Oh you’d better believe it.
You see, the common nature of people is regress into habits, and one habit that has arisen over the past 24 months has been the constant need to pin all blame and scrutiny on LeBron James.
Has it necessarily been justified? No, but that doesn’t matter, especially when dealing with mob mentality, and make no mistake that the hatred that followed this guy like a shadow was directly eminent of what you see from an angry mob. The ridiculousness of the actions is overshadowed by how many people are trampling over their injustices. No one really cares because there are so many loud people doing it that simply drown you out if you attempt to offer an objective and rational perspective.
Many said throughout the season, throughout the playoffs and even in the post James Championship period, that all the hate will now subside forever. I am a lot more skeptical.
Many people have created a habit for themselves to swing to the ‘LeChoke’ opinion rather than anything more appropriate. I have no doubt that every failure for the rest of his career, whether it be minor or major, will be met by, at the least, murmurs of the question marks that once were. Winning Championships is the easiest way to shut people up and the easiest way to justify your standing, but that does not mean that everyone out there is straight thinking as that. They will attach that thinking to other players(Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson), but for whatever reason LeBron James is above that, or below it, depending on which way you see it.
Few will argue Team USA is LeBron’s team, and those who do are blind, ignorant and largely stupid fans. Kobe’s time has come and passed, Durant’s time is in the distant future and really there is only one other man who can hold claim to the team and he has to fight for his position with 2 other capable players (Chris Paul). In reading what I just said that’s fairly ludicrous to suggest it could be Chris Paul’s team, but I rate him that damn highly.
Anyways, this is LeBron’s team. That does not mean they will only go as far as he will take them, this team should go all the way regardless of what he does, but the ball must and will be in his hands more than anyone else, he will make the majority of the plays down the stretch and he will be given the hardest assignment on the defensive end, regardless of what position they play.
I think we have gotten to a place where the country is beginning to collectively forgive (although he has nothing really to be sorry for) and re-embrace LeBron James. I don’t think we will see him booed in every arena he enters next season. If he wins Gold, I predict he will be cheered in some. Should he lead this team to Gold as he did the Miami Heat, the perspective of LeBron James could change even greater than I can see it doing so.
However, should this team fall short of expectations, as we saw them do in 2006, I would not be at all surprised if the same irrelevant, ignorant and ridiculous criticism that followed him through his final year in Cleveland and first 2 years in Miami, would again rear it’s ugly head.
There is a cowardly minority out there, mostly occupied by Clevelanders, that are waiting for an opportunity to re-label him as ‘The Frozen One’ and whatever idiotic nicknames Skip Bayless arrogantly believes he created, and an Olympic fail would help them regain their leverage after all but losing the lot of it following his incredible Championship run.
Are we really at a hugely different place with the collective perspective of LeBron James as of now? Not really. It’s just at a lower volume. A shark will often bump or nibble it’s prey before it makes the fatal attack, but do not underestimate the fact that if it wants you, it will be lurking somewhere below, waiting (this actually happened to me once, something I won’t enter on this but I am happy to share it via email or over Twitter). The American media and public are as merciless a predator as a shark and will tear your carcass up until the water is churned red.
The biggest difference now is that those of us on his side of the fence simply don’t care anymore. You can read into this article as me trying to deter an unlikely but potential attack, but it couldn’t be more opposite. I write this to say to all of you who continue to unnecessarily hate that we have no time for you anymore.
We won’t lie, it really got to us even up until a month ago, but now that he has proven himself to all that opposed him, whatever regressions you may experience and offer back to us will not even appear on our radar.
I just hope that if James can emulate his Miami Heat performances for America at the Olympics, that the country, and by country I mean fans of opposing teams, give him the respect he deserves when he enters your buildings.
Hey, at least for now you too can experience what we go through nearly every single night. You can try to hide your little fist pumps and chest thumps, but you’re going to have a lot of fun supporting LeBron James, even if it’s just over the next couple of weeks.
Who knows, it might even last.