LeBron James: Is Heat Star Too Unselfish for His Own Good?

Benny VargasAnalyst IJune 20, 2011

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Sports is the last great bastion for cliches.

You know it's where we expect people to still give 110 percent. Where you have to take it one game at a time.

It's where we want a "go to guy" to "put his game face on" then "step up" and "leave it all out on the court."

They have to have heart. They need to be clutch.

We want our athletes to play for titles and teams, not for money or image.

Ask that they carry their franchise to victory, while still being a team player and making others around them better.

Hogwash. All of it, pure and total hogwash.

All that matters in sports is who wins and who loses.

As the saying goes "history is written by the victors." To say anything less would be to fall into the same cliche-filled hyperbole and warm feeling "team first" rhetoric that has caused LeBron James and the Miami Heat to fail in their first quest for a title.

At the sake of his own legacy, James chose to be a team oriented player. A facilitator instead of a ball hog. A Magic Johnson instead of a Michael Jordan.

James also sacrificed money and his own image for the sake of being a part of a winning team.

The guy must have his head twisted up like a pretzel.

It seems no matter what James says or does, it is met with distaste and criticism. And so it goes for the boy in the bubble. He deals not only with on-court obstacles but with constant challenges in terms of public perception.

Now we come to the question, is LeBron James too unselfish for his own good?

He has taken less money, given millions to charities and cared as much about assists as dunks.

Still the answer is a definite no.


One could argue that his unselfishness may in essence be the most ego driven ploy of all.

To say James is humble would be a joke.

He does the right things off the court as far as staying out of trouble and that should be commended.

However, what people forget is that no one knows what it's like to be LeBron. Since he was 18, he has had over 100 million dollars. People have told him that he is a basketball god, "The Chosen One," since he was a teenager.

To think that his play is reflective of an altruistic inner nature would simply be false.

James trying to be the ultimate team player should not be applauded. Far more than his "Decision" to leave Cleveland or Heat introduction, his antics warrant criticism.

For the sake of cliches—his not "rising to the occasion" and "taking over" hints at a much deeper rooted emotion/action than unselfishness.

Whether that's fear, or something else, no one really knows. The one thing that is certain is that one could argue James' David Copperfield disappearing act in Games 4-6 may have hinted at the worst kind of selfishness. That of the ego driven quest for vanity and being vindictively sardonic.

Perhaps he felt he could still win, while not seeming as though he was acquiescing to some reporters post Game 3 remarks.

Whatever the case, James is far from unselfish, what he showed was weakness.

Face it, he's not a consistent perimeter shooter, but rather a streaky one. He doesn't really have a dominant back to the basket game. Thus when he's not running and gunning, he can be neutralized. That more than anything else is what people should be looking at.

Is James simply over-hyped?

Did he max out his talent and peak at 26?

Can he elevate and transform his game to truly be "unstoppable"?

Most importantly, can he forget about pleasing everyone and just develop proof he has the "killer instinct" and "heart" to become a champion?

We saw glimpses of it versus Chicago and Boston. James was all too willing to be selfish and take over then. Then one postgame conference question and he seemingly checked out.

James still has time on his side but he has more cliche-filled questions than ever to answer for.


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