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LeBron James: Long Road Ahead to Gain Respect


So “The King” finally got his ring.

The most scrutinized athlete in the last five years, the punch line of all jokes, and the center of all NBA debates can finally be called champion. But did he capture back the respect of the fans and the general public?

LeBron busted onto to the basketball world when he was a 16-year-old man-child from Akron, Ohio. Two years later he would be drafted by his hometown neighbor Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland can be considered a death valley of sports, not winning a championship in any sport in 46 years.

You all know the story, after seven years in Cleveland where he lead the lowly Cavs to a Conference Finals and a Finals appearance, he bolted for the Miami Heat when he had the chance to join buddies Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The new Big Three would be hated and ridiculed off the bat. With LeBron holding the infamous “Decision” on live television, the whole world got to see him leave his team for what then was Wade’s team. He could have done like every other free agent signing in the history of sports and announce through his agent or a press release, but no, the whole world had to stop and hold their breath to watch him announce where he will be playing basketball.

I know people crucify him for leaving Cleveland, but that is their opinion. Do I blame him for leaving them? No, not at all. Players leave the teams that draft them in quest to win championships all the time. The only difference is that they usually aren’t the best player in the world and impact their sport every single second.

To put it in perspective, Albert Pujols was the best baseball player on the planet and left his hometown team the year AFTER he won another championship for them. He did not got an ounce of criticism compared to what LeBron received. LeBron just demands that magnitude of attention.

But why does he demand that attention? Why does the whole world pick apart his every move like a hungry vulture that just saw dinner laying on the road? You want to

know why? Because LeBron made it that way.

He was an 18-year-old kid coming out of high school and was nicknamed “The King.” I mean that is awesome getting that kind of hype at such a young age, but that is where it all started. He should have said that’s great, but I’m no king yet, I haven’t proved anything. They never called Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson or any other of the greats “King,” but here comes an 18-year old who gets a cover on Sports Illustrated before he ever steps on an NBA court.

Fast forward seven years later, still ringless and putting the team on his back for all these years, LeBron can play wherever he wants. New York, Chicago, and LA all called, but he went to Miami. The night after he signs with now who overnight turned into the most hated team in the NBA, he is throwing a party. A huge celebration of uh…. wait…. signing a multi-million dollar contract!

They had fireworks as the confetti came from the sky with the banner around the stadium saying, “Yes, We did it!” You got him and Wade saying they were the best trio in BASKETBALL HISTORY and saying they were going to win not 1, not 2, not 3, not 7

Just the cockiness and ignorance in that showing alone made me loet respect for LeBron.

Fast-forward a year when he loses to the Dallas Mavericks in his second NBA Finals appearance, again showed the true colors of Lebron James. When Dirk was sick and playing like an absolute warrior, LeBron had the ignorance to make fun of him being sick. Good one King, that one worked out well right? Dirk was laughing too when he won a ring on your home court then partied in your own city.

Oh, did everyone forget also when he lost and said: “All the people who are rooting for me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today, they got the same personal problems they had, today. You know, and I’m gonna continue to live the way I want to live, and continue to do the things I wannna do with me and my family …they gotta get back to the real world at some point.”

That just reeks of cockiness and basically telling everyone go back to your $15 a day job while I count my money in Miami. But he is so humble now that he won a championship. He is now one of the greatest players ever. He is now the poster of the NBA.

Everyone lives in the NOW. No one remembers what anyone says in the past. People need to sit down and relax before crowning him the best player ever; he still needs to be respected.