Miami Heat: LeBron James Could Learn Something from His 18-Year-Old Self

Eric StrellerContributor IIMarch 31, 2011

CLEVELAND - MARCH 29: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat performs his pre-game chalk throw ritual before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 29, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

From the day LeBron James entered the NBA as an 18-year-old kid for the Cleveland Cavaliers, we all waited for him to mess up. He had been touted as the future of basketball since he was a young teenager. Nearly everyone felt the pressures would catch up to him, and he'd mess up from time to time. It was expected.

Instead, James surprised us all and handled the pressures of being "The King" with class. The guy went to work, played hard and earned the right to be considered the game's most dominant force.

Fast forward to the summer of 2010 and things began to change. I had no problems with James deciding to go to the Heat. He is the only person that can make decisions for himself, and he has the right to do as he pleases.

Even though "The Decision" raised my eyebrows a little bit, I still wasn't completely turned off to the whole situation.

When my opinion of LeBron and the Miami Heat began to change was at their championship-esque celebration, before they'd even practiced together. It was the first time that I looked at LeBron James and saw a little immaturity.

Since that day, the maturity we used to see from James has become a distant memory.

James probably made his worst decision yet prior to the Heat versus Cavs game in his second return to Cleveland. James was missing in action as the arena was filled with boos as his name was called over the loud speaker during pregame introductions.

His excuse, "I was just using the restroom. Am I allowed to do that?"

Of course you're allowed to do that, just not during the pregame introductions when you need to be taking your boos like a man.

I've watched the NBA for a long time and have never seen anyone miss the pregame intros to go the restroom. James absence was a blatant slap in the face to NBA fans and showed a cowardly side that we have rarely seen.

James continues to try and pull the wool over our eyes. Does he really think we believe that he just happened to miss the introductions by coincidence? His tone and sarcasm surely make it seem like it.

James needs to do a little self discovery and get back to the man that he once was. He seemed to have it all figured out when he was a teenager and here he is seven years later, looking as lost as ever.

It's as if he doesn't know why everyone is picking on him and he thinks hiding and sarcastic comments will make it all go away. His condescending attitude doesn't help either.

If he's ever going to fix his image, it's going to start with owning up to his mistakes and acting humble rather than egotistical.

His innocence is gone, but he's still got a chance to show that maturity that surprised us all when he was only 18 years old.

His recipe for future basketball and image success should be the following: go to work, play hard and earn the right to be respected again. Oh yeah, maybe get rid of the Twitter account too.