“Lebron James.. World Champion, finals MVP, 3 Time NBA MVP….Say something now haters”
I’ve been reading a lot of Facebook status’ like the one above for the last fifteen hours or so. What these Lebron James disciples do not understand is my
hatred (too strong of a word) displeasure for Lebron does not come from his lack of skill, accomplishment or championship pedigree. He’s the best player in the league, no contest. He already has the same amount of MVPs as Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. His Championship run was inevitable to anyone that was watching. So, why do I hate Lebron?
Is it this? Nah.
Was it this? Not really.
How about this? Nope.
It was this.
In 2007, with Lebron’s impending free agency looming (still three years away, but still very much anticipated), the New York Yankees played the Cleveland Indians in the 2007 playoffs. Lebron, the face of Cleveland sports at the time, showed up to Progressive Field donning the interlocking NY. ESPN’s talking heads exploded, exclaiming this was Lebron telling the world, in three years, he was headed for the bright lights of New York City. It wasn’t without context, leading up to this, there were whispers that Lebron may bolt from Cleveland when his contract expired, looking to expand his brand in a bigger city. It was the beginning of Lebron’s flirtation with New York.
Soon the Knicks hired Mike D’antoni, who would instill his up-tempo, player friendly system, that Lebron would presumably thrive in. It also didn’t hurt that D’antoni and James had an existing relationship from their overseas exploits at the Beijing Olympics. For the next few years the Knicks absolutely purged their roster to create cap space for the summer of 2010. Trading away more than capable players, Zach Randolph, Jamal Crawford, and David Lee, for nothing more than scarps, expiring contracts and the prospect Anthony Randolph may not be a total waste of seven feet (he was). As the Lebron sweepstakes crept closer other teams (Bulls, Pistons, Heat) jumped on the bandwagon, clearing cap space at any cost.
Listen, I’m not delusional. Lebron was definitely flirting with the prospect of playing his home games at MSG. This wasn’t just a fantasy I fabricated in my head. Every time he visited, he praised the Garden as a basketball Mecca, he talked about how great the city was and how he loved playing in the world’s most famous arena. It seemed in the stars. The Knicks were about bring home the prettiest girl from the bar and it felt good. Real good
The Knicks though were not without trepidation,
they Donnie Walsh (president of basketball operations) knew he had to have a plan B, C and D. The went into the summer locked in on Lebron, but knew if they fell short they could still possibly woo Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh (the two other jewels of the 2010 free agency market). The Knicks threw everything they had at Lebron, enlisting celebrities, financial experts and former players to try and persuade James into coming home with them. Even after all his flirtation, it seemed apparent that the Knicks would not be going home with the prettiest girl in the bar, but this was New York and there were plenty of pretty girls. Or so it seemed.
What happened was the prettiest girl in the bar (Lebron), who had been showing a lot of interest in the Knicks decided to leave, but she didn’t leave alone. She decided to take the next two prettiest girls available (Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh) to Miami for a nice little ménage à trois, leaving New York out in the cold. The bar was about to close and the Knicks needed someone to go home with. They took a few shots of tequila and made a run at Joe Johnson, he promptly rejected them. Maybe it was the rejections, maybe it was all the shots, but the Knicks picked up Amare Stoudemire, ignoring, his balky knees, bad back, lack of rebounding and aversion to defense. Anybody was better than nobody, right? Well now the Knicks are sober and they’re married to that late night pick up and the future doesn’t look bright.
Now when I walk into the bar I never assume I’m going to take the prettiest girl home, but when she starts showing me attention (a lot of attention) and then slams the door in my face and takes the next two best options I get kind of pissed off. Is it petty? Yeah. Am I bitter? Hell yeah. Lebron’s a tease and that’s why I’m a hater.