Friday, June 10, 2011

LeBron gives two

LeBron James gives two fucks. Separate ones, actually. He gives a fuck about winning, but it’s becoming more and more apparent (judging by his finals performance) that he also gives a fuck about the thing he led us all to believe he didn’t give a fuck about last summer.

I remember when he first made “The Decision.” I remember the ensuing days, when he seemed to genuinely not care about the uproar his choice had caused, which got more media coverage than lots of other, more worthy stuff (that I guess I’m feeding into by writing about him yet again — I hate myself). I remember a point during the season, when the Miami Heat were in a slump and he started Tweeting stuff about how his team was something similar to the armed forces. (If he’s really into comparing the two, then I’ll go with it: Some dudes from the armed forces recently stepped up and performed in what had to have been one of the most pressure-filled and important portions of their careers by offing Osama Bin Laden. James didn’t even reach double figures in an NBA Finals game.)

During all of that, I was under the impression that James’s arrogance prevented him from either realizing that everyone hated him, or from really caring. 

I guess I believed that James sincerely wanted to win, more than anything. He still keeps saying so, especially when he plays a shitty game, and I think maybe he likes to think he believes that, too. There’s something stopping him from taking the measures he needs to in order to do the winning part, though.

It’s not like the dude isn’t good. He had a triple-double last night, something almost everyone in the United States has never done in their lives on any competitive level. But lots of pro players, like Jason Kidd, achieve that kind of stat line on the regular (or at least used to). The thing is, when it really mattered, James was getting outplayed by J.J. Barea, a dude who comes off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks and isn’t even a full head taller than Danny DeVito. James has shrunk away during pivotal competitive moments numerous times before last night, something Bill Simmons calls the “LeBrondown.”

He just doesn’t seem to have “IT.” At least not right now. You know what I mean. He doesn’t have that intangible thing that puts him at the top, like when you have a conversation with someone after a fizzled relationship and say he or she just didn’t have “IT.” I mean, talking in a hoops sense, obviously. I guess you can call it a killer instinct, but that only works for the basketball part of that analogy.

Michael Jordan had “IT.” Larry Bird had “IT,” and DIrk Nowitzki also seems to have “IT,” and I hope we’ll get to see him take “IT” all the way to a championship (that’s the altar in the aforementioned analogy).

I’m not saying James doesn’t have what I’m talking about, it’s just that he’s not displaying it right now. I think it’s because he’s distracted. Maybe getting to the highest possible stage the NBA allows has made him realize just how many people hate the shit out of him, and how many people want to see him fail.

Think about it: Nobody likes him except for genuine Heat fans, people who bet on the Heat and those fucking idiots who always post Facebook statuses about how awesome LeBron James is because they just decided to pick some guy who is supposed to be the most-skilled player and have decided to stick with his inadequacy with even more Facebook statuses just because they can’t admit they’re wrong. It’s like if someone decided Michael Phelps was his or her favorite swimmer because he’s supposed to be the best, but then stood beside him after they realized he was a really good swimmer during qualifiers and then blew fucking goats during the Olympics.

At least the only player I post statuses about is Brian Cardinal.

I guess I can’t really empathize with James, because although I’m a douche bag, I am not internationally known for being one. Also, I’ve never been touted as one of the greatest ballplayers to ever live. But I think his problem might be like anybody else’s when they realize their actions have made most reasonable people detest them (if hating an athlete for something sports-related can legitimately be called reasonable). It has to become difficult to go about your daily activities adequately once you really face the way people think about you, you know?

You might be able to function for a while, like the regular season if you’re James, or during middle school if you’re a playground bully. But once you get to a point where it matters more — like when you’re alone at your parents’ house eating Cheetos, beating off and watching George Lopez reruns on a Friday night, or you’re on the verge of capturing a championship the majority of the population will be disgusted to see you win — you tend to look at yourself objectively a little bit. This makes you realize your actions and the fallout from them have had implications that are probably going to affect the way people look at you for a pretty long time, if not forever.

James is like Rachel Berry, from “Glee.” He is probably one of the best in his realm at what he does, and he’ll have you believe that all he wants to do is win. He wants you to believe this is paramount to him, and he tries to convince himself of the same. But his arrogant and unattractive personality has landed him in a place where people really dislike him, to the point they don’t really want to see him succeed. And I think it’s starting to get to him. He’s shrinking from the limelight when it matters the most, and he has taken a step back to let Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (who should’ve stayed with the Raptors, because he looks more like a dinosaur than Shawn Kemp’s coke-addled ass made him resemble a Supersonic), like how Rachel gave up solos for Mercedes, even though she knew deep down she was the most talented member of the glee club.

If James doesn’t do something very impressive to help the Heat win the next two games, I think the team’s failure will be something that weighs on him hardcore, and maybe for the rest of his career. Depending on if he decides to do some actual work in the offseason that will allow him to come back as some dude with a legitimate chip on his shoulder who wants to annihilate teams and will stop at nothing until he does so and wins. I’m not sure if he has that in him, just like I’m not sure Rachel Berry has it in her to bounce back from that devastating Nationals loss from the season two finale.

Michael Jordan gave a fuck, and that fuck was winning championships, whatever it cost him. It may be unfair to compare James and Jordan, because Jordan was an unmatched competitive robot, but I think the two faced similar circumstances in that they both were subject to some very high expectations. (Kobe Bryant fits into this mold, as well, but more on the Jordan side of the spectrum.)

If James really cares so much about winning, he has to shake off the thought that so many people despise him. That’s what a lot of successful and awful people have done in the past. People aren’t going to start liking him again just because his team lost the series. People probably aren’t going to start liking him ever again, and he needs to accept that. He cannot give two fucks.

LeBron James made his bed, and he has to sleep in it. I guess he has to decide if he wants to sleep in that bed alone, or with a trophy.

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