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LeBron James: Attempt to Extinguish Bad-Guy Persona Won't Alter Fan Opinion

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 21:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a preseason game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center on December 21, 2011 in Orlando, 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)
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Eric BallFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2011

LeBron James is trying to win back the hearts of America, and it’s not going to work.

I’m sure all of the conversations he had with corporate $ponser$ this summer centered on rebuilding his image within the American public. Millions of dollars are on the line.

He had a lame apology of sorts for Rachel Nichols and the ESPN cameras, and has been making comments to the effect that he wants to shed the villain portrayal he currently has.

James admitted to falling into the role when asked by USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt:

There's no villain bone in my body. I became unfocused. I turned into somebody that I'm not. I'm not a villainous person, and I told you that. I started to become unfocused and worried about the wrong things. I'm back to myself.

 Oh really? You’re back to the same player who won two MVPs?

Funny thing is, his first season in Miami was right on par with most of his career. He averaged 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and seven assists and played very consistent basketball…until it mattered most. This mirrors the output of most of his career.

What’s never going to change is the fan’s view. Boos will litter every road game of the big-three because they created the blueprint to screw over your small-market franchise to jump on the big-market bandwagon.

James represents what appears to be the era of coddled and babied stars who whine and complain until they get what they want. It’s a dangerous time for the league and we can thank LeBron for it.

More than anything else, in a country that prides itself on loyalty and finishing the job you start, LeBron laughed in everyone’s faces and took the easy way out.

America prides itself on hard work, and while James may work on his game for countless hours behind closed doors, we only see the public decisions he makes. We saw him dancing on stage talking about all the championships he was going to win. "The Decision” was a historic moment in the history of the league and it’s going to take a whole lot more than one year for fans to forget.

LeBron needs to realize this and altered his mentality accordingly. What’s wrong with being a villain? It worked for Kobe and for those old Detroit Pistons teams in the early '90s.

James wants to have the fairytale script with nothing but smiles. In reality, it’s nothing but angry customers that hate what you stand for.

Embrace it.

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