LeBron James: 5 Choices That Transformed Him into an NBA Villain
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In one quick season, LeBron James has gone from Superman to Lex Luthor. From Rocky to Clubber Lang. From Han Solo to Darth Vader. From...well, you get the picture.
James could do no wrong during his first seven seasons in the NBA. He brought television ratings that haven't been seen since Bird, Magic and Jordan. He was going to bring Cleveland their long-awaited championship. He was more like Mike than anyone before him. He was the "King."
So how did we get to this point? Surely LeBron's now overwhelmingly negative persona is a direct result of the spurning of his hometown Cavs last summer on national television, right?
Well, if you examine LeBron's career thus far, you will see several decisions that ultimately led to his conversion from hero to villain.
5. LeBron's Treatment of Past and Present Coaches
Traditionally, players in the NBA that don't respect their coaches wear out their welcome very quickly in the league. See: Sprewell, Latrell. Over the past few seasons, King James has frequently shown contempt for his head coaches.
Whether it be questioning his minutes per game, voicing his opinion on which players should be starting or insisting that opposing coaches know what plays his team will run in the final minutes of games, James has become a headache for his superiors.
Bron Bron even had the nerve to shoulder bump coach Erik Spoelstra during a timeout in a game last season. Now don't think that LeBron picked on Spoelstra because of his boyish looks; this is something that he did to previous coach Mike Brown in Cleveland too.
In fact, there are also rumors that LeBron was the reason behind the firing of Mike Brown last offseason in Cleveland in an effort to appease James to stay.
There are only so many people capable of coaching in this league. If LeBron continues his ways, not one of them will want to put up with his you know what.
4. LeBron Tweets After Cavs Lose by 55
Following his former team scoring the fewest points in their history, a 55-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron took to Twitter. Kick them while they're down, why don't you.
Twitter is truly a phenomenon when used by professional athletes. Some players literally have no filter between the thoughts in their head and what they type into their cell phone. Just give Gilbert Arenas' account a quick once-over and you'll see that.
LeBron is not always guilty of this mistake but this time he was caught red-handed. The most confusing part about this situation, however, is that everyone knows LeBron is better than Cleveland. Without James, the Cavaliers would have been nothing. LeBron obviously knows that.
Then why would he go out of his way time after time to besmirch his former team? The only reason I can conjure up is to get back at owner Dan Gilbert for his hate letter after LeBron broke up with the team. As we'll see repeatedly, James always seems to take his anger out on the wrong people.
Think twice before tweeting LeBron—the whole world is watching.
3. LeBron Walks off Court and Dodges Press After Loss to Magic
What's the easiest way to make the world forget that you just averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and eight assists per game in the Eastern Conference finals?
Simply walk off the court when the game is over without saying a word to anyone, including the media. That's what LeBron did when the Orlando Magic eliminated his Cavaliers from the 2009 postseason.
Now I can understand James not wanting to stick around to congratulate the men that just ended his season. To lose gracefully is something that must be learned over the course of one's life. With LeBron being in the NBA for several years, you would think that he would have learned how to cope better, especially when dozens of cameras are following his every move.
To further compound his immaturity, LeBron then took a quick shower in the locker room and left without speaking to any media personnel. Rather than taking the opportunity to speak for himself, James gave sportswriters a freebie this time.
At least when he did the same thing again to the Mavericks after being expelled from the Finals, LeBron managed to make it to the postgame conference.
Maybe he should have skipped out on that one too...
2. LeBron Bashes Detractors Following NBA Finals Elimination
LeBron sure has a way with words, doesn't he? If only his response of "Absolutely not," was the end of his statement instead of the beginning.
Before a room full of reporters and on live television, King James let it be known to his critics that his life is better than theirs. He may have been defeated, but damnit does he look good in that suit that none of us can afford.
It's one thing to respond to criticism. But it's an entirely different thing when you nearly unintentionally alienate your own fanbase because you couldn't choose your words tactfully.
Sometimes things are better left unsaid.
1. LeBron Makes "The Decision"
It's not always what you say, but how you say it. In this case, it's not what LeBron did that vilified him to thousands of people, it's how he did it.
During the waning moments of an hour-long special on ESPN, LeBron made his decision on where he was going to continue the next chapter of his career. As we all hung to his every word, King James made his decree.
"...I'm going to be taking my talents to South Beach."
Millions were able to watch LeBron James tear the hearts out of his hometown team live and in high definition. Can't give a hometown heads up, Bron? Even Cleveland didn't know what James was about to do until a few minutes before he announced it live.
Lost among the myriad negatives of "The Decision" were the three positives that came out of it: the donation made to the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Miami Heat getting another superstar and me getting out of Sociology early.
Thanks again, LeBron.