LeBron James: Vanity King

LeBron James "The Decision" was a gluttony of self-indulgence.

A favorite pastime of mine about a year and a half ago was taunting Cleveland fans about how LeBron James was on his way to New York once free agency hit. I had a little facebook status update every so often, put up pictures of LeBron photo shopped in Knicks gear, and put various LeBron to New York things on my page. It was fun watching every Cavs fan curse me out, look on in horror or reply back in a glorious war of animated words.

Thing is I knew LeBron was always going to leave. As much as Cleveland fans tried to pray that notion away or think positively that his love for his hometown of Akron would keep him here it just wasn’t going to happen. LeBron outgrew Cleveland. His name and ego became so large that the small, yet noteworthy city couldn’t hold it anymore. LeBron has always talked about what makes him happy, what he needs to do for himself, what’s the best situation for him… you noticed how in this entire paragraph I didn’t utter a thing about basketball and James in the same sentence. That’s because in the last two weeks I found out just what basketball means to LeBron and vice versa.

LeBron James is the first of his kind in sports in more ways than one; he can play all five positions on the floor if he wants, can score at will and be entertaining as all hell. Yet the side I speak of is his media persona. LeBron doesn’t care about money or titles, he cares about himself. He turned down a massive contract in Cleveland and a championship in Chicago to be Dwyane Wade’s second banana in Miami. Why? Not for reasons on the court, but because LeBron wants the world yet doesn’t want to get his fingers dirty.

LeBron couldn’t handle the pressure that Cleveland put on him; LeBron can’t be a savior because he doesn’t want to be. He is no king nor is he a prince. He is a Duke, Lord or some subdivision of a monarchy that wants all of the perks of greatness without the hassle. (This makes Miami the perfect destination for him. he doesn’t have to take the last shot, or carry a team. Its D-Wade’s team. All LeBron has to do is dunk whenever he wants, look good and let Chris Bosh and Wade handle the rest. For a guy that shies away from pressure it a dream.)

Think about this entire free agency process involving LeBron; teams flew to HIM, sent HIM packages, and sent stars to HIS home to recruit HIM. LeBron never had to leave his house for anything. He woke up, got his mail in his robe and waited for everyone to come to him. Then as other free agents signed around him he decided to take it a step further, he wanted ESPN to hold a one hour special on his decision of what team he wants to play for and put it on primetime TV. It was called “The Decision”; it should’ve been called vanity at its best. So yesterday we were treated to a five hour pregame of LeBron clips, interviews and everyone’s opinion of where he should go and people begging him to come or stay in their city while ESPN set up a gym in Connecticut with 60 kids and a nicely placed Vitamin Water cooler as a backdrop for the LeBronathon. Somewhere LeBron was sitting down with popcorn enjoying every moment.

LeBron ripped his fans hearts out, they're a little mad about it.

The whole thing was disgusting. It fed his ego even more. The guy just ripped the heart out of a city on national TV; he played NY, Jersey, Chicago and LA for fools. Why? Because he feels he can do whatever he wants because he’s LeBron James. No one else matters. Wade and Bosh signed with little fanfare, James turned his decision into a spectacle.

Understand this about LeBron. HE’S NEVER WON A TITLE! A guy with no rings commanding this much attention is ludicrous. If I were Kobe Bryant I would want to punch this guy in the face. LeBron has no heart. The guy buckles under pressure. Remember game five this past year? He came out flat and played with no care. No defense, no drive, nothing. LeBron has done so much damage to himself in the last four months that the man that was once lauded for being a playful, fun, team oriented guy is now Bernie Madoff a cold hearted evil man.

Cleveland fans have every right to be mad at him and burn his jersey in the streets; he toyed with their emotions and spewed it back at them. Dan Gilbert had every right to be mad at LeBron and throw darts at him I that scathing letter. LeBron’s dog and pony show cost Gilbert millions of dollars and has diminished the worth of his franchise. I’m surprised he didn’t let loose with more ammo than what he had on LeBron.

The part that everyone is losing in this whole saga is the actual basketball. The Miami Heat have become the most hyped team in the league. They have three of its best players playing together on a nightly basis, but what else do they have? No point guard, no center, no bench, nothing. It’s a three man show with no real help. Everyone jumping on the Miami bandwagon needs to wake up and understand a few things at work:

  • Miami still isn’t as good as Orlando, Boston, Los Angeles or Oklahoma City. Those teams have played together for long periods of time; have great chemistry, coaching and rosters good enough to put them within striking distance of a ring. Miami doesn’t.
  • Erik Spolestra is the coach, for now. Ask Stan Van Gundy how this will play out. Spolestra is in his third year as a head coach and gets handed three large egos and has to find a way to use them wisely. This won’t end well.
  • The Bosh-Wade-James trio has the following stats: 15 all-star appearances, 15 playoff series wins (one by Bosh) 2 MVP’s, a finals MVP and one ring (Wade’s thanks to Shaq). What have these men by themselves that is worthy of all of this hype. Bosh might be the worst offender of all of them. Bosh has won one playoff series and is less significant than the other two on and off the court. He even cut the braids off so now Predators can’t do a cross promotion for their film. This “Big Three” done nothing to receive such a moniker made for the guys in Boston, L.A. or even Detroit with Sheed, Chauncey and Rip. They look great on paper, but what will it translate to?

Fact is I’m not sold on this new faction until they get help in other areas. They’re a really good all-star team at the moment, but ask the Yankees of the 2000’s how money built all-star teams did when it came to winning titles.

Another fact is that LeBron’s legacy will never be the same. I always used to wonder why he never had that Jordan in him, the stuff that Kobe, Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony have in them. That will to want to take matters into your own hands and win. We now see why.

LeBron is no king, chosen one or any of those monikers we have showered upon him. What he is, is kin of the media. A man that feeds off of attention. He doesn’t want championships, he wants camera time. He doesn’t want to be the greatest basketball player ever; he wants to be the biggest name ever. It’s not about respect for others or their feelings or their daily routine, it’s about him. That team first attitude? A façade. That playful nature? Good for TV, makes him look better for the sponsors. It’s all in LeBron’s plan to make himself look larger than life. We fell for it, adored it, then last night we felt it thrown back in our face.

We saw the real LeBron James on ESPN in front of Jim Gray. He wasn’t sincere, he was robotic. He said his decision was hard, it wasn’t he knew his plans all along and this fit right into it. We were all witnesses to LeBron’s coming out party last night. This is who he is, cold, calculated and dishonest, and Cleveland is better off without him. So are the Knicks, I wouldn’t want him anywhere near Madison Square Garden.


About brooklynbuckeye

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