LeBron James and Karma

By Chris Le

LeBron James proved himself tactless—once again.  As his former team the Cleveland Cavaliers was in the midst of suffering what would be a 55-point lambasting by the Lakers, ‘Bron took this opportunity to take center stage (on Twitter), and somehow, in his bent, narcissistic thinking, made himself the victim.

Check me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Cleveland supposed to play the role of scorned lover?

LeBron needs to get over it.  I know he’s still hurt by the burning jerseys, the ranting letter (in Comic Sans) by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, the ubiquitous boos that rain down each time he touches the ball on foreign court, and the supposed unrelenting media criticism (which now, thanks to the Heat’s winning streak, has evolved into benign captivation)—but it’s time to grow up.

Is he so enclosed by Yes Men that he can’t empathize with his former Witnesses or conceive that he actually deserves the vitriol?  One could argue, using his rhetoric, that the backlash was, duh, karma for “The Decision.”

Regardless, as the game’s top talent, its face and just as a decent man, LeBron should be above prodding, especially at a franchise already licking its wounds.

LeBron is on the best team in the NBA (as of today), while the Cavs are arguably the worst, and to boot, he sodomized Cleveland with his best performance of the season in a 28-point win, which karmic enough, launched the Heat from their funk to where they are now—on top, as the most fearsome squad in the league. 

It’s done, dude. You got the last laugh. Isn’t that enough?

Apparently, not for LeBron.  He doesn’t just want a break up; he wants his ex to grovel, atone for their sins and admit life is bitter without him.

Though in a way, this ruthless revenge mentality is what makes the all-time greats great.  Jordan is the classic exemplar.  He took any slight, even if it wasn’t intentionally critical, and used it as motivation.  George Karl, in 1997, said Jordan was playing “not to get hurt” and was now a jump shooter.  It wasn’t a completely false statement, but Jordan still went out against the Sonics and dropped 45 – gleefully, I’m sure.

Jeff Van Gundy, in the same year, called Jordan a con man, saying, “His way is to befriend [opponents], soften them up, try to make them feel like he cares about them. Then he goes out there and tries to destroy them. The first step as a player is to realize that and don’t go for it.”

Van Gundy claims it was a compliment.  Jordan didn’t care and gave the Knicks and their coach 51 points for such effrontery.

All the greats seek revenge.  Hakeem did it to David Robinson.  Kobe did the same to Shaq.  But the greats keep it on the court–in Kobe’s case, after winning a championship–and it never feels petty.  The lesson of grace is one LeBron has yet to learn.

For now, LeBron should clam up, work on his post game and play magnificently as only he can.  For when he wins a ring, he can talk all he wants—he’d have then earned the right.  But I have a feeling karma has other plans, and come June, LeBron, remember you said it yourself: it’s a bitch.

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10 responses to “LeBron James and Karma

  1. Long time LeBron fan here. I can see why everyone hates every word that comes out of LeBron’s mouth since “The Decision,” but I have no problem with what he said here. It’s personal (to borrow a word from Rex Ryan) with LeBron and Cleveland, and no one understands what LeBron went through unless you’re a celebrity.

    He didn’t say, “Fuck you, Cleveland. You suck, and you should be one of the teams to go in the contraction (which they should).” He simply said that the medicine pill sure is bitter, which it is. Cleveland reacted beyond crazy, and they deserve at least this one snipe. What he said here cannot be used against him if he loses in the playoffs this season. He didn’t wish bad on anybody.

  2. I’m a huge LeBron fan, too. Still am. But love isn’t always blind.

    I think the Twitter post was more directed at Dan Gilbert rather than at the team or its fans. But he had to know it would rile everyone’s feathers. And maybe you’re right, Cleveland deserves at least one snipe—but they got it LeBron demolished them by 28 points. Why prod after everything was seemingly water under the bridge? Why pick on the little guy when he’s down?

    I get that LeBron is still hurting. I understand. But doesn’t he see the hypocrisy? He’s needling the Cavs for a reaction that HE caused. Had he handled the decision more judicially, maybe the backfire wouldn’t be as intense. And the Cleveland drama was essentially over, why reignite a dead flame?!

  3. In no way is the Cleveland drama over. Not now, as evidenced by Cleveland switching hotels in Beverly Hills to avoid Miami, and not in the future. James leaving the city was historic and will forever be remembered in NBA history.

    One regular season win over his former team is meaningless, and it’s only sweet when the little guy is down. It was a shot at Gilbert, the fans and the whole city, and sometimes, it’s the only way to teach them a lesson. Moral of the story: don’t act a fool or be prepared to have the finger wagging at you when things get down.

  4. LeBron’s departure will always hang over the heads of Clevelanders. You’re right, the drama will never be over locally. I misspoke. What I meant to say was the lovers’ quarrel was over *in the media*. No one outside Cleveland really cared about that particular story anymore; it had faded from their short short-term memory…at least until the two teams face each other again. But with the Tweet, all eyes are back on LeBron and how he ruthlessly ripped the hearts from Clevelander’s collective chests. It was petty (I can’t emphasize that enough) and not the best PR move—the latest in a recent string PR indiscretions. But if the rumors are true that LeBron is embracing his role as villain, this is a good start. Still, I’m a little surprised that you say Cleveland needed a lesson that LeBron himself has yet to learn.

  5. Maybe, I’m as immature as him. What lesson is that?

  6. Sorry about that, the Lesson: “Moral of the story: don’t act a fool or be prepared to have the finger wagging at you when things get down.”

  7. Okay, how about this perspective? His public approval rating is so low since “The Decision” that whatever he says can’t possibly make him more dislikable. It only reinforces how people already feel about him, and if I were him in that situation, I certainly wouldn’t shy away from the media all of a sudden – just like Kanye.

  8. Kanye has since shown some humility, often admitting that he’s been a “douchebag” and has apologized for the Taylor Swift incident. He even went into self exile.

    LeBron’s approval rating was on the rise—a long winning streak will do that—but the latest tweet knocked it down a notch.

    Sucks that LeBron hurt his ankle in the loss to the Clips. I didn’t think karma would act this quickly.

  9. Kanye apologized but doesn’t regret the VMA incident. That’s not humility at all.

    LeBron’s fine. I remember when the Heat lost a game earlier this season, he suffered some injury but didn’t miss any time. I feel like it’s his excuse when he loses. He came back in last night’s game, and I’d be extremely surprised if he missed tonight’s game.

  10. So I might’ve been wrong about LeBron’s ankle. Did you see Bosh’s ankle injury? Those are the plays that make you shudder.

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