Oh, Lebron. Lebron, Lebron, Lebron.
Has anyone ever fallen so far, so fast in the eyes of the public? For so long, you were the chosen one, the golden child, the anti-Kobe. We all loved you, except for Skip Bayless, but he’s a huge douche anyway. Yet, now, most view you with disdain.
It seems pretty obvious how it all happened. Yet, that hasn’t stopped people from making all sorts of absurd claims as to why the average basketball fan has done such an about face in response to you.
But Lebron, at the end of the day, the reason everyone turned on you so quickly is because you acted like a big asshole. There are no two ways about it.
It’s not racism, if you were white the tide would have turned just as quickly. It’s not taking money to sign in a big city, that sort of animosity only comes when someone signs with the Yankees. It’s not that you are favored to win, most of us still loved Jordan in spite of ourselves, even though we knew his Bulls were going to win year, after year, after year.
No, Lebron, the reason we want to see you lose now, or, to be more specific, the reason I want to see you lose now is because of the way you went about all the things you did, and the fact that in hindsight you are unwilling to truly apologize. Sure, you’ve said you would do things differently if you could do it again, or as you said in your commercial, you’ve made mistakes. So what? That’s just stating the blatantly obvious.
Don’t just tell us you would do things differently in regards to your ESPN Asshole Hour, where you basically threw it in the face of the people who have screamed themselves hoarse for you over the last few years. Tell us exactly what you would do differently. Tell us that you understand, that you realize what you meant to the fans, and how much that must have hurt when you didn’t just leave them for another woman, but broke the news by broadcasting an engagement party on national television.
Don’t just tell us you made mistakes. Being vague and unapologetic just makes you more of a Roger Clemens, not less of one. Tell us what mistakes you’ve made, say you’re sorry, then hope everyone moves on with their lives.
I know, that’s too much to ask, so let’s just pretend I never asked you for it. Instead, how about this, just shut the fuck up and play basketball. This new commercial really chaps my ass every time it comes on television. Granted, it’s really well made, and shows just how great the folks who do advertising for Nike are. But you, my friend, have got to be kidding me!
All this new ad does is insinuate that everyone in Cleveland is being unreasonable for being angry. “C’mon guys, lighten up. Do you want me to be the bad guy all the time now? Do you want me to act sad? What do you want me to do?” ME, ME, ME, ME.
Well, Lebron, what if we ask the question back to you? What should the fans of Cleveland do? Should they get punched in the mouth, spit out the excess blood, smile adoringly at you, and say, “Thank you, King James, can I have another?”
You want it both ways. You want to be able to have all eyes on you, but you don’t want to be held responsible for your actions. It doesn’t work that way.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hold it against you for leaving Cleveland. I get that in real life, and outside a sports fan’s fantasies, the negotiating a player does is not between a player and the fans, it’s between a player and an organization. Fans are the unfortunate collateral damage whose hard earned money makes the whole thing possible. Johnny Damon wasn’t trying to flip off Red Sox fans when he left for New York, he was disrespected by the Sox front office and took his talents to the Bronx. The same can be said of Joe Torre in his departure for LA.
Sure, you weren’t ever disrespected by Cleveland, but I’d like to meet the fan, from Cleveland or otherwise, who would turn down the prospect of being paid loads of money to move to Miami and win championships with his best friends. You made a good choice, so own up to it, and either apologize, or at the very least simply acknowledge that the fans have the right to be upset with you, shut the fuck up, and play basketball.
And, whatever you do, for the love of all that is holy, stop playing the martyr in Nike commercials, like you didn’t bring down all the ill will on yourself. If you don’t want to accept your role as the villain, then do charity work in Cleveland, and invest heavily in causes there, and by all means, shut the fuck up and play basketball.
In summation, in answer to your self-obsessed question, I want you, Lebron James, to shut the fuck up and play basketball. Amen.