Posted by: Haggleman Mondays | August 14, 2012

Well, This is Awkward: Sympathizing with LeBron

Lebron James has had an important few months. The events of these last few months for ‘Bron have played out less like a train steaming its way down the tracks and more like a snowball rolling down a hill, growing ever larger and larger until it eventually bursts. When Lebron’s season started he was considered a phony, and a choke artist. He has now vanquished at least one of those demons.

Lebron’s transformation from choker to clutch didn’t happen overnight. Recall the snowball rolling downhill metaphor. Such an occurrence cannot be changed by one single event, but the momentum has been building and building in the last three months, and now we can confidently say that Lebron James is a clutch player. Consider: since June, Lebron has won an NBA Championship, a gold medal, an NBA MVP, an NBA Finals MVP, and most importantly, the number one spot on Gold Diggers. The transformation has indeed been the stuff of legends.

There will most certainly still be those championing the belief that Lebron can’t get it done without the aide of those currently assigned to assist him, whether it be Wade and Bosh in Miami, or Durant and Melo at the Olympics. That army will be led by our hero, Skip Bayless, who will probably figure out a way to wiggle out of his most recent troll-jam. But it’s time to move on from the baloney, America. Time after time in the Finals, Lebron carried the Heat to the finish line, getting to the rim at will and hitting big jump shot after big jump shot. In the Olympics, his run continued, single-handedly saving Team USA from defeat against Lithuania, and hitting the dagger three against Spain in the gold medal game.

My opinion of Lebron has changed much in the same way his anti-clutch stigma changed. It wasn’t one single moment that did it for me, but a building of momentum that began sometime back in June and culminated in the gold medal game on Sunday. Whatever, I like Lebron. So I flip-flopped a bit on him, is that so bad? After all, what crime did he ever commit? As bad as The Decision was (throw in the Welcome Party too), consider that this season, Knicks fans will be rooting for a convicted wife beater (also a drunk driver), and a franchise killer (I’m sorry Melo, I love you but…). When you look at it outside of ESPN’s “Lebron is the Center of the Universe along with Tebow” context, is that so terrible? I say no.

Doubtless, Lebron will still have his haters. He will carry the burden of his “not one, not two, not three…” speech for the rest of his career. I’ll tell you right now that a lot of people will take that quote literally, and will continue to consider him a disappointment unless he actually does get his eight titles. I want to point how just how stupid that is. The fact that he promised just under ten championships doesn’t make his achievements any less significant, just as saying you’ll grow up to be President shouldn’t diminish your happiness when you get promoted to Assistant Regional Manager. Remove the damn microscope.

All of this isn’t to say you have to immediately start rooting for Lebron. I’m not advocating for the man as much as I am simply rationalizing my own feelings. When the time comes, I’ll still root against the Heat, though that animosity has always been leveled significantly more at Wade, Bosh, and Pat Riley. At the end of the day, all I’m trying to say is maybe Lebron James wasn’t the enemy we all made him out to be. Maybe it was the rest of us. (And this guy).


  1. Lebron showed much more teamspirit and skill than the ball hog Kobe did at this Olympics :). Even though the Lakers got Howard, I see Miami dominating for a couple more years!

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