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Unraveling the hatred of LeBron James and the Miami Heat

Sep 25, 2010, 9:00 AM EST

lebron_james_miami_heat.jpgThe Heat have new fans coming out of the woodwork, but the massive backlash against the assemblage of talent in Miami has been absolutely impressive.

It’s understandable that people would disapprove of LeBron James’ decision to ditch his “hometown” Cleveland Cavaliers for another team. It’s even more understandable that people would be opposed to the way in which he announced his decision; LeBron’s televised special was the epitomical act of celebrity athlete masturbation, and it should be understood that sports fans of all walks will likely resent that kind of self-congratulatory display.

Still, regardless of pomp or intention, LeBron James (as well as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, for that matter) engaged in what would under normal circumstances be considered an act of athletic heroism: sacrifice.

I’m not saying any of the three should be pitied, but each player chose to give up their touches, give up money, slash their chances to win individual awards, and in the eyes of some, compromise their own legacies in the sake of something greater. Individual sacrifice for the sake of winning a championship is supposed to translate as nobility for professional athletes, and yet for these three (but LeBron, first and foremost) it’s been discussed as a sign of weakness.

There should be separate reactions to each component of LeBron’s summer, yet rather than treat both LeBron’s decision and his Decision as separate entities, plenty of basketball fans and scribes alike have thrown all of their feelings concerning all things LeBron into a blender. He’s a fool. An egoist. And apparently, as much a sinner in the basketball world as he is in the public relations one. It’s all very jumbled, even if it shouldn’t be.

What is it that makes the pieces of the LeBron narrative so difficult to extricate from one another? I’m not exactly sure, and judging by Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem’s response during an interview with the Joe Rose Show on WQAM in Miami (via Sports Radio Interviews), I’m not sure he is either:

“It’s unfortunate because in today’s society athletes get criticized for being so selfish and wanting all the money and going to a bad team just to take more money and things like that. Here you have the exact opposite where you have guys sacrifice money to go to a good team and put something together where they can win multiple championships for years to come and people still complain. For me I guess you just can’t make people happy so you have to make yourself happy.”

Naturally, the actions of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh were self-motivated. They chose to, as Haslem noted, do what made them happy. That, in itself, doesn’t make them “selfish,” or deserving of ire. It also doesn’t mean that those three players made a poor decision this summer by opting to compete with rather than against each other. It just means that all three are apparently in tune with the exact thing sports fans demand that they value. All three may be showered in glitz along the way, but they’re still united with basketball success in mind.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike LeBron James or the Miami Heat, but the circumstances that brought the two together aren’t a valid excuse to do either.

  1. rob - Sep 25, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    do u know what basketball even is

  2. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Rob Mahoney (writer of this article:) “I’m not saying any of the three should be pitied, but each player chose to give up their touches, give up money, slash their chances to win individual awards, and in the eyes of some, compromise their own legacies in the sake of something greater.”
    ————————
    Give UP MONEY? …..”for the sake of something GREATER?” Mahoney is either WAYYYY naive, or full of so much BULLSH*T he also thinks O.J. Simpson was innocent.
    This article borders on surreal…..

  3. Evon - Sep 25, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    Very well said Patti. I am over all the hate people have been sending on this. I applaud their decision. Being originally from NY I was never a Heat Fan but I was a Lebron Fan since his high school days. I am, based on this move, now a Heat Fan. People can Hate all they want to, I will be glued to my telivision set or be physically at the games every time these guys get on the court.

  4. Dan K. - Sep 25, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    NOBODY is saying that Lebron did not have the right to switch teams. WHAT intelligent people are angry about is the egotistical, self-serving manner in which he departed from Cleveland. LeBron could not even spell the word CLASS let alone know what it means.

  5. Anonymous - Sep 25, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    You are a funny MF…..Dumb but funny. And most likely from Cleveland…right? Tough break dog!!!

  6. Karens - Sep 25, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Does anyone realize that LeBron James was a free agent when he signed with the Heat? He fulfilled his contractual obligations to Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers had 7 years to build a team around LeBron and didn’t. As far as his announcing his decision on ESPN, all the money he made from that went to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of America. So, if that makes him selfish and irresponsible, then I wish more athletes were like him.

  7. playerdown - Sep 25, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    One has to look outside of the box.
    The continued internationalization of the NBA is paramount. As other major league teams have come to realize. it is always about the money. Miami has become the capitol of South America. If one where to view the world on a flat map, they would see that South Florida is in an ideal tourist spot,secure and within traveling distance for Europeans, Canadians,South Americans and others. South Florida has recently okayed legalized gaming at their racetracks,dogtracks,jai alai frontons and of course at the Hard Rock.
    Mr. Stern is a very clever CEO. Every thing is fine with him,which translates to the NBA. LBJ just works for the man,now just a different man.

  8. PSP - Sep 25, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    I CHOOSE to root against him. And I, like many, CHOOSE to tell people why (which is our right). If you take into account the taxes and the added endorsements Lebron gave up no money. He is taking the easy way out and he is doing it in an obnoxious “in your face Cleveland” kind of way.

  9. Stryker - Sep 26, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    Indeed, Dan. I agree completely.
    I would like to think that most of LeBron’s critics were not against him choosing Miami over Cleveland. That is his right. I wouldn’t even care any less against his decision should he have chosen the Celtics or the Lakers.
    The issue is HOW he did it. He reeks of immaturity and his “Decision 2010″ is the epitome of it.

  10. Eddie - Sep 26, 2010 at 2:15 AM

    There is one thing EVERYONE is missing here. And that IS. You can bet your last dollar that if Lebron’s play declined or had an injury in Clevland that ole Danny Boy owner of the Cavs would of traded his ass in a split second.
    Its a business and owners are NOT loyal to players but he is expected to be loyal to Clevland? Get REAL!
    ALSO, there isnt ONE person that will EVER read this that can honestly say they wouldnt jump to have Lebron, Wade and Bosh on their fav team. Get real people and stop being hypocrites. If it was your team youd be singing a completely different tune. END OF STORY!

  11. Steph - Sep 26, 2010 at 7:53 AM

    Who cares how he did it! Really? Get over it!! I can understand being upset for a few weeks, but you sound like whiny ass bitches!! I don’t hear anyone complaining about what Carmelo is doing and it is way worst than what Lebron did! His obligations were met, and he moved on! Nobody liked how he did it and I’m a fan of Miami and i didn’t like it, was it the worst thing i have ever seen? No! So, why in the hell is everyone still bitter?

  12. DK - Sep 26, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    Though you might want every one believe that It’s the decision that people didn’t like – the real trigger point was the hopeless attitude of Lebron that resulted in checking out of the games much earlier against celtics that has hurt the game more. The bottom line is that no player can hold a game hostage irrespective of how great or how special the player is!

  13. Gabbo - Sep 26, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    When you look at the greatest players in any sport, there is no such word as quit. But here is a guy who announces himself as King James, he not only quit in multiple games of the playoffs, but quit an entire city and fans. Even worse, he continuously misled stringing them along giving false hope for at least 2 months. Even even worse, he backstabbed them on national TV. The Cavs did everything Lebron asked for. They’ve had the best record last 2 years. To a lesser degree,
    Fans don’t have a problem with their players saying they want to be traded, so Carmelo/Barkley gets no flack. They don’t care that you go for more money, so Moses/Amare/Joe Johnson have no issues. It’s just you openly do it.
    People know Lebron could have been really special. We know he doesn’t have the mental fortitude. Now we know he will never be above Dwayne Wade. Wade is the real winner in all of this.

  14. terry - Sep 27, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    This guy actually gets PAID to write this drivel?
    Where do I sign up?

  15. McDaddy - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    You are a young man of 25. You have a choice between staying
    in dreary Cleveland and constantly being criticized for not having
    the heart of Jordan, Magic, Bird, Kobe, etc. Or you move to sexy
    South Beach, play for Pat Riley, play along with one of your best
    friends, and have a damn good shot at winnng multiple championships.
    What would you do if you were that young man?

  16. Dnice - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    I think your missing the point about why people dislike the way LeBrick did what he did I’m a Lakers fan but I have been a fan of LeBrick every since I saw him play in High School when you are the so called “Chosen One” you are suppost to be better than becoming someone sidekick it was only a couple of years ago that people was saying Wade was better than the “King with No RINGS” I think he does not want to have the pressure of being the G.O.A.T and know we don’t have to hear that argument ever which is a good thing MJ stands alone.

  17. SFA51 - Sep 27, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    I am not a Cavaliers’ fan, nor a resident of the State of Ohio. What I am, is a sports fan, and slightly more than casual NBA fan. And from my perspective, LeBron is an egotistical, pampered, spoiled brat that’s never really won anything! Yes, I realize that most pro athletes are pampered and spoiled, but LBJ is waaaay over the top in his opinion of himself. I’ll be rooting for Miami to lose, even tho I know they’ll win on most nites. Is that part of the “backlash” against the Heat you mention in your story?

  18. mark d - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    Not a chance.

  19. tbs - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    I agree with Holmes. His ESPN special was one of the most narcissistic fiascos of all-time. All that was missing was his trademark baby-powder self-coronation. Talented or not, James’ legacy so far is his egotistical branding of His James-ness: King James, The Chosen One, (Self-proclaimed) Leader of the Olympic Team. Mix in his celebratory dance moves to show up defeated opponents and his sulking storm-off-the-court tantrums when he loses, and the fiasco of the Miami Heat Championship Celebration after he announced his signing, and you might get an inkling of why some people are less than impressed with Lebron the person. I’d better stop now because I know He is making “mental notes.”

  20. tbs - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    I agree with Holmes. His ESPN special was one of the most narcissistic fiascos of all-time. All that was missing was his trademark baby-powder self-coronation. Talented or not, James’ legacy so far is his egotistical branding of His James-ness: King James, The Chosen One, (Self-proclaimed) Leader of the Olympic Team. Mix in his celebratory dance moves to show up defeated opponents and his sulking storm-off-the-court tantrums when he loses, and the fiasco of the Miami Heat Championship Celebration after he announced his signing, and you might get an inkling of why some people are less than impressed with Lebron the person. I’d better stop now because I know He is making “mental notes.”

  21. tbs - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    I agree with Holmes. His ESPN special was one of the most narcissistic fiascos of all-time. All that was missing was his trademark baby-powder self-coronation. Talented or not, James’ legacy so far is his egotistical branding of His James-ness: King James, The Chosen One, (Self-proclaimed) Leader of the Olympic Team. Mix in his celebratory dance moves to show up defeated opponents and his sulking storm-off-the-court tantrums when he loses, and the fiasco of the Miami Heat Championship Celebration after he announced his signing, and you might get an inkling of why some people are less than impressed with Lebron the person. I’d better stop now because I know He is making “mental notes.”

  22. tbs - Sep 27, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Sorry for the 3-peat. I kept getting a server error that said post didn’t go through. Now that I have failed epically, I want to let you know that I am going to take my talents to South Beach.

  23. J.Chappell - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    I agree with you. It is a reflection of everything else gone wrong particularly here in the U.S. The competativeness is gone. Lets gang up on the have nots, go 75 and 7 and be the greatest team ever to beat a bunch of sub-par teams. The backlash isn’t personal like that fool Lebron thinks it is. Its because him and his cronies have taken a beautiful sport and made it almost meaningless from a competative point of view. I watch basketball to watch teams compete, not to see teams get a thrill off of how many superstars we have to get us a SO CALLED CHAMPIONSHIP. I hated Larry Bird, now I respect him, I hated Michael Jordan but always respected and loved him for what he did for the sport. I will always Hate the way Wade, Lebron, and Bosh skrewed up basketball forever. I don’t care how many so called titles they win.I predict that the backlash will only get worse as true fans of basketball realize what these three have done to the sport and NBA

  24. J.Chappell - Sep 29, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    I agree with you. It is a reflection of everything else gone wrong particularly here in the U.S. The competativeness is gone. Lets gang up on the have nots, go 75 and 7 and be the greatest team ever to beat a bunch of sub-par teams. The backlash isn’t personal like that fool Lebron thinks it is. Its because him and his cronies have taken a beautiful sport and made it almost meaningless from a competative point of view. I watch basketball to watch teams compete, not to see teams get a thrill off of how many superstars we have to get us a SO CALLED CHAMPIONSHIP. I hated Larry Bird, now I respect him, I hated Michael Jordan but always respected and loved him for what he did for the sport. I will always Hate the way Wade, Lebron, and Bosh skrewed up basketball forever. I don’t care how many so called titles they win.I predict that the backlash will only get worse as true fans of basketball realize what these three have done to the sport and NBA

  25. J.Chappell - Sep 29, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    I agree with you. It is a reflection of everything else gone wrong particularly here in the U.S. The competativeness is gone. Lets gang up on the have nots, go 75 and 7 and be the greatest team ever to beat a bunch of sub-par teams. The backlash isn’t personal like that fool Lebron thinks it is. Its because him and his cronies have taken a beautiful sport and made it almost meaningless from a competative point of view. I watch basketball to watch teams compete, not to see teams get a thrill off of how many superstars we have to get us a SO CALLED CHAMPIONSHIP. I hated Larry Bird, now I respect him, I hated Michael Jordan but always respected and loved him for what he did for the sport. I will always Hate the way Wade, Lebron, and Bosh skrewed up basketball forever. I don’t care how many so called titles they win.I predict that the backlash will only get worse as true fans of basketball realize what these three have done to the sport and NBA

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