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LeBron James: ‘I’m the easiest target that we have in sports.’

Jun 9, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

LeBron James LeBron James

LeBron James might face the most criticism – in both its width and depth – of any athlete who has won a championship at the highest level of his sport.

If not, he’s almost definitely the most criticized athlete with two titles.

Nothing guarantees widespread support, but a championship comes closest.

Except for LeBron – and he knows it.

LeBron in an interview with ESPN’s Michael Wilbon:

I’m the easiest target that we have in sports.

Jeez, LeBron is so narcissistic. He thinks everyone is always talking about him.

Because they often are.

LeBron might be narcissistic, though his millions of dollars and adoring fans certainly predispose him to that mindset. That LeBron isn’t more self-centered is something of a miracle.

Of course, LeBron brought a lot of the criticism on himself. The Decision TV special was poorly considered. The gaudy press conference upon arriving in Miami – including, “not two, not three…” – further showcased LeBron’s arrogance. He held an entitlement he hadn’t yet earned.

But since, he’s earned it. He led the Heat to two straight championships – titles that were not at all handed to him. Miami’s loss to the Mavericks in the 2011 Finals should prove that.

LeBron has a good supporting cast. But even with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, it isn’t the best ever assembled. LeBron has earned his rings.

Yet, widespread respect has curiously eluded him.

Does that motivate him?

I can’t play the game of basketball or live my life on what other people expect me to do or what they think I should do. That doesn’t make me happy. What makes me happy is being able to make plays for my teammates, to be able to represent the name on the back of my jersey. That’s what makes me happy. What everybody else thinks, that doesn’t really matter to me.

I don’t really believe that. LeBron’s pre-Finals mind games show he cares what people think – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Most people do.

LeBron just didn’t need to imagine slights to motive himself. If he looked a little harder, real critics surrounded him.

It took only one game to get reminded of that.

PBT Extra: Who has upper hand in NBA Finals now?

  1. wallabear - Jun 10, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    Yeah, it’s funny how much respect Peyton Manning gets in the NFL, yet on paper, he’s a championship flop; whereas, with LeKing, at least he really tries to win championships. People’s opinions really don’t matter, in the end. Most professional athletes know what they are capable of accomplishing — and what they are not. Some wait until Hall of Fame-time to cut down their nay-sayers like MJ, while others like LeKing just speak their mind on-the-spot. How much y’all wanna bet that any and all revenue/proceeds going to LeKing for the televised “The Decision” went to charity? That’s why he did it, fools.

    • bucrightoff - Jun 10, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      You do realize the NFL has, at least, twice as much parity, likely 4 times as much parody as the NBA? The NBA has had 7 different teams win the title since 1991, the NFL has had 14. One of these leagues is clearly a lot easier to win than the other. Also the NFL does not have the credibility issues the NBA does.

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