NBA Playoffs 2011: Why It's Time to Stop Hate Against Miami Heat's LeBron James

Tom Kinslow@@TomKinslowFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2011

MIAMI, FL - MAY 11:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

LeBron James Has Been Torn Down, But Is It Time To Let Him Build Himself Back Up?

From the moment that LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, the public turned on one of the best talents in the NBA.

People in Cleveland burned his jersey. Fans in road stadiums everywhere booed him each time he touched the ball. Life became nothing but criticism for James, and for what?

Was LeBron guilty of bad public relations? Of course he was. It was one of the biggest mistakes any athlete has made in terms of marketing, but at the heart of the issue, why did James head down to Miami?

It was because he wanted to win.

Fans complain all the time about how athletes are all about the money and how it's not about the love of the game and winning championships. James looked at his roster in Cleveland and saw a group that was destined to be nothing more than regular season accolades and nothing more.

In Miami, he has a team that can win multiple championships, and that's why he wears a Heat jersey today. If Cleveland could have gotten him that kind of help, right now we'd be talking about the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Finally, in the glow of one of his greatest triumphs, James finally apologized for the announcement that rocked basketball.

Per Brian Windhorst of

"I knew deep down in my heart, as much as I loved my teammates back in Cleveland and as much as I loved home, I knew it couldn't do it by myself against that team," James said.

"The way it panned out with all the friends and family and the fans back home, I apologize for the way it happened. I knew this opportunity was once in a lifetime. To be able to come down here and pair with two guys and this organizationin order for me to move on with my career, that team that we just defeated, we had to go through them."

Yet, this won't stop the backlash. Every move LeBron makes is ripped to shreds and fans took pure joy out of watching him struggle and the Heat lose games. But why?

Unless your team was playing Miami, why should you watch the Heat play with such animosity? Life is too short for that.

As basketball fans, it's time to watch these games with an open mind. We should criticize them when it's necessary, but it's time to leave all of the LeBron melodrama in the past where it belongs.

He made made a mistake in announcing his intention to play in Miami, but that's one error and it shouldn't tarnish his legacy. James is this generation's greatest basketball talent and it's time to enjoy those skills while he's in the prime of his career.

If you let misplaced animosity get in the way of that, you're only hurting yourself.