When I was in law school, a guy named Dave was the best-looking guy in our class (by far). He had the nicest car and he was a gifted athlete. You couldn't hate the guy because he was cool, and karmically, he couldn't get the kind of girls you'd have expected. He had no rap; he didn't need to develop one because of his looks—it's the corollary to why so many great comedians are rotund. It was fun to watch him strike out on the town all year.
Then, he came back to school after the first year with not one, but two gigantic beautiful black Labrador retrievers. Game over. It wasn't enough that he looked like a male model. Now, he would sit outside the cafeteria where all the undergraduate girls would eat and innocently throw tennis balls to his dogs. Even then, he still had a hard time getting the prettier girls.
That is the story of LeBron James.
When he came into the NBA, he was rightfully heralded as the best player and finest rookie of all-time. And he didn't disappoint.
First, he made a bad team relevant and then a mediocre team very good. NBA fans and commentators, however, keep score the same way as immature (read: all) guys do. The only thing that counts: getting the ring = getting the girl. Nothing else matters.
James has fewer rings than Brian Scalabrine, and now, he has the Alex Rodriguez black Labrador problem. He'll never truly get the credit because he needed a crutch to win by signing with the Miami Heat.
Just like Babe Ruth cursed the Red Sox when Harry Frazee sold him in 1918, James is now similarly cursed. Even if he wins a championship, he will never get the necessary accolades a champion deserves. That is because America loves the heroic character or the rebel—someone you can root for. Apple made itself THE brand by celebrating "the rebel, the misfit…"
James doesn't do misfit, hero or rebel. He tried with the ill-fated "Decision," and he became the most overtly hated person in the city of Cleveland (which is a good thing for Art Modell) and the secretly most hated athlete among sports fans everywhere else (which is a good thing for Alex Rodriguez).
James doesn't have the makeup or the background to have the rap needed to win over the pretty girl on anything but his looks. If he can't do it on talent, he certainly won't do it on grit. His high school team and the hype that made him the first-overall pick in the NBA draft was a story of Sampson (Delilah's lover, not Ralph). But, America is a country founded on the gritty underdog; the ragtag band of Minutemen who beat the British by overcoming great odds.
James has the basketball pedigree of British Nobility—he has had nothing to overcome. He could have won the hearts and minds of fans by being the loyal, favorite son of Cleveland, but now, even if the Heat win, he will be seen by most as a star who sold his soul to get the ring.
If you have to buy the dogs to get the girl (when you didn't need to in the first place), then it doesn't really count when she leaves the bar with you.
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