Friday, November 13, 2009

Stop Feeding the LeBron Monster

I grew up rooting for the New York Knicks, so you would think I’d be excited that NBA All-Star LeBron James could join the team next year as a free agent.

Well, I hope he doesn’t.

I’ve had it up to here (put your hand at neck level) with LeBron coverage and hyperbole, and a New York platform for this player would only make him more insufferable.

So arrogant is LeBron that he failed to congratulate the Orlando Magic after they outplayed his Cleveland Cavaliers in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, and then he failed to talk to the media after the final game.

Sports don’t build character, sports reveal character.

LeBron’s arrogance on a big stage last summer revealed a lack of character.

An earlier episode revealed his ignorance and apathy.

When then-teammate Ira Newble circulated a petition in the Cavaliers’ clubhouse condemning the genocide to which Africans are subjected in Darfur, LeBron refused to sign it.

LeBron told reporters he didn’t know enough about the issue to add his voice to the global outcry.

How about putting down your iPod long enough to read up on the subject, LeBron?

When Newble offered to share such reading material, LeBron couldn’t be bothered.

LeBron had time to strike a “King Kong” pose while clutching supermodel Gisele Bundchen (now Mrs. Tom Brady) on the April 2008 cover of Vogue.

But, apparently, he still does not have time to educate himself about the atrocities in Darfur—or anything else more important than basketball.

Now, LeBron says he wants to circulate his own petition. He wants every NBA player wearing No. 23 to give it up in tribute to Michael Jordan.

“If I’m not going to wear No. 23 [next season], then nobody else should be able to wear it,” LeBron told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Talk about being full of yourself.

I’m surprised he didn’t say it in his usual third-person style:

“If LeBron James isn’t gonna wear No. 23, then LeBron don’t want nobody else wearing it either.”

It’s laughable that he believes he can tell all other NBA players wearing No. 23 what they should do.

Kudos to any NBA player who tells LeBron to mind his own business.

Here’s what LeBron says about Jordan, the Chicago Bulls legend:

“I just think what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized in some way—soon. There would be no LeBron James [there he goes in third person again], no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade, you name all the best players in the league right now and in the last 10 years. There would be none of us without Michael Jordan.”

So only the last 10 years of NBA history matter to LeBron?

Why, because that’s all he knows?

Darfur is not the only subject about which LeBron needs to be educated.

One could make a powerful argument that there would have been no Michael Jordan if not for Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Connie Hawkins, David Thompson or any other player who defied gravity in the years before Jordan got cut from his 8th-grade team.

One could also argue forcefully that the number LeBron wants to wear next season—6—is the number that should be retired league-wide.

LeBron may not know this, or care, but Bill Russell wore No. 6.

Russell, now 75, was the NBA’s first African-American superstar with the Boston Celtics, with whom he won 11 league championships in 13 seasons.

Russell won two NCAA championships at the University of San Francisco and an Olympic gold medal in 1956.

Russell also was the first African-American coach in NBA history.

As a player-coach, Russell led the Celtics to NBA titles in 1966, ’68 and ’69.

There has been no greater champion in basketball history than Bill Russell.

But LeBron wants to wear No. 6 next season because:

· it was his number on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team;

· he wears No. 6 sometimes in practice; and

· Erving wore No. 6 as a Philadelphia 76er.

LeBron is a case study in arrogance, and no student of basketball history.

No wonder he identifies so strongly with Jordan, a man whose endorsement could have sent a black man named Harvey Gantt to the U.S. Senate representing North Carolina instead of arch-racist Jesse Helms.

But Jordan did not endorse Gantt, and Gantt lost, because Jordan thought it would hurt his status as a commercial pitchman.

“Republicans wear Nikes too,” Jordan said.

LeBron is truly Jordan’s heir—philosophically, apathetically and arrogantly.

I hope he stays in Cleveland.

No comments:

Post a Comment