I don’t have a favorite NBA team. Haven’t for about 10 years now. My aunt(who got me into sports), was a fan of the Orlando Magic, led by point guard Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway & center Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq became my favorite player and through the years I would follow his career up until his final championship in 2006 with the Miami Heat.
The last team I would say I was a fan of? The Los Angeles Lakers in 2002. Since then, I’ve become an NBA observer, more fascinated with the journeys of individual players rather than teams.
This year brings an interesting dynamic to the NBA finals as the two current best players that the league has to offer battle it out for the crown of NBA champion
and best player in basketball.
Lebron James vs. Kevin Durant. The Miami Heat vs. The Oklahoma City Thunder.
The quiet, but deadly assassin versus the pompous, self-proclaimed “King” James.
Kevin Durant has been quietly building a reputation as the most dangerous scorer the NBA has to offer. His jump shot and overall basketball game has been referred to as beautiful while some fans consider Lebron’s game to be ugly and clunky, without any sort of finesse. The man who coined the expression “taking my talents to South Beach” is considered the villain in this NBA finals whereas Kevin Durant is looked at as a savior to some. The last hope of preventing Lebron from winning that elusive first championship.
So why am I rooting for Lebron James & the Miami Heat?
The answer is more complex than you may believe. To put it simply, I’m tired of the hate. There is a difference between dislike for a player and hatred. This is one of the most scrutinized athletes of all time. Lebron entered the league during a time when social media was taking off. Myspace. A few years later, Facebook. Followed by Twitter. Every single move that Lebron makes is documented and judged by the fans.
I used to be one of these haters. It took a Game 7 45-point outburst in a losing effort against the Boston Celtics before I realized I was a hater. If you asked me in 2009 why I hated Lebron I’d tell you one or more of these three things:
1. He’s a crybaby.
2. He’s overrated.
3. I just don’t like him.
Now tell me, which of these three reasons carry weight?
None of them.
For the same reasons I stopped hating Kobe Bryant, I stopped hating Lebron James. We’re privileged as NBA fans to watch one of the greatest NBA players of all-time as he continues his career and we as fans are content on criticizing him every step of the way.
So why do we hate Lebron James so much? Ask any fan and I’m sure they’ll say something similar to these reasons:
1. He quit on Cleveland.
2. He’s not clutch.
3. He’s a crybaby.
4. He had to join up with other great players in order to win.
5. He doesn’t live his life how we want him to.
According to , a “quitter” is a person who gives up easily. At one point in his career did he “give up easily?” Couldn’t have been in Cleveland. Lebron carried the city of Cleveland on his back for 7 long years. SEVEN YEARS. And the best help you got him was an over-the-hill Shaquille O’Neal and ANTWAN JAMISON?? Think about this, this man brought the Cavs to the finals with Mo Williams in a starring role. Mo Williams. Just keep repeating that to yourself. Cleveland fans should appreciate what Lebron brought to the city and not laugh as owner Dan Gilbert acts like a 14-year-old in a written letter.
He’s not clutch? Sure, he had a dramatic meltdown versus the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. Since everyone seems to use this Game 6 as the sole reason Lebron isn’t clutch, have we forgotten about the 2007 Eastern Conference finals?
Did this just never happen?
In a potential closeout game for the Boston Celtics during this year’s Eastern Conference finals, I guess Lebron didn’t completely dominate the game at Boston. I guess this just never happened.
He’s a crybaby? What NBA star do you know that doesn’t whine after every foul call? Is Lebron James really the only NBA player who flops?
Argument #4 is the worst. Let me ask the haters this, have you ever been to Miami? If I had a choice between Cleveland & South Beach, I’d have informed Dan Gilbert before the 2009-10 season ever ended that I’d be leaving. So what if he went and played with one great player and another pretty good player.
Did Michael not play with Scottie?
Kobe and Shaq never happened?
Magic, Kareem & Worthy was a dream?
Hakeem didn’t play with Clyde Drexler???
And don’t even get me started on the starting fives of the 80’s Pistons & Celtics.
If Lebron figured out that the best way to win that ring was to align himself with D Wade & Chris Bosh, then so be it. At the end of your career, all that really matters is if you won or not. I’d rather play 15 years for Miami and win two championships than 15 years for Cleveland and never win anything.
But you know why I think people hate Lebron deep down inside? People don’t like it when an athlete divulges from the norm. Lebron & Chris Bosh took destiny in their own hands and joined forces, doing something fans aren’t used to seeing. People don’t know how to handle themselves when a player makes a move for himself. Lebron’s press conference comments reminding fans that at the end of the day, they still have to wake up to their jobs while he wakes up to his own was one of the realest things an athlete has ever said. You get mad at athletes for being fake, but when they say some real shit, they’re out of line.
Let this man live. Stop getting caught up in the hyperbole that the media creates and form your own opinion. The haters have become so ridiculous that I’m switching sides and rooting for Lebron James to rise above the hate. I’m rooting for Lebron James to win his first championship over the likable Kevin Durant because I realize we may not see another complete player like him for years and it would be a shame for him to not win a ring.
And if you must hate on the guy, hate him for a valid reason. He raises millions for charity while taking less money for a better chance to win. Don’t hate him for controlling his own destiny.