To some people he’s a basketball demi-god, while to others he is the most hated man in NBA today, but whatever you want to think or say about him LeBron James is hard to ignore.
The kid from Akron, Ohio first attracted attention when he was in high school and when, in 2002 he won the Gatorade National Player of the Year his now famous nickname was first coined – King James. And ever since then the name LeBron James has become not only a household name in the US but across the world as well.
But it was not until 2010 and King James was about to become a free agent for the first time that he really began to attract the kind of negative reactions from some fans that he does today. On any given day if you check LeBron James’ Twitter the negative comments directed his way often outnumber the positive – especially true after the Miami Heat lost Game 7 of the 2011 NBA Finals – and the crown they had promised to bring to South Beach – to the upstart Dallas Mavericks.
Why all the hate for a player who some feel may be better than the great Michael Jordan? Partly because of his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, essentially his hometown team, for the glamor of the Miami Heat and partly because of the way he made that choice. In the summer of 2010 Lebron James told the world that he would announce his choice of team on a live ESPN TV special “The Decision”.
His intentions were probably good, the money raised would got to the Boys and Girls Club of America, a cause close to his heart. It was just the flashy, maybe arrogant, way he did it that evoked all the ire of these who were not even Cleveland fans.
“The Decision” was a bad idea from the beginning but apparently no one warned LeBron about that. Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks called the show “the big gets public humiliation in history” and ex NBA superstar turned analyst Charles Barkley a ‘punk move” claiming “That was torture. I want that hour back in my life”. The entire city of Cleveland seemed to turn against their former favorite son overnight, not so much for the fact he was leaving them to head to the beach but for the way he announced his intentions to the world.
The failure of the Big Three – James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh – to beat the veteran Mavs did little to make things better. But Lebron does not seem to care too much. He is still the biggest star in the NBA today, Lebron James’ Twitter has 2.4 million followers and counting, his talent is nothing anyone questions and his best years are certainly yet to come. Despite all of the haters, it is still good to be King James.