Some say he's arrogant. After he walked off the court without congratulating any members of the Orlando Magic squad following a humiliating end to an incredible MVP season, others began to call him childish.
On the flip side of those negative darts, many would contend that he will go down in history as one of the greatest players—and not only at his position—the game has ever seen. He's big, he's explosive, he's difficult to guard, and his outside game is close to matching his ability to get to the bucket and dunk on anyone.
Outside of what basketball writers, announcers, and other players might say about LeBron James, what is it like to be the King? This is not a question about his capacity as a father off the court, or his aspirations to be the first billionaire athlete.
As a fan, consumer, and sports enthusiast, I could care less about what the dude is doing in his spare time, or what his favorite food is. I'm from Northeast Ohio and I'm only concerned with one thing: winning.
Hopefully by the time you finish reading this article, you will understand fully what I am trying to say.
Let's begin by taking a look at Kobe Bryant, the man who many consider to be the greatest player alive. That's hard to argue with, right?
Many people contended that Kobe needed to win a championship without Shaq to prove his greatness. Well, he didn't have Shaq at his side last year when he led a dynamic, skilled, and proven group of teammates to the title.
However, can you imagine what LeBron would have done with that same supporting cast? It's easy to see that without Kobe, the Lakers would likely remain competitive. On the flip side, the Cavs would easily be in the cellar of the league without LeBron on their team.
Yet just exchanging Kobe for LeBron does not end the discussion.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a long tradition of winning—they are home to some of the greatest players to ever set foot on a basketball court. Hell, former Laker great Jerry West is the official NBA logo. It doesn't get much deeper than that.
I point this out because Kobe could go the rest of his career without another championship and the history and tradition of Laker basketball would survive him.
One can argue that Michael Jordan and LeBron James are similar in this respect. Michael Jordan exemplifies the tradition and history of Chicago Bulls basketball. There will never be a greater player, and no one will replace Jordan as the "face of the franchise". When you think of the Chicago Bulls, you think of MJ and his six championship rings. Jordan is—and will forever be—the Bulls' franchise player.
But none of them were ever half the player that LeBron James is today—that's just a simple fact. It might be a tough pill for them to swallow, but it stands as the truth. Furthermore, those teams of the late '80s and early '90s that repeatedly made it to the playoffs never got as far as LeBron has in his first six years in the league.
Why is all of this important? I'm sure you are waiting to see how I tie it all together.
Los Angeles will always have Magic, Kareem, Kobe, West, and even Shaq. Chicago will always have Jordan. But, will Cleveland always have King James? That is the question that lingers in the consciousness of Cleveland sports fans.
Let's take it a step further. Los Angeles also has Sandy Koufax, Orel Hershiser, Kirk Gibson, Don Drysdale—even Wayne Gretzky. Chicago has Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, Dick Butkus, Andre Dawson, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo...and the list of legends goes on.
When you look through the history of Cleveland sports, who stands out? Let's all say it in unison—Jim Brown!! The first King James.
Sure, there's Bob Feller, Gaylord Perry, Nap Lajoie, Addie Joss, Ozzie Newsome, and other legends. However, the hope of all Cleveland sports teams has landed in one man's lap: LeBron James.
They call Cleveland the "mistake on the lake". Look at the Cleveland Indians last season. Look at the Cleveland Browns this season. You can't even talk about it without getting disgusted. Cleveland fans have become accustomed to losing. Cleveland fans are used to the "mistakes" that owners and general managers have made in attempting to put together—or tear apart—winning teams.
One thing is for sure: That giant mistake known as Cleveland, Ohio is in one man's hands. Is that one man arrogant? I don't care. Is that one man childish? Doesn't concern me. Will that one man go down in history as one of the greatest players to play the game? I couldn't care less.
I care about one thing: winning.
The last time we won a championship was 1964—45 years ago—before the Super Bowl was even created. The Cleveland Indians put up some great numbers in the late '90s, but never came away with a World Series title.
I should mention that many Cleveland fans, some of whom are my friends and family, do not believe that LeBron will leave Cleveland. Let me also quickly say that they are in denial. They too know what it will mean if LeBron packs his bags and heads to another franchise. Another city.
So, in that 6'8", 250 pound frame lives the future of Cleveland championship dreams. He is the last great hope. We see what Cleveland baseball and football franchises have done and are doing. It all rests squarely on LeBron's shoulders. This is what it is like to be King James.
Jay-Z thinks he runs NY. Whatever. King James IS, without a doubt, the face of all Cleveland franchises.
We could be looking at the finale. The last great attempt. This is King James' Mistake. Now he has to make that mistake right. Win or go home; or, as it is for Cleveland fans, win or go home...forever.