Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Cavaliers’

LeBron James: A Complex, Paradoxical Sports Oxymoron

June 9, 2012

Don’t let the title fool you. It’s all going to be okay. Yes, I do have a weird thirst for using the letter “x” in my descriptive verbage.

And yes, I’m about to reach farther for this comparison than Skip Bayless does for his own high school accolades: It’s only because LeBron is the X-Factor in tonight’s game! Hah!

Hey…laugh! I’m funny, okay?

Now that I’ve lost you, let me explain. There is a method to the madness of essentially titling my piece “LeBron James: Confusing.”

And it has nothing to do with his notorious disappearing acts at his teams’ most critical junctures in previous playoff appearances.

Instead, I’m going to talk a traditional mechanism employed by millions of housewives, girlfriends, fair weather and apathetic sports fans everywhere.

I’m talking about rooting for the “underdog,” also known as the team that isn’t favored by Vegas odds makers or “just seem like good guys” or are playing the Yankees.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a sucker for a good underdog story. I have a hard time rooting against the small market Rays in baseball, and George Mason’s 2009 Final Four run nearly brought me to my knees.

And there  is a certain allure to being labeled an “underdog,” that may actually spark a swell of confidence and self-belief and ultimately lead to a better game performance, possibly even an upset victory. But fact is, most teams who are favored to lose, well…lose.

My question is for all you LeBron haters out there. He is the epitome of a Goliath in this little David versus Goliath dream world you conjure up in every way imaginable.

But when so many root against him, doesn’t that completely, paradoxically, oxymoronically (I like this word so much that I made it up, raised it as my own, and will use it freely. Thank you.) turn the tables?

Doesn’t this make LeBron the underdog?

If it’s cliché to root for Goliath, but fully acceptable to root for the opponent who has been beaten, battered and bruised by hardship, can’t it go both ways?

That is, if LeBron is Goliath but falls into the beaten (has yet to win a title), battered (has shouldered the largest responsibility for both teams he’s been on) and bruised (absolutely destroyed by fans for The Decision to move to Miami) categories, isn’t he essentially David?

Told ya it would be complex.

Normally the story would end with David slaying Goliath. Yay! Everyone lives happily ever after, the last page of the story book depicts a sunny, rainbow and dolphin-filled picture almost as vomit-worthy as this, and little Jimmy goes to bed with a smile on his face (Apologies to any readers named Jimmy. It was the first name that came to mind.).

But when Goliath has been slain every time, and fans of David turn nasty (somebody get this kid spell check!) and grow in number at every one of the top dog’s failings – when do we start to feel bad for the big guy? 

And when it seems like nobody outside of Miami and a random spattering of a few fans are actually pulling for the Heat to win and King James to finally earn his crown, that puts all odds against him to succeed.

Maybe not statistically. But I’ll bet you a majority of people in America who know what a basketball is and have heard of this LeBron fella are rooting for him to crumble again.

And while you’re sitting smugly thinking about the prospects of telling everyone how you’re pulling for the underdog again, the joke is actually on you.

You’ve been so busy gloating and reveling in LeBron’s failures, that your own pungent hatred of the guy has blinded you. It’s not cool to root against LeBron anymore. He is the underdog.

Nobody believes in LeBron. Nobody roots for LeBron. Nobody likes LeBron. Except for the few of us who are hoping the real underdog pulls this one off.

The underdog who happens to be the best, richest most talented player in the pack. What an exceptionally complex, paradoxical sports oxymoron that turns out to be.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman. Comment below if you beg to differ!

Hatin’ on Haters

February 17, 2012

Haters will love this blog. Because I’m going to absolutely tear them to shreds, one hateful limb at a time. And then when I’m done, and they are just a pile of dust, bones and coal at my feet, they will have so much new material to hate on that they won’t know what to do with themselves. I’m about to type the name that stirs things up like death eaters flocking to Voldemort: LeBron. James.

Earlier this week, LeBron was asked if he would ever consider returning to Cleveland before retiring. He said yes. Then, Jeremy Lin faded into the shadows, ESPN collectively pooped their pants and the world exploded. In that order. Forget the people hating on the rumor (which is just a whole new realm of hating I can’t even comprehend right now). Let’s talk about the fact that some analysts, fans and radio hosts were outraged at James even suggesting such an awful thing.

How dare he want to come back to the place he called home, to play for the fans he has always loved despite the new threads, for the franchise he essentially rescued from complete and utter destruction? What a selfish, no-good, ugly prick. Don’t you remember how he mercilessly ripped the Cav fans’ hearts out? And he did it in front of millions of people.

That’s like a girl breaking up with you in the middle of lunch in high school, standing on a table in the rally court and yelling through a megaphone about leaving you for the hotter, richer, more successful guy on the varsity team. Granted, it’s a shitty way to get dumped. But what Cleveland (said boy, or “you” in previous sentence), should have done is just cried, watched a few chick flicks, and gotten over it.

Instead they took the path that most do; talking endless crap about this slutty bitch who wasn’t even that good in bed anyway. It looked pathetic, it was pathetic, and it still is pathetic. But guess what? That entire city…no, the entire state got a half-chub just hearing LeBron answer yes to that question. If he were to sign with the Cavs after his time in Miami, the place would go bonkers. All is forgiven! All hail the return of the King!

LeBron was being honest when asked about returning to Cleveland. Yet he’s still wrong. What? It’s perfectly acceptable for him to carry a decrepit franchise for half a decade, bolt for bigger and brighter opportunities, have a successful career and then return to his roots to re-connect with the community that raised him. It’s kinda the circle of life in America.

I’ve grown up in a mid-sized town in Northern California my whole life. Then I went off to college in Washington. Now, I’m on my way to being the biggest, baddest blogger in the world. Nobody in Walnut Creek, CA is burning pictures of me or sending me death threats. And I will be the first to publicly admit that I’d love to come back to Northern California some day. After I’ve achieved all my goals and had some mad success in a big city somewhere.

Get off LeBron’s back. He’s always loved Cleveland, he always will, and some day he might even come home. You can either be the ex-boyfriend-turned-best-friend, or you can bitch and moan in his shadow forever, stealing glances at him like Gollum at Frodo.

By the way, The Decision? Raised over a million dollars for charity. Sorry haters, you just weren’t good enough for LeBron. He moved on. And when he allows you back into his graceful company, it will be your choice whether or not to forgive your sad, selfish qualms.

Long live the King. Make love, not war. And always wear a seat belt. Later haters.

 


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