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.