Monday, June 1, 2009

LeBron James: Sore Loser, Or Just a Loser?

(Don't try shaking this guy's hand.)
Just two years ago, when the Cav's made it to the Finals, there weren't many complaints about James' supporting cast.
You'd have to be quite the jerk to complain about a team that just reached the championship game, right?
Yes. That's why everyone, LeBron included, waited until after the Spurs swept them to rise the issue.
The same thing happened again last season, after James "carried' his "complimentary players" (as he so colorfully says), but then was left for dead by them as the Celtics destroyed Cleveland in game seven of the Eastern Finals.
And this year? Much of the same.
All season long fans and analysts were like giddy fifth graders of James and his teammates, as they displayed for the world their confidence (cockiness), creativity (classlessness), and showmanship (ego).
Yes, like it or not, we're right back where we were when James came into the league.
We're back to "James means everything, and the team means nothing." As a matter of fact, we're very close to the point where James is number one, and the NBA as a whole is number two.
Even more interesting is the minimal uproar over James not shaking hands after Orlando dropped his team out of the playoffs.
His retort the next day? He doesn't like losing, and he only left the court immediately because he is a competitor.
Right. Is that why he spoke with Tim Duncan after getting swept in the Finals? I believe I saw a handshake or two that year.
The point is, James has been, is, and unfortunately will continue to get the benefit of the doubt.
If his team wins, he's the boss. If they lose, he's just the messenger, or simply a superstar with no support.
If he's a sore loser, he's actually just a heart-wrenched competitor that hates to lose.
And if he leaves Cleveland, he'll just be the near-defeated young superstar that wanted to win a championship.
But I refuse to believe it-any of it.
James is a walking cliche. He gets any and every call he wants. He talks himself up, and quite surprisingly, no one else notices.
He glares into the camera as if he wants to kill people, and he shouts at teammates, as if scolding them.
He's not a leader. He's just a big guy running around with a ton of talent, and no real clue how to unleash it.
Let's go over this again. LeBron James is 24, has been in the league for six years, and has zero rings.
He has one NBA Finals appearance, and he couldn't even win one game.
For all the great things about his skills and talent, there are enough things to bring all of his fans back down to earth.
And when he's questioned after bad games, all we hear is how "I just missed shots I make. I missed easy shots."
When asked if Orlando's defense gave him any fits, he replied with comments, saying he was simply off, and that when he's on, he can't be stopped.
Okay. So, when then, Mr. James, do you take ownership for your missed shots, your turnovers, missed free throws, or bad passes?
When, Mr. Superstar, do you own up for any of your mistakes?
James, as good as he is, isn't a winner. At least not when it's mattered.
But the worst part, my friends, is that very little of the NBA fan-base actually cares.

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