"“I feel confident because I’m the best player in the world. It’s that simple.” - LeBron James.
I mean he's not wrong. In fact he's very much correct. But that quote coming from that guy was sure to set off a Twitter firestorm.
LeBron James and the Cavaliers are one loss away from being in a familiar spot: watching their opponent celebrate with the Larry O'Brien Trophy. It would be the fourth time that LeBron has come up short in the Finals and second with his hometown Cavaliers. Sports fans pretty much everywhere would love it if the Warriors are able to finish off the job tomorrow night in Cleveland.
But why? Why does LeBron James, the (self-proclaimed) best player on the planet get so much hate?
LeBron does everything we want out of our superstars. He's lived up to the hype. He carries his team. He doesn't play selfish basketball. He stays out of trouble. His teammates love him. He's a family man who married his high school sweetheart. He advocates for the health of his colleagues and opponents. He carries weight with the new commissioner. He's brought our country gold medals...yet we can't stand the guy. Why????
The story of the 2015 NBA Finals hasn't been about the Warriors' imminent return to the top of the basketball world. It's been about LeBron and how exhausted he is, how he should be the Finals MVP despite perhaps losing the series, and how he's got next to nobody surrounding him. Perhaps we can blame the sports media, particularly ESPN, for focusing more on LeBron in what's close to ultimately being a losing effort. Perhaps we can blame LeBron himself with the quote I led off with being a prime example.
I'm in the camp that has more hate than love for LeBron, and I choose to blame LeBron himself for it. It's quotes like the one above that rub me the wrong way. Again, he's not wrong, so perhaps it shouldn't bother me, but it does. Athletes should be confident in themselves. But if you want to curry favor with the public, let everyone else crown you as the best in the world. We all know it, you don't have to rub it in.
The way he complains to officials irks me too. We all know that the NBA is a superstars' league where the inmates run the asylum, but LeBron would be a lot more likable if he stopped complaining so much. He may be the whiniest player in the league right now.
Also, LeBron's really got to stop with the overdramatics. The collapsing and being carried off the court (Click on that...Juwan Howard's face is priceless) is not helping his image.
Great players will always get hate, but LeBron gets more than everyone else. I haven't even mentioned The Decision, when his own fans turned against him, burning jerseys and shaming his name. Clevelanders will tell you they didn't hate him for leaving, it was more about the way he took his talents to South Beach.
If and when the Warriors finish off the Cavs, the sports world will rejoice. Not because Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are NBA Champs, but because The King, The Chosen One, LeBron James will go down.
LeBron is the best player in the world right now. He belongs in the best-of-all-time debate, whether you like it or not Bulls fans. He's got rings and probably will get more...but he's got a long way to go until he's universally loved.