This is what the Heat thought would burn through this season with title in hand, but the Mavs slowed them down and made them
Despite media criticisms to the contrary, there have been players as scrutinized as Lebron James. As the media grows, the relative scrutiny must be taken into account, but Lebron is under no microscope that no striving-to-be-great player hasn't been under. And just like all of those guys, this is now time for a calm until Lebron gives us something else to criticize.
(disclaimer: If Lebron were under a greater microscope it would be no fault but his own. The typical talk is there, but his incessant speaking does not not help him. As someone whose trying to manage a brand, that's kinda what comes with the territory as you promote your image and that image takes hit in the public eye)
So I am here to say that anyone who rooted against the Heat or for the Mavs won on Sunday night. However, this victory may be brief as the impending lockout situation looks to make us all out to be losers. With Victory in our hands, we get to say we were right. We must be realists, though. We must look at the Heat as what they are and what they could become.
We have to?
With all of this spoken about the victories of the "haters," Mavs fans, and basketball fans from that close Finals, I must say we're just piling it on just as badly as the Heat piled it upon themselves. The discourse of the post-finals media has made everyone who wants to clown the Heat into Skip Bayless-lite as they pile it on. I was posting a back and forth between Jevon O and myself where I said Lebron disappeared, but once I was done making my case I realized something, I'm done.
I'm done with the apologists of rude remarks, statements or over arrogant behavior (we get it people have a right to do what they want). I'm done with the haters who never let anything Lebron does go unnoticed, fully admitting that I was once among them. This is also where I am as far as Kobe debates as well, unless someone is just blatantly lying out of their ass. Nothing these players do in today's media will ever be enough. Even Jordan's ghosts are catching up to him with time with the constant stories coming out of his comments, actions, and hobbies. People who once saw Jordan as a saint have even started having to defend some parts of his legacy off the court because that's how intense scrutiny is on all of these guys, old and new. They all have haters. They all have detractors. They all have someone constantly trying to shoot down any myth that their any better than anyone else.
And then they come out stunting on all of them cuz they're the People's Choice
And that's what bring us back to Lebron James. I honestly just don't get this guy. He says he doesn't care about the negative stuff said about him at the same time that he's tweeting about making lists of detractors. He forgets one thing, by and large every players in the NBA has detractors because of their profession, their ethnicity, and/or their wealth. This is where we all get it all wrong. Lebron is not the most arrogant player in the NBA, he's just the one who puts it on display the most. This is a good and bad thing. From a marketing standpoint it's great because Lebron is GREAT at basketball, even with footwork and dribbling deficiencies, and he attracts a lot of attention to his brand, not the disclaimer above. This is also terrible for Lebron because one of the things that comes with acts of arrogance is you attract a LOT of people who dislike you for daring to put out the perception that you are better than them. This is where a LOT of wealthy people fail. This is where people like Lebron and Steve Jobs fail because they attempt to show us how great they are, while at the same time failing to prove to us how great they are. (yay Apple iMessages, boo it's a rip-off of BBM). The only way to silence these critics is to do something that actually PROVES how great you are. Steve Jobs has his moments of great moments already marked in computer history through Apple, while Lebron AND Wade (for you Jevon) continue to just moan and whine and whine about how no one gives them any credit and want to see them fail. Newsflash guys, you play a sport on one team out of 30, people aren't going to like you if you're not on their team. People surely aren't going to like you if you declare that you aren't going to just beat their teams but dominate them to the tune of 7 championships. This is what we call fandom, it's only a step away from fanaticism and some don't even know the edge.
Despite all of this complaining and talk of playing the villain and proving folks wrong, Lebron James failed to provide us with a signature moment to tell us he was going to come through with what he said. When faced with addressing these same detractors this year and a "better" team with which he could prove them wrong, Lebron scored 8 points in a game in the FINALS. And that gave every hater in the world the ammunition they would need to take him down. (Almost the equivalent of Apple saying they have something big and announcing the MobileMe or the Mac Mini, just #collosalfail after building up such anticipation).
You see Lebron has this problem of speaking
out of his ass without thinking. When he makes statements like this:
"At the end of the day, all of the people that were rooting for me to fail, tomorrow they'll have to wake up and have the same life that [they had] before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems they had today and I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things I want to do."
you can't help but think to yourself, he can't possibly mean that in it's most literal sense. In it's most literal sense you could take it as he explained today that we, him and us, both live in the real world and they both have to wake up tomorrow morning to face their individual problems and he'll have to face his. Then that's when the hater in me has to just be like, you can't get away with statements like that unless you're writing them down on paper and laying them on a track to the beat. Even then because you're Lebron James and you speak about yourself in the third person, these things aren't just going to slide. THINK before you speak bruh (brah? bro? brosef? brodysseus? brosius?). You're trying to promote a brand, not isolate it among diehards (#AppleFail). And a part of me agrees with Lebron. Folks have been extremely hard on this guy; to the point where I, who am a proclaimed hater of all things good just for the sake of being a hater, had to step back and say well shit, can a brother catch a break.
This phrasing of his pushed me though. I don't like generalizations of any sort because generalizations are the seeds of stereotypes and stereotypes are the backdrop for prejudice. Even small prejudices, like someone who doesn't like Leborn is irrational, is potentially a danger because of the extrapolations these have. Pointing out individuals for their faults is a lot better than generically talking of faceless people who can be easily assigned a face based off of one description. This is the world we live in, where a comment meant for only the extremists has to be worded so carefully if you're in the public eye.
Just keep on skipping Lebron
Something amazing happened today. I was done. I found an understanding. Especially after this video, there's nothing else to be said about this. Honestly, if people are still worried about Lebron's performance in the Finals in a week, then these are the people Lebron is addressing. After a SEASON of talking about Lebron. After a PLAYOFFS talking about Lebron. After 2 days of constant back and forth talk of Lebron this, Lebron that, aren't you just TIRED of talking about Lebron. For all the arrogance and all of the preening and the Decision, this Finals is his comeuppance. Think of how much this ruins the narrative of Lebron's career as most would want theirs if the Heat going forward do not win a title. Think of how DIFFERENT the narrative is even if they win 2+. He doesn't get some special narrative of doing it on his own terms. The Heat don't get that glory of coming out of the gates on fire. This doesn't completely diminish any future accomplishments, but it's already had a huge effect on these guys. If Lebron comes back next year with a post game and better footwork he will have improved as a player and that's exactly what we want from our superstars in this league, right?
With all that said, I want to specifically talk to Cavs fans for a second because I think something I read on Cavs: The Blog that I very much agree with on how to currently view Lebron:
the Finals weren’t a referendum on the LeBron that made "The Decision" and left Cleveland in a silly and tone-deaf fashion. They were a referendum on the best player in the history of the franchise, the one who brought Cleveland so much joy for his seven years with the team.
He goes on further to state that:
When I’ve talked to Scott Raab or a lot of other people about LeBron, they don’t just talk about the fiasco of a television show; they talk about how LeBron did nothing as the Cavs got blown out in Game 5, and seemed content to accept their fate at the bitter end of Game 6. Those performances were used as evidence that LeBron already had one foot out the door on the Cavs, and couldn’t wait to bolt to Miami with Wade and Bosh. Well, he did the same thing in the fourth quarter of Game 2 and all of Game 4. It wasn’t a Cleveland thing, it was a "LeBron doesn’t really know what to do when the game/series isn’t going his way" thing. And the Heat simply broke at the end of Game 6 against the Mavericks the way the Cavs did against the Celtics — you could see it in their body language after one last offensive rebound for Dallas.
And he goes on to draw a comparison for his hatred towards another player who left Cleveland:
When I see Carlos Boozer fail in the playoffs, I feel a sense of happiness. It’s not a happiness that comes from a quest for revenge, or a personal ill-will towards him. It’s a happiness that comes from relief. When I see Boozer fail, I feel relieved that the Cavs weren’t doomed by Boozer’s fiasco of a departure from Cleveland. I imagine the happiness at LeBron failing in the Finals comes from that same place of relief. The LeBron that showed up against Dallas would not have won the Cavs a championship — in fact, he probably would have caused them to leave the playoffs earlier after Boston or Chicago made him struggle and put the team in any sort of position where they had to fight for their lives.
So to reflect my personal feelings. I get it. I really do. This entire piece is extremely painful for me to even write I hate this guy's attitude so much. As someone who has been as big a critic of Lebron on AND off the court this is hard for me to write. As someone who is prolonging the inevitable typing of a phrase I never thought I'd utter in my more immature days this is hard. As someone who spends time meticulously comparing data to show statistical biases for Lebron and against others this is hard. Cavs fans who frequent this blog and Laker fans who sympathize with them, myself included of course, I think we can all move on.
I know he approached you with 90s swag, but that doesn't mean it was gonna end up great
You see Lebron's performance in my eyes was always what led to the Decision special being a terrible idea. Lebron's 2 year parade of talking about free agency made me believe he already knew what was coming, and a part of me still thinks he had an idea. How do you talk about yourself as the best player and MVP, talk up your own free agency, pull up a complete dud in the playoffs, AND decide the best way to break it to the fans you promised a championship was through a one hour television special. It's just a terrible idea, unless you're coming back to Cleveland because everyone saw you in the playoffs just 2 months ago. 2 months. Playing like absolute and utter garbage. Playing like a 10th man role player passing through the offense afraid to do anything. I saw the changed number, I saw that, then I saw the Decision, and then I saw the parade. It's just not a good look and whoever his people are, they are the worst marketers ever. Lebron should be untouchable in the media, but they are just awful and he is good enough to make them look like geniuses.
How does a guy who puts himself out there like this just not equate with humility and laughter
Fast forward a year later. Cavs beat the Heat. Cavs don't finish with the worst record in the league despite proclamations of such things. Even despite injuries to the second and third best players on the team in Mo and Varejao. Despite the initial start of a rebuilding process in the trade for Baron and the pick, the Cavs still showed that they are a dangerous team when they have an actual weapon they can depend on. The Heat on the other hand struggled out of the gate. Faced scrutiny at every level. They had their highlights, but I don't think I've ever laughed at the expense of another team as much as the Heat. People openly MOCKED them. And you could hear it in their quotes how they felt about that. And for them to face this comeuppance. For them to get so close and come up short, is actually a blessing because had they lost in earlier rounds to the two teams people thought they should lose to (Boston/Chicago) we would be getting excuse after excuse. Losing in the Finals is the ultimate comeuppance for them as a reaction to everything that led to this team's assembly.
This isn't to say Lebron isn't an asshat. This isn't to say Lebron isn't a douchecanoe. The isn't to say that this Brah (bruh? bro? brosilicus? brophilon?) isn't a complete and utter tool most of the time we hear from him. This is to say that Lebron has finished the narrative of the scorned fans redemption. This is to say that if Lebron quit on the Cavs, Lebron just quit on the Heat. This is to say that Lebron is indeed what you thought he was for at least one year, a choker. This is to say to Cavs fans and other anti-Lebron folks we got what we wanted. This is to say that the parade to start the season only has one counter, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7. And with that counter for at least one summer we can all move on*.
We should treat this story like women treat guys who stare at them like this
And move on we can. Shmoes has a great piece up on the PGs that could come late in the draft for us that we could think about. You can debate on what exactly clutch is here. The death of Robert Horry's daughter should really add perspective on why so much hate for one person in this world isn't needed as much as kindness for others less fortunate. Please go here and donate to the cause. SSR has begun postseason grading of each player. You can read the latest ones about Minerals, Yessir, and MVP2016. Let the offseason begin and lets bring the focus back to our respective teams. In the words of J.E. Skeets, lets have a good offseason people.
*Should the Heat come back next year in similar fashion and end in the same result, that is a bonus and also yet another statement about the fact that you didn't want this guy on your Cavs team because you wouldn't have won with him playing like that anyway.
Feel free to flame, troll, refute, or just agree about my logic. Also feel free to use this as a Lebron frustration thread instead of filling up the side with fanposts all on the subject of Lebron's failure