Lebron James has been in the media spotlight since childhood. He entered the NBA as a first overall draft pick with a Nike contract—before ever lacing up a pair of shoes as a pro. The Cavaliers drafted him to resurrect their dying franchise and eventually to bring a major championship to Cleveland.
Needless to say, the expectations of Lebron James have always been pretty high.
Yes, he has a completely inflated ego that often causes him to make questionable statements in the media or even host his own live television event, just to tell the world that he will be playing somewhere else.
Yes, that same ego predicted “not one, not two, not three…” championships with the Miami Heat before failing miserably in the NBA Finals with, essentially, the Eastern Conference All-Star roster behind him.
Yes, that same ego allows him to recognize himself as “King James” even though he possesses no championship wins since playing in high school.
What would you say, though, if I told you it wasn’t James’ fault for his ego or even for some of the statements he’s made?
The entire media frenzy that surrounds Lebron James on a daily basis is completely constructed by the fans and the media itself. As a rookie, James didn’t proclaim himself any kind of savior; instead he played his game and did pretty well.
The media and the fans gave James the right to such an ego by treating him as though he just beat Jesus Christ in a pick-up game at Rucker Park. They continued to feed that ego by allowing him to be compared to Michael Jordan and many other NBA greats before he really proved that he deserved that designation.
By calling Lebron James “the best since MJ,” you really give the guy free reign to do what he wants within the confines of the NBA. By letting him get away with whatever he wants in his early years, you’re asking for an arrogant veteran down the road.
The way I see it, Lebron never stood a chance. He was the media’s target since day one, and will continue to be that target as long as he and the fans allow that to happen, or at least until there’s a bigger fish in the pond that is the NBA.
Being a target from his career’s beginning, the media fattened up James’ ego like a pig for the slaughter. It seems this offseason that he is finally being put on the spit that was meant for him all along.
A recent interaction between James and former New York Jets DE Kris Jenkins ended with the NFL free agent telling James, “We don’t care what you think.” The full story goes deeper to reveal that James was just voicing his opinion on a social networking site—precisely the use for such a site—and not making any kind of personal attack, but because he has become such an easy target, Jenkins was able to use him as a scapegoat.
The way I see that situation, James’ humanity is already starting to be taken from him by the media when he can’t even voice an opinion about a piece of journalism without being scrutinized on a national level.
So when will enough be enough? When will the constant scrutiny end? When will we get to stop hearing about how much of a tool Lebron James is?
The answer: when we stop caring.
The Lebron James frenzy will end when fans let go and stop giving him this negative attention. Until then, he is going to continue to make questionable decisions and lose important games under the immense pressure that comes with being a media martyr.
If he is allowed to stop focusing on living up to being great like MJ, and can focus instead on building chemistry with his teammates, he will be able to win some important games and maybe, eventually a championship.
When it comes down to it, though, that isn’t a realistic outcome. The fans and the media aren’t ready to let go of their whipping boy yet—and probably won’t be for some time. Lebron James just needs to play his game and keep his mouth shut. Then he can simply hope for the best, and maybe the scrutiny will stop.
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