I refuse to bow down to “King James”
As of late last night, LeBron James is the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer, breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s (nee Lew Alcindor) record of 38.387 points.
I don’t give a crap.
I hate LeBron James. I’m not ashamed to say it. I hate LeBron James. I hate him as much as I hate any athlete, past or present.
I got sick and tired of seeing him when he was a senior at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s High School in Akron. ESPN televised many of James’ games during the 2002-03 season, when the hype for his entry into the NBA exceeded the hype for any basketball player.
You think Bird and Magic got too much publicity when they played each other in the 1979 NCAA championship game? You think Jordan got too much publicity after leading North Carolina to the 1982 national championship?
The hype for those three paled in comparison to the man who was called “King James” as a sophomore at SVSM.
During the 2002-03 season, teams outside the NBA’s elite, tanked hard in order to get the most ping-pong balls for the number one pick in the draft lottery and the right to select LeBron.
As fate would have it, the NBA franchise less than an hour north on Interstate 77, the Cleveland Cavaliers, won the lottery. King James’ castle would be Quicken Loans Arena.
James improved Cleveland exponentially during his early years, turning a perennial doormat into a playoff contender. The Cavs reached the NBA Finals for the first time in 2007, but James’ team was no match for the mighty Spurs of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and San Antonio won their fourth championship in four games.
It wouldn’t be the last time
James kept the Cavaliers among the NBA’s elite during the next three seasons, but they could not return to the NBA Finals, falling short vs. the Celtics in 2008, the Magic in 2009, and Boston again in 2010.
As the Celtics and Lakers headed for yet another NBA Finals showdown, LeBron James was plotting a move, one which earned him plenty of scorn, and rightly so.
My dislike for James became deep-seated hatred when he colluded with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to sign with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010.
Wade, who was drafted by the Heat two spots after James was drafted by the Cavaliers in 2003, carried Miami to the 2006 NBA championshpi with the help of some terrible officiating by men who had it out for Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
As soon as the Heat won that championship, he began secret talks with James and Bosh to get them to Miami when their contracts expired after the 2009-10 season.
The negotiations were supposed to be secret, but by time the 2009-10 season rolled around, it wasn’t a secret. Everyone knew Wade was begging Heat president Pat Riley to work the salary cap to fit all three stars under it.
Wade could sign for as much as the Heat wanted to pay him under the Larry Bird Exception, since the ex-Marquette All-American had never played for another team.
James and Bosh, however, did not have the Bird exception, and were subject to the hard cap.
Somehow, James and Bosh took much less than they could have signed for with Cleveland and Toronto, respectively.
On the evening of 8 July 2010, LeBron James went on ESPN and announced in an hour-long special that he was “taking his talents to South Beach”.
The next night, the Heat introduced their new superstar trio. James promised the rapturous throng inside American Airlines Arena they would win at least eight NBA championships.
Miami won two, defeating the Thunder in 2012 and the Spurs in 2013. The Mavericks gained revenge on the Heat in 2011, and the Spurs did the same in 2014.
Following the loss to San Antonio, King James returned to his castle on Lake Erie, signing a new contract with the Cavaliers.
Cleveland lost the 2015 NBA Finals to Steph Curry and the Warriors and fell behind 3-1 in the 2016 Finals to the Golden State team which set a record by going 73-9 in the regular season.
The Cavaliers then did the near impossible, becoming the first team to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA championship series to win Cleveland’s first professional sports championships since the Browns in 1964.
James led Cleveland to the NBA Finals in 2017 and ’18, but each time, the Cavaliers lost to the Warriors.
To nobody’s surprise, LeBron went to the Lakers following the 2018 season.
It was there where LeBron became a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party, slamming Donald Trump every chance he got.
He also began vocally supporting Black Lives Matter in the summer of 2020 following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
I’m sick and goddamn tired of talking about LeBron James. That’s it. I quit.
The Babe and The King
July 11 is remembered by many sports fans, especially followers of baseball, as the day Babe Ruth made his Major League Baseball debut with the Boston Red Sox. In fact, today is the 100th anniversary of the debut of George Herman Ruth, who would go on to become arguably the greatest all-around player in the history of the game. His 714 home runs are impressive, but let’s not forget he was an outstanding pitcher with the Red Sox. When he was traded to the Yankees in 1920, Ruth’s new team figured it had to have his bat in the lineup every day, and thus moved him to right field.
In Cleveland and northeast Ohio, July 11 will now be remembered for a very, very different reason.
LeBron James is coming home. The King made it official a few hours ago when he announced in a letter to Sports Illustrated he was coming back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team which drafted him first overall in 2003, and the team LeBron played for during his first seven NBA seasons.
LeBron was well on his way to the Hall of Fame during his career in Cleveland, even though the Cavaliers were swept by San Antonio in the 2007 Finals, the only time Cleveland has ever reached the championship series. LeBron could have been a hero for life had he decided to stay with the Cavaliers, but like just about every athlete in the 21st century, he wanted to win a championship, and that pursuit of a ring almost always trumps loyalty.
Therefore, LeBron entered collusion with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to form a Big Three with the Heat when LeBron and Bosh hit the free agent market in the summer of 2010. They talked about playing for the same team for four years, which meant the talks were well underway while LeBron was playing in the 2007 Finals for Cleveland. Here’s the best player in the NBA, playing for his hometown team in the Finals, and he’s already talking about leaving even though his contract still has three years to run?