No player in the storied history of the NBA has faced as many expectations as LeBron James. While a lot of the hype machine was created by his rare combination of athletic ability and talent, he hasn't helped his case when it comes to his ego.
Heading into his ninth season he has already had a Hall of Fame career. James is a seven-time All-Star, two-time MVP and the 2007-08 scoring champion.
While that all sounds great, LeBron is missing two things: a ring and the respect from the general public.
I have always been a big supporter of LeBron James. His exciting playing style and potential for great things has always appealed to me and most of his fans. At the same time, it's completely understandable that most fans have a negative view of James' demeanor.
Although respect and love will not win you a championship, it's a major factor in deciding how you will be remembered in history.
Ask people like Mike Tyson, Michael Vick and Tiger Woods how negative attention affected their lives and careers.
While James has never done anything morally wrong in his professional career, it's his ego that has truly gotten the best of him.
James isn't hated necessarily because he decided to go to Miami, it's the way he decided to tell the world that hurt his image.
Unfortunately for him, he will be a media sensation no matter what he does, but drawing attention to himself is the main concern.
James has never been one to shy away from a microphone or camera, but he should tone it down. Posting snide tweets or butting into issues that don't involve him are just some of the ways James' has drawn negative reactions from critics.
He can embrace the attention he receives but shouldn't do anything to bring more negative criticism his way.
One of the bigger issues LeBron has had in his professional career came in 2009 after a loss in the Eastern Conference Finals. After dropping the series to the Orlando Magic, not only was James nowhere to be found, but in many fans' eyes he showed bad sportsmanship by not shaking any hands.
It's understandable to be upset after a series loss, especially when you are so confident in yourself. LeBron's problem is he is truly a sore loser.
Shake hands after a tough defeat and expect the same from opposing players whenever you are the victor. It's proper sportsmanship that we learn in recreational league basketball as kids.
James is also famous for throwing tantrums over calls made by referees. Whether you like them or not, complaining about calls doesn't change the result.
Commissioner David Stern recently altered the causes for a technical foul due to players constantly complaining about calls. Players like James, Kevin Garnett and
Dwight Howard are often seen vocalizing their opinions and were major factors in reevaluating the rules.
On the contrary, James has shown good sportsmanship before. After being eliminated from a game of knockout by a kid from his camp, James decided to posterize the kid and knock him down.
Obviously it was an accident, but he made sure that was known with a pretty nifty apology. And of course, this wasn't a major deal and he didn't intend to hurt the boy.
While James has shown signs of immaturity on the court before, he still shows good signs and morals in smaller situations.
James has also donned a few questionable nicknames in his time that he should consider dropping.
Having nicknames like "King" or "Chosen One" are pretty bold, in general. However, if you're going to stick with these nicknames you better earn them.
Michael Jordan was "Air" Jordan because he is the best dunker in NBA history.
Muhammad Ali was nicknamed "The Greatest" because he was arguably the greatest boxer in history.
Well, you see where I'm going with this. Either live up to the nicknames or drop them. Besides, what is a King with no crown?
One of the biggest things that come with being a NBA player is criticism. The better you are the more you will have. However, it is the most successful players that silence their critics.
Great players like Jordan and Kobe Bryant have thrived off proving doubters wrong and left little room for new criticism. Both have always shown a killer instinct that helps them succeed in clutch situations, an attitude James should adopt.
No, I don't mean by blasting fans in press conferences, instead, let your play and talent do the talking for itself.
While James is a future Hall of Famer, he still has a lot of work to do to be mentioned with the greatest players in history.
So how can LeBron silence these critics?
It's quite simple: if James wants to seem less egotistical, he can start by winning a championship.
He can keep the nicknames, be vocal and silence the critics if he simply wins a championship. However, guaranteeing multiple trophies isn't enough, you have to start with No. 1.
He helped build Cleveland to a legit contender a few years back and has shown some success in leading the Miami Heat to an NBA finals appearance last year. However, James must hoist a Larry O'Brien Trophy in order to have a meaningful career.
Do this, and King James can have his redemption not only as a player, but as a personality as well.
LeBron James deserved all of the hype he received during his high school days. He is currently the best player in the NBA and is still young.
At just 26 years old, James will be entering the next few seasons in his prime years. Now is the best time for LeBron to earn his nicknames and hype.
It is rare to find an athlete that doesn't have an egotistical side, but smart ones don't let their egos get the better of them.
As fans we wanted to like James, but over time it has become hard for most. Everyone was looking for the next Michael Jordan and he was our best hope.
After plenty of chances both on and off the court, James has failed to capitalize on his opportunities and now must work to regain his positive public image.
For now James should focus less on being a media sensation and more on winning.
I'll reiterate what I said earlier: If LeBron wants to seem less egotistical, he can start by winning a championship.
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