First of all, Michael Jordan was and always will be my favorite player of all time. Even now, I probably can’t go more than a week or two without thinking about how I wish I could re-live watching him. I’ve always wanted a DVD (I guess that’s outdated now) set of every one of his college and professional games to come out; I would watch at least a game a day. To me, even if he is a pompous asshole, he can do no wrong. The guy could kill a million babies and I would simply say “but it’s MJ, it’s no big deal.”
Then along came Lebron James. He was the anointed one from the very get-go. I bought into the hype, justifiably so, and loved watching him play. I thought it was cool that he got to play for a team (which was mired in mediocrity, no less) that was a city in the state where he grew up. I couldn’t help but root for him to bring some sort of attention and glory to the state of Ohio, considering I literally don’t know a single thing they are known for.
But after Dan Gilbert failed to bring Lebron any sort of adequate support, year after year, Lebron inevitably and logically grew frustrated and took his talents to South Beach. When he made “The Decision” I was pissed! I was pissed for Ohio and Cleveland, and I was pissed that I didn’t go to Heat games (to watch him) while tickets would still be cheap since he played against them and the Heat weren’t that good. I wanted to see him get his titles for the Cavs because it made the hometown hero story that much better. But most of all, I was pissed at the way he handled departing from Cleveland. He could have forewarned Gilbert and the Cavs rather than embarrassing them in an hour long special which should have been titled “Look At Me, Pay Attention To Me.” I thought it was immature and the ultimate slap in the face to Cleveland and Ohio.
Looking back now, I’ve realized it was just an immature mistake, no more, no less. He could have certainly handled it better. His PR team, assuming he has one, probably realized this too. But it wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be in my head. He had a right to try to win a title and Gilbert certainly wasn’t doing anything to help bring him any closer.
Now that he’s been on this ridiculous tear, breaking records, kicking ass and taking names, I can’t help but marvel at what he’s doing. It’s nothing short of incredible, honestly. He’s doing things no one else did, and with ease. He’s truly like a man amongst boys. At this point in his career, I don’t think there’s much he can’t do, if anything. Well, he’s not the greatest free-throw shooter, but it hasn’t seemed to matter all that much anyway.
A player like Dwight Howard and the way he has been such a baby for the last 2+ seasons, holding the city and team of Orlando hostage and now causing a commotion in L.A. has taught me a lesson: what Lebron did wasn’t so bad. He didn’t screw Cleveland over, he just made a decision that was in his best interests. What Dwight did screwed Orlando over, and that city had already been abandoned by their previous number one overall pick and huge center, my main man, Shaq, landing on the same team too, go figure. Dwight didn’t give it his all, complained, and literally held the team hostage, making it impossible for them to really benefit from losing him other than by potentially getting better via the Ewing Theory.
Whereas up until he left, Lebron gave Cleveland everything he had, and it was almost enough, all by himself. “I’m not MJ, I’m LJ,” brought a smile to my face when he tweeted that the other day. His identity has finally come out, and he’s not a bad guy, he’s just having fun playing a game he’s ridiculously gifted at. So Lebron, it wasn’t your title, and it wasn’t your tackle of this guy (although I loved that because it does make it easier to endear to you), it was simply my new-found understanding that I overreacted to “The Decision.” And thus, Lebron, I don’t hate you anymore. In fact, I’m back to loving you, so keep doing what you do big man!