By Chris Lehman
In Response to Rick Reilly’s article, LeBron being LeBron :
– Bold quotations in my article are direct quotes from Reilly’s article
I will start by giving credit to Reilly for a very well written article on ESPN. While he raises some valid points, he missed on his main argument.
He recalls a story about a man who runs into a burning building to save a woman’s baby. After a few minutes he comes running out of the building with the baby and gives it back to the mother. She then looks at him and says, “He had a hat.”
The whole point of this story was to explain to us, the LeBron critics, that we are too hard on him and that when he does one thing well, we ask why he didn’t do more.
“Anything short of an NBA title makes James a useless wad of pre-chewed pork gristle in your eyes. Whatever he does — three MVPs in nine seasons — it’s never enough.”
No. Nobody is trying to take anything away from LeBron James. We see the three MVPs and recognize James for what he is – one of, if not THE best player in the NBA. We see him for more than pork gristle, but more along the lines of a nice cut of filet mignon. Although, if you want something truly special, try wrapping bacon around it – which is what I’m not ready to do for James yet. Perhaps an NBA title would make me reconsider. But as for now, I’m sticking to what I’ve said – LeBron will be the best player to never win a ring.
“You hate him — still! — for the way he botched the announcement of his free-agent move from Cleveland to Miami.
Forget that hundreds of people move from Cleveland to Miami every year.”
Hatred is a poor word choice. Disrespect is much more fitting. As annoying as it was, I’ve gotten over the fact that it took a two hour special for him to tell the world where he was going to play basketball in the 2010-2011 season. It doesn’t bother me that he left Cleveland. His contract was up and he had every right to play for another team. His mistake was breaking a promise and turning his back on the city of Cleveland.
“I got a goal, and it’s a huge goal, and that’s to bring an NBA championship here to Cleveland…And I won’t stop until I get it.”
Well he didn’t get it, and now he’s stopped. Just like that he walked away from everything he helped build and didn’t even look back to watch the city crumble behind him.
Deeper in the article are all the reasons why we should like James as a person. He’s nice, he talks to the media and he’s never been in trouble with the police.
Once again, never has anyone looked at these things and said, man I hate this guy because he’s nice. Or, I hate this guy because he jokes around with Craig Sager at halftime. Nobody is telling him that he needs to be a jerk, as you say. If these little things, along with James’ play were all we had to go off of, he would be the most loved and idolized athlete in sports. He would still receive some criticism for his lack of a ring, but it certainly wouldn’t be as harsh. Skip Bayless would absolutely talk about Tim Tebow more and bash James less.
“You despise him because he passes too much. Imagine that. You hate a modern NBA player for not being selfish…
You people seem to want him to take it every single time, even with Dwyane Wade as a teammate. And Chris Bosh. But it’s The Big Three, isn’t it? Not The Big One.”
He has never been criticized for his passing. As great of a scorer as he is, when he wants to be, he is a phenomenal playmaker and distributor. Reilly says James’ passes are “as soft and buttery as croissants.” I was leaning towards crisp and clean like a freshly mowed lawn, but either description works.
I will say that the media wrongfully blames him for a lot of things. The main one being when he makes the correct play and passes the ball to an open teammate. In the game 3 loss against the Celtics he was triple teamed so he threw a pass to Haslem for the last shot. Unfortunately for James, the pass got tipped and Haslem was forced into a bad shot. Had the pass gotten there cleanly, Haslem probably would have made it and James would have been praised for the pass.
There are still times, however, when James will take ill-advised shots in the fourth quarter and then pass up a good one that could potentially win the game. It has never been said that it’s bad to look for others to make plays. But what made Jordan and Bryant great is that they ALWAYS wanted to make the difference. They ALWAYS wanted the ball for the last shot. They never backed down and were never scared of the moment.
“Wade missed an open jumper to lose Game 4 in overtime — how come he’s not ‘scared’?”
Because he’s made that shot. Wade is known for his ability to close out a game. Remember the steal against the Bulls where he came up behind Derrick Rose and ran down and banked the three for the win. Or what about the four-game winning streak against the Mavericks in the NBA Finals where he stepped up when his team needed it the most.
Dwyane Wade wanted the ball for that shot and it was very close. He lives for that moment. Scared is not in Wade’s vocabulary.
I’ll speak for myself when I say that I have mad respect for LeBron James’ game. When he gets going, he’s just about unstoppable. On the court, he is truly something special and no one is doubting his ability or his achievements.
His arrogance, however, is where he doesn’t make any friends. His other decision to get “Chosen 1” tatted on his back. He crowned himself King James before he had done anything worthy of being called a king. This is why there is a significant level of disrespect.
We’re not criticizing him for what he’s done. Instead we are disappointed by what he said he would be and that he hasn’t become that.
In this case, the mother wasn’t upset that the man brought back the baby without the hat. She was mad because he promised he’d save the baby, but only came back with the hat.