LeBron "King" James is hands down the best player in the NBA this season. Not Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, or anybody else. It's LeBron James, and we hate to say it just as much as we hate to see him succeed.
Because he couldn't carry a talent-lacking, overachieving Cleveland Cavaliers team to an NBA Championship, so he left town to join friend Dwyane Wade and big man Chris Bosh in Miami in order to win a championship? Because he's the closest comparison to the greatest of all time, or "GOAT", since Michael Jordan lit up the Association? Or because he is overshadowing each and every team outside of South Beach?
Take your pick. Personally, I found the excuse to not like him because he left Cleveland high and dry without a chance to improve in free agency. Now they have two of the top picks in the draft and can build strongly for the future, so it's not all that bad in Cleveland, right? It's better to have LeBron'd and lost then to never have LeBron'd at all.
But then it dawned on me, I'm not a Cleveland or Miami fan. Why do I care? I'll keep my nose in my own business. "The Decision" to bring three amazing players to a single team brings a challenge to my favorite team. If we're going to win a championship, I'd much rather them take down the giant of the NBA. It will be remembered forever as the "David vs. Goliath" matchup we all adore so very much.
However, that's not how most fans see it. The majority of the NBA's fans outside of Miami feel that he's a coward who will never be the star of a team again. Their respect for him left on that plane from Ohio to Florida.
Never again will most fans give credit to LeBron for anything. His MVP opportunities have shrunk dramatically with such talented teammates, and it looks as if Wade will win the Finals MVP if the Heat finish off the Mavericks, which is still a big "if."
Will that win get James out of the doghouse? Usually, yes. That method usually involves some kind of criminal activity or poor performance and it wins back fans. This is different. James, as girly as it sounds, hurt the fans' feelings. Hearts don't heal fast.
Barring remarkably respectable humanitarian acts, LeBron James will not be loved as much as he was in Cleveland ever again. Fans will always hold the grudge of "The Decision" and the pre-season party.
So maybe James made a few poor choices in how he carried his choice out. Do I agree with the televised show to make his decision? No, a press conference would do just fine. How about the pre-season party with Wade and Bosh? It was pretty excessive, but the man was having fun.
This is how the man works. He has an ego. Last I checked, so did Jordan. Any man who shoots free throws with his eyes closed and is as cocky in his commercials as he is in person has to have an attitude. Is it a bad thing for him? No, we all love His Airness.
But we will never love LeBron again. He's out of our good graces, never to be the superhero he was destined to become ever again. His Heat team will always be the villain in each and every matchup they participate in. He will forever be hated.
And he'll feast on it. James loves to be hated, it boosts his performance even further. He wants to be boo'ed, insulted and rooted against. He'll accept the villain role any day, and that's exactly what he's doing to have to do for the rest of his career.