officially begins, causing people who aren't professional athletes to care about twitter for the first time ever. 

    July 8: LeBron James announces that he will "take his talents to South Beach" on a live one-hour special aired exclusively on ESPN, joining NBA superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh as the newest member of the Miami Heat.

    LeBonageddon ensues, and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert kicks off the hating with an interestingly-worded letter...The decision garnered a 9.95 million person audience, making it the third most watched event on cable television up to that point of the calendar year. Teen actress Miranda Cosgrove is a big winner here, as an episode of her television show "iCarly" beat out LeBron's hijacking of ESPN. 

    August 10: Via his twitter account, LeBron stated "Don't think for one min that I haven't been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!"

    August 17: Reports emerge pertaining to an interview King James had with GQ Magazine, with LeBron making several ridiculous statements that suggest he's fully detached from reality

    September 30: LeBron and his advisor, Maverick Carter, are interviewed by CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien. Both King James and Carter indicate that they believe race played a role in LeBron's negative public perception following "the decision." 

    October 19: LeBron declares the day "National Hater Day," and proceeds to retweet some of the more unpleasant messages he's received throughout the course of the summer.

    Today (October 25th): Nike released a rather controversial commercial, which chronicles James' offseason in a rather interesting perspective, giving James a unique chance to voice his thoughts on his tumultuous offseason and his quest for an NBA championship.    

    As the NBA season tips off tonight, LeBron will begin his journey down the long, winding, path leading towards what he hopes to be his ultimate redemption. As the offseason showed in a big way, the King has quite the collection of critics to appease.

    This list will compile the more well known names of those LeBron has been "taking mental notes of" throughout the courts of the offseason. As the season evolves, it will be interesting to see how these individuals respond to LeBron's impending success, or lack thereof. 

Charles Barkley

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    It's more or less official that Sir Charles would consider LeBron James a "knucklehead."

    Barkley has never been a huge fan of King James. In December 2008, the TNT analyst told LeBron James to shut the hell up regarding his free agency plans for this past summer, a hot topic amongst the NBA media even back then. A vocal Barkley argued that talking about bigger and better things two years down the road was disrespectful to the city of Cleveland as well as the Cav's organization. 

    Following the decision, Barkley's opinion of James took a turn for the worst. In an interview on the Dan LeBatard show, Sir Charles had the following to say about Miami's new king:

    “He’ll never be Jordan. This clearly takes him out of the conversation. He can win as much as he wants to. There would have been something honorable about staying in Cleveland and trying to win it as the man."

    The saga continued after LeBron's "I'm watching you" tweet, which riled Barkley up to a whole new level. More or less an "oh no you didn't" reaction, Barkley went on to rip LeBron even further, calling James "a punk." 

    Said Barkley, 

    "He knows where I'll be, I don't run. I'm on TV every week, I'm easy to find."

Michael Jordan

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    Barkley stated that LeBron could never be compared to Jordan. Judging by MJ's reaction to the recent free agency frenzy, Jordan would never want to be compared to LeBron. 

    Throughout James' career, the comparisons to Michael Jordan have been endless. Bron's unprecedented talent has put him in unique company, as the two time NBA MVP is arguably the most talented player to step on the hardwood since Jordan. 

    Although his Airness has recognized that times have changed, he also made it clear that he would never take part in what some would call a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. 

    "There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry [Bird], called up Magic [Johnson] and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team....In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."

    Translation: To be the considered the best, you have to beat the best.

    Yes, Jordan was blessed with the services of Scottie Pippen, a clear top 10 player during the Bull's magical streak of titles. That said, the Jordan/Pippen marriage occurred organically (they both started their careers with Chicago), and thus was by no means brought about by active collusion.

    Jordan's opinion of LeBron can be summed up at the 1:38 mark of the video above. Clearly, Jordan doesn't even consider James one of the greatest players of this generation.

Jason Whitlock

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    The former ESPN personality and Fox Sports columnist was fed up by the antics preceding the July 8 Cleveland massacre, citing that James' entourage was largely to blame for the free agency overhype. In that same article, published on the morning of that fateful night, Whitlock believed it nearly impossible that James would leave his hometown:

    "He's not going to appear on an hour-long TV special to take a dump on Cleveland by revealing he's the black Art Modell. That can't be his end-game strategy, a teary and televised middle-finger farewell to his hometown."

    You could imagine his reaction the following morning. Whitlock's follow-up piece, in which he compares the decision to "America’s first all-male, PG-13 celebrity sex tape," suggests that he has as about 100 times less respect for LeBron than the BCS has for Boise State. A must read, Whitlock boldly concludes with this LeBrand degrading line:

    "There'll be more new baby mama's than championships."

    Lastly, Whitlock blasted LeBron for blaming his negative perception on race, calling him and Maverick Carter "two spoiled kids, drunk on fame and privilege," further stating that "LeBron’s enablers are providing him the racial cocoon of denial. They’re giving LeBron an excuse to avoid dealing with his own bad (The) Decision."

    Needless to say, Whitlock isn't going to buy a certain Miami Heat jersey any time soon. 

Adrian Wojnarowski

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    GREENWICH, CT - JULY 08:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) LeBron James attends the LeBron James Pre Decision Meet and Greet on July 8, 2010 in Greenwich, Connecticut. Proceeds from tonight's 2.5 million dollar event will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Ameri
    Larry Busacca/Getty Images

    This article, written by Yahoo! Sport's NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, is perhaps one of the most detailed, informative and insightful pieces written about the long, drawn out process that ultimately resulted in James' departure from Cleveland. 

    In what he calls "The greatest coup in free agent history," the piece touches upon everything from James' attitude towards Cleveland, to his interactions with others around the NBA, to James' disturbing sense of entitlement brought about by his inner circle. 

    Woj on the humble beginnings of the Miami Thrice project:

    "The beginning of his departure came in small moments on the daily bus rides through the city’s (Beijing) choking smog and bigger ones on the basketball court. Together,Dwyane WadeChris Bosh and James kept talking about the summer of 2010, about the chance of a lifetime to chase championships and roll like a touring rock band."

    On "courting" the King, and why James didn't sign with Chicago:

    "Chicago officials never directly requested Rose to reach out with a call, and the young point guard felt James could’ve always reached out to him had he wanted to discuss the possibility of playing together. James needed to be courted, needed to be wooed and apparently it surprised him there was a star who wasn’t falling over himself to do that."

    On "the Decision"

    "...This had been Maverick Carter’s big idea, his production, and still people around him worried about the fallout in Cleveland. Several friends told James this was a bad idea to do to his hometown, that leaving the Cavaliers live on national television would make this a public-relations disaster for him.

    James didn’t seem to agree, didn’t think it made a difference. Mad was mad, he thought. He would take a beating, but it would subside and people would love him again in Cleveland. The TV event had delivered hope to the Cavaliers that they would keep James because they never believed he would go on air and open himself to such a visceral reaction."

Magic Johnson

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Earvin 'Magic' Johnson holds the Larry O'Brien Trophy after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressl
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Johnson more or less echoed a sentiment similar to Jordan's.

    Youth of America, don't fear. Contrary to the popular belief of certain NBA players these days, embracing competition does exist. 

    When asked if he would ever consider pulling a similar stunt with the greats of his era, Johnson had this to say:

    "We didn't think about it 'cause that's not what we were about...From college, I was trying to figure out how to beat Larry Bird.”

    After hearing these comments, I am forced to conclude that LeBron James has never watched the sports classic known as The Replacements. As we all know, "Winners always want the ball when the game's on the line."

    Magic always wanted to take the last shot. By surrendering his autonomy to Wade and Riley, James no longer has control over the matter. 

Stan Van Gundy

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    ORLANDO, FL - MAY 26:  Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts in the first quarter against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 26, 2010 in Orlando, Florida.  NO
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Stan Van, with his gregarious personality, always seems to be the driver of bold, declarative statements. 

    As a talent, it has been made clear that Van Gundy has but the utmost respect for King James. Before James' departure from Cleveland, the Magic head man once stated that James will win the MVP award "every year until he retires."

    Fed up with the media hype surrounding James' July 8 military occupation of ESPN, Van Gundy told reporters that he would not be watching the event, clearly fed up with the what he deemed a circus act:

    "It's gotten ridiculous, I think...I mean it's almost like a parody of itself, this whole situation now. Come on, an hour long? OK, it takes 15 seconds to say, 'I've decided to stay in Cleveland...But we've got another 59 minutes and 45 seconds to, what, promote LeBron James? As if we don't do that enough."

    After joining Pat Riley, the J. Jonah Jameson to Van Gundy's Peter Parker, you could bet that Mr. Van Gundy would like nothing more than for his Magic decimate LeBron and his South Beach entourage. 

Shaquille O'Neal

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    BOSTON - MAY 07:  LeBron James #23 and Shaquille O'Neal #33 of the Cleveland Cavaliers pause near the end of a win against  the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 7, 201
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    From teammates to...PR enemies?

    Such may be the case for Shaq and LeBron, both ghosts of Cleveland's past. Despite buying him a Rolls Royce Phantom for his 25th birthday, the two's friendship couldn't have gone too far. For one, LeBron's "decision" clearly was not Shaqtastic enough for Boston's biggest new acquisition to watch. 

    In an interview with New York Times' Deborah Solomon, Shaq had this to say:

    Solomon: Did you watch along with the rest of the world when he (LeBron) monopolized ESPN for a night to announce where he was going?

    Shaq: No, I didn't. One, I was with the kids, and two, I didn't know it was going to be on TV.

    I didn't watch it, either.

    That's because you're mature and you're my age and we have a different mind-set.

    When Shaq speaks of this different "mature" it quite logical to deduce he is referring to the fact that that because Shaq and Solomon are older, they are not preoccupied with the outlandish lifestyles of young celebrity superstars who use massive public relations events to stroke their own ego's. 

    This is all coming from the guy who has a television show that features himself participating in ridiculous competitions against the elite athletes of sports other than basketball. 

    What we have here is a power struggle. Between his genius quotes, hilarious commercials, memorable press conferences, and wacky PR stunts, one can't help but feel that Shaq, in his old, declining age, feels uncomfortably threatened by the King's press coup d'etat.

    As we all know, Shaq's verbal filter is about as strong as Carmelo Anthony's desire to stay with the Nuggets. If LeBron does anything to nudge Shaq in the wrong direction, you could bet that we'll hear about it. 

Dan Gilbert

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    In an age ruled by Internet, cell-phones and rapid communication, it is not too often that one receives a break up letter. 

    For those of us born after this side of Haley's comet, Dan Gilbert has provided us with a highly entertaining window to the past. As we are all well aware, the Cavaliers owner did not waste any time bashing his former franchise player—via a good old fashioned letter.

    His anger over him and James' breakup screams louder than Craig Sager's entire wardrobe. 

    You could read Gilbert's melodramatic wonder in its entirety right here. Below are some of juicy the highlights:

    "This (decision) was announced with a several-day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment."

    "This shocking act of disloyalty from our homegrown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow up to become...

    "I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former 'king' wins one."


    Gilbert was fined $100,000 by the NBA for his actions.






Cleveland, Ohio

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    You've seen the burning jerseys. You've read the tweets, facebook status', and frontpage headlines. 

    We all know that the city of Cleveland, amidst troubling economic times, did not deserve such a heavy blow to its now fragile core. King James' departure will likely have a crippling effect on the city's proud basketball franchise, as it does not seem like the Cav's will be contending for an NBA Championship anytime soon, let alone a playoff birth. 

    Two days after the decision, workers began dismantling a giant "We are all witnesses" billboard in downtown Cleveland. The rage ceased to subside over the next few weeks, as demonstrated by an Akron Marketing Firm's purchase of this billboard, essentially a middle school-like taunt on steroids. 

    When you have to resort to such snide, "how do you like them apples?" banter as an outlet for your anger, its safe to say that you have surpassed all forms of traditional madness. Not even Samuel L. Jackson and his shouting ways could encapsulate the sentiments of Cleveland, Ohio. 

    The interviews from the video above demonstrate nothing but vicious animosity towards Cleveland's former king. If I were James, I'd try to make sure that Maverick Carter steers clear of any sort of promotional gimmicks regarding LeBron's return to Quicken Loans Arena, which will occur on Dec. 2.

    If you don't have that date marked down on your calendar by now, its probably because you don't own a pen.