LeBron James: Is the Criticism That He Gets Unfair?

Yama Hazheer@Yama_HazheerCorrespondent IIApril 6, 2012

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Sacramento Kings at American Airlines Arena on February 21, 2012 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

In the past, great players have been criticized. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, two of the greatest to step on the court, have had their fair share of criticism and hate throughout their careers. It’s bound to happen when you’re great, right?

However, sometimes even criticism can be unfair. Sometimes it can lead to just pure hatred.

Bryant got a ridiculous amount of hate during the prime of his career. He got criticized for being a “ball-hog” and for being “self-centered”, but people took it far enough to call him a rapist. Fans at games made it tough on Bryant when he faced them on the road.

Some of the hate was unnecessary, and it got personal with the number of names and jokes that were created for him.

The fans have finally hopped off the Kobe hate and have leaned more towards the LeBron James hate and criticism bandwagon.

Which makes one wonder, what does James do to warrant the hate?

When King James was drafted in 2003, he had a tremendous amount of hype built around him.

Jordan did not get the amount of hype James got. Bryant did not, either.

Fans were buying his high school jerseys right when he got on the radar. There has never been a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey sold as much as the No. 23 that James rocked so well in Ohio.

It was no question that James was extremely popular with the fans before he even stepped foot on an NBA court.

After a trip to the NBA finals only to get swept by the San Antonio Spurs, the chirps started of the LeBron criticism.

He had a magical series against the Detroit Pistons the series before that will go down in history books. He led the Cavs to the finals, when their second-best player was a young'un by the name of Daniel “Boobie” Gibson.  It was a whole other show when he reached the finals.

A man who looked like he was determined to finish his career off with the team that loved him stabbed the Cavaliers in the back on national television.

In July 2010, James had an hour special on ESPN dedicated to his choice of which team he will play. James selected the Miami Heat, to the surprise of many, including the broken-hearted Cleveland faithful.

The moment James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh formed a trio for Miami, the hate for James began.

Players from the past were even quoted saying how they would never join with another superstar to try to win. You want to win it by yourself.

Jokes were made such as LeBron is the “Batman” to Wade and how he cannot win a championship as the main player on a team. Unsubstantiated rumors circulated around James’ mom and his former teammate, Delonte West having an affair.

More jokes started regarding LeBron’s hairline. All these jokes went viral around social networking sites, basketball forums and various other media outlets.

People hate on James for personal reasons, but also a few actual basketball reasons.

Critics not only said that he cannot lead a team to a championship himself, but that the team still belongs to Wade.

With Wade having a ring himself, and Kobe having five of his own, basketball fans hate on James for not having one, despite the fact that he is in the same tier as Bryant and Wade.

Miami did reach the NBA finals their first season with the Big Three, but lost in a tough series to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.

A stat many do not know is that James has not scored over 25 points in an NBA finals game.

Many do criticize James for his lack of play in the fourth quarter, but at times, you can blame his attitude for that. James can be a pass-first player more often that Jordan or Bryant ever was. He lacks the killer mentality that they had, which has hurt him in the fourth quarter.

He becomes passive at times when he should use his frame to take it to the rim. He is unguardable when he takes it to the rim.

It is noticeable that James' defense has also improved every single year he has been in the NBA. When James is focused on the defensive end, it is extremely hard to get past him.

He can lock you down on the perimeter, and is fast enough to stop a player with the ball when they try to get to the basket on the drive.

If James gets the killer mentality that Bryant and Jordan possess, he will go down as one of the most dominant players of all time. He has the ability to score at will, but prefers to get everyone around him involved.

LeBron can go down as the MVP this year, which means he leads the Heat, not Wade. He is the face of the franchise now. The team is his. James is currently the best player in the National Basketball Association.

So is all of the hate that James gets fair?

Obviously, the personal jokes are uncalled for, but that’s what happens when you are seen as a “villain.” He did Cleveland wrong, but at the same time, the NBA is a business as well. He could have handled the situation better, but it’s over. People have to move on eventually.

But is all of the basketball criticism that James gets fair?

Bryant won his first three championships playing alongside the most dominant player ever, Shaquille O’Neal. His other two were with Kobe as the main piece of the franchise.

Jordan did not get his first NBA championship until he was 28 years old.

James does not turn 28 until December. Even if the Heat do not win the championship this season, LeBron James still has until next year to get an NBA finals ring on his finger before all of the criticism becomes reality.

And finally fair.

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