9 years ago an 18 year old high school basketball phenom decided to bypass college and go straight to the pros. He was immediately castrated for doing so because so-called “basketball aficionado’s” wanted him to go to college and “learn how to play the game”. Lebron promptly won the Rookie of the Year award over Dewayne Wade who played 3 years at Marquette, and Carmelo Anthony that played 1 year at Syracuse. He did something only 2 other players in the history of the NBA had done, average over 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. The other 2 players that accomplished this were Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson, two of the best players the game has ever WITNESSed, pun intended. Looks like things worked out!
During his rookie season he was crowned King James by the marketing heads at Nike and as any 19 year old would have done, if put in the same situation, he accepted the title and ran with it. But regardless of what he did, anyone that knows endorsement deals know that they have a lot of control over your on and off the court image, so he had little to no input into the decision. Besides, if you were offered $90 million to endorse a shoe, and be crowned as a king, you would have made the same decision as he did with no hesitation.
Two years later, in 2005, he made another decision that had sports pundits, business execs and anybody with an opinion up in arms. The Internets was on fire. How could this young [black] athlete be so brazen? Lebron fired his agent and hired his long time friends to run his fastly growing empire. Everyone had something negative to say about this move. He was making the biggest mistake of his life, his career as a major endorser was dead in the water. How could he let these young [black] kids RUiN his career like this? But Lebron had faith in the abilities of his friends and they never skipped a beat, gaining more and more endorsements and helping their lifelong friend build an even greater empire. Once again things worked out the way he planned them!
The following year, in 2006 he led his team to the playoffs but they got knocked out in the Eastern Conference semifinals by Detroit. The next year, in 2007, he led his team to the Finals for the first time in franchise history but was defeated in 4 games by the San Antonio Spurs. The following year they were knocked out in the semifinals and the year after they got Shaq to help him out. They made it back to the conference finals but were defeated by Orlando.
In 2010, Lebron’s last year under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, they went back to the playoffs and were defeated by Boston in the conference semifinals once again. This would be his last year wearing a Cavalier uniform; The Decider had decided to use free agency to take his talents to a new team.
Armchair I used to play basketball regular job working traveling league coaches, sports pundits and everybody else I forgot to mention that think they are basketball guru’s are going to have something to say about this, but as the title says HI HATER’s!
Tonight the Miami Heat are tipping off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in what is sure to be one of the most talked about finals in recent memory. Why? Because Lebron James one of the best players the game has WITNESSed, pun intended, will be appearing in his 3rd championship series but has yet to win one. I believe this will be the one.
Lebron James has been cast as a villain every since he came into the league because he accepted a title that the league and his sponsors bestowed upon him. And that title was King James. The marketing material that followed pictured him in a crown and sitting on a throne just as a king would, and it was accompanied by a simple word. WITNESS!
Behold the best basketball player has arrived at 19 years old straight out of high school. Since then he’s been loved by many and hated by many, even though he had nothing to do with his branding, he accepted it just like any other 19 year old who thought they were the best player in the world would have done. I guess that was a mistake?
Then he realized that he would never win a championship with the team that he was on and exercised his right as a free agent to put together and become part of a team that had a far greater chance to win a title than his former team, which gained him the HATE of an entire city and the league brass. Every since that move he has been cast as a bigger villain and the aforementioned armchair, travel league and I used to play basketball, but now work a regular job super coaches and pundits can’t get enough of calling him everything but what he is, one of the best players that has ever played the game.
Here are a few myths that continue to be propped up by the league and the sports media: Continue reading