It looks like the better team is going to win the NBA Finals. And although I’d love to see the Mavs and ‘My Beautiful Dirk Twisting Fadeaway’ pull off an upset, it’s looking more and more bleak after his one legged shot clanked off the back rim in Game 3. Yes, I am cheering for the Mavericks. And it has to do heavily with my dislike of the Heat, as opposed to my adoration of the Mavericks—even though I’ve grown to like them, which may in part be due to simply comparing them to the other team.
(Let me first clear this up. I actually like Joel Anthony and Lebron isn’t my most hated on the Heat—it is in fact, by far, Eddie House).
But why? I’ve tried to answer this question a million times. First off, let me dispel a few common pro-Lebron points:
1. But he took less money to win!
Lebron’s taking home $45.8 million dollars to hold Big Macs and wear Nikes. On top of that, Nike estimates that a Lebron championship will add $4 billion dollars of revenue for Nike in China. He’s making that money back—and more—by playing in Miami. If he wins, Nike wants him to replace Kobe in China as the face of the company.
2. If Lebron went to your city you wouldn’t hate him.
You’re right, but when has anybody been critical of Heat fans for liking Lebron? I would like Lebron if he came here and it would be totally justified…but he’s not.
3. He just wants to win
He does, but perhaps too much. I’ve recently become re-addicted to Goldeneye 007 for N64. I’m trying to beat all the levels on the harder and harder difficulties, which is proving to be more frustrating than, let’s say, winning a championship with Mo Williams as my second best player. Sometimes I sit at levels and have no idea where to run, what to shoot or how to even get out! It’s perhaps the most frustrating thing ever to be in a room filling with a never-ending flow of Russians blasting you with machine guns. I just want to ask them to hold their fire and give me some directions! So, occasionally when I feel the need to rip the controller in two, I’ll peek online to look at some walkthroughs. Just to give me some hints and guidance. I often get that “AHA!” moment like…you need that machine to open the door or the key is behind the fourth guard. So, I restart and do everything right and it feels—OK.
I mean, all the animations are the same, you know, the Russians all collapse in a bloody heap while Bond blows the smoke off his gun—but it doesn’t feel the same. Eventually, if I would have tried and tried and tried I would figure out how to beat the level—but I took an easy way out. I looked up how to do it. So, when I beat the level it feels good—but not great. I beat a level yesterday without looking online and after trying numerous times and it felt great. I accomplished something. When I look online? I’m cheating myself, because I know I could do it myself if I put more effort into it but I didn’t.
For me and Lebron—we both want to win so badly, him an NBA championship and me Facility on Secret Agent—that it almost becomes a detriment to our growth. The same way I’ll never be able to call myself one of the best Bond players is the same way we’ll struggle to say the same about Lebron and basketball.
It’s not to say Lebron won’t go down as one of the greatest to play the game (and I think this where the Bond parallels stop, because I certainly will not)—he most likely will but there will always be an asterisk. A footnote.
James played with Wade and Bosh.
I don’t think Lebron cares at all, the same way I don’t really care when I beat Bond after looking at someone else doing it. Lebron just wants to win—badly. But it’s hurting him.
And people say Lebron can never win. He’ll never earn the hearts of the haters. We’ll always be the PETA to his Michael Vick. No matter how much good he does, we’ll find a way to rip him to shreds. But I don’t pity, Lebron. He made the choice to sacrifice his legacy and reputation for a chance to win more championships. In my eyes, I want to give Lebron more ‘legacy points’ for taking the ’07 Cavs to the Finals. That team resembled the ’11 Heat very closely—minus Wade and Bosh, of course. Maybe if he wins this year we can give him one full ring. Half for ’07 and this performance and half for this year.
But people will say I shouldn’t hate Lebron. I’m not so sure why. I’ve mentioned this before, but I have numerous reasons to hate on Lebron and most of them are from before the Heat-era. When he stole the microphone at the dunk competition and announced he was going to enter next year and never did, when he got dunked on by then-Xavier Musketeer, now-Washington Wizard, Jordan Crawford at a Nike camp and asked all the Nike staff to confiscate all of the tapes, when he told his mom to sit her…behind…down during a game, the ever-so narcissistic ‘Chosen 1’ tattoo sprawled across his back. How about the Heat dance party? How about saying how he was going to win 7 championships (one more than Jordan)? How about anointing himself King James? How about saying he wouldn’t stop until he would have a championship in Cleveland?
Oh, and also, apparently he performed an hour-long heart removal ESPN special announcing where was going to play next year. I think it was called The Decisive? The Decider? Something like that.
I have a feeling if Nike could confiscate every Decision tape, he would request it.
So, don’t tell me I have no reason to dislike Lebron. I just gave you enough. And as a matter of fact, whenever I watched him play in playoffs in Cleveland I never cheered for him. I rooted for the Celtics to beat Lebron. This has nothing to do with Big 3s, and way more to do with Lebron.
Unless the Knicks re-hire Isiah Thomas as GM (and he subsequently signs Plaxico Burress to play point guard), the Heat losing will be quite satisfying.
It will be satisfying because I don’t like Lebron. I have a lot of respect for him as a basketball player. I think he’s supremely talented. But he’ll always carry that asterisk for me. I love that he wants to win. He doesn’t care about being Finals MVP or winning a scoring title. I know these are attributes we are supposed to respect and admire. But it’s different. There’s something about accomplishing something by working hard—not finding alternatives—that makes it so much more valuable. Waking up every morning at 5am to train for a marathon isn’t easy, which is why people respect it. People admire that kind of behaviour. We want to see determination, drive and energy put forth to overcoming an insurmountable task as opposed to just finding an easy way to make the task, well, surmountable.
It doesn’t feel right saying Lebron completed his goal while only averaging 3 points in the fourth quarter of the Finals the same way it doesn’t feel right saying that I beat the last level when GameFaqs.com told me the easiest way to kill Alec Trevelyan.
It just doesn’t feel right.
My NBA posts are now being syndicated on Beating the Buzzer. You can check out Beating the Buzzer on Twitter @btbsports. Follow Two Guys Sports @2_GSB or my own Twitter @the_REAL_alexb. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.