Chris Paul's "Decision" More Cruel Than LeBron James' Despite Heat's Villain Label

By Jeric Griffin

Everybody hates Miami Heat forward LeBron James. That is, everybody except the few bandwagon fans who switched teams the night of The Decision and the Heat fans who welcomed his talents to South Beach. However, LeBron’s fall from grace was caused by a few tough public relations (PR) moves. Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul’s recent switching of teams was much more villain-like from a basketball standpoint. On a night when both players performed similarly, the Clippers’ win overshadowed this and brought the world’s dislike for LeBron back into the limelight.

When James announced he was going to sign with the Heat as a free agent in 2010 on national television, he instantly labeled himself the NBA’s “bad guy.” Since then, he’s been skewered for every missed shot, especially those in the fourth quarter. The world’s dislike for LeBron has led to a label of choker; he can’t play well in the fourth quarter and he’ll never win a title.

Do jokes like “the new LeBron iPhone has no rings” sound familiar?

After James shot 1-3 in the fourth quarter and 0-3 in overtime of the Heat’s loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night, the choker jokes and pokes were firing on all cylinders again. However, those same persecutors failed to mention Paul’s poor performance. The Clippers’ newest star shot 1-5 in the fourth quarter and 0-1 in overtime, but all he received after the game was praise for being such a “class act” and “great guy.”

I’m not arguing either of those claims, but Paul actually performed worse than James in the fourth quarter and overtime of the game, but you didn’t hear anybody saying CP3 choked. As mentioned, Paul’s departure from a city with the luck of a crippled guy juggling mirrors on a unicycle was even worse than James’ as well.

LeBron was a free agent when he chose to leave Cleveland; although he left the town and state that literally loved him, he was still “free” to play wherever he wanted. Paul was still under contract with the New Orleans Hornets when he departed. The trade that sent him to Los Angeles was entirely his decision because he had made it clear he did not want to stay in New Orleans.

The difference in these two scenarios is the PR moves behind them. Paul was quieter than a church mouse while NBA commissioner David Stern negotiated a deal that would get him out of New Orleans. When the initial deal to send him to the Lakers fell through, all he said was “WoW” via Twitter.

Granted, James didn’t tell anyone he was going to leave Cleveland until his nationally-televised monstrosity. Paul wanted out of New Orleans, but he didn’t make that wish known publicly. The only reason anyone knew about it was a couple of beat reporters who said he “wasn’t happy.” Did you watch the Hornets the past couple of years? Who could blame him?

Everybody hates Miami Heat forward LeBron James. That is, everybody except the few bandwagon fans who switched teams the night of The Decision and the Heat fans who welcomed his talents to South Beach. However, LeBron’s fall from grace was caused by a few tough public relations (PR) moves. Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul’s recent switching of teams was much more villain-like from a basketball standpoint. On a night when both players performed similarly, the Clippers’ win overshadowed this and brought the world’s dislike for LeBron back into the limelight.

When James announced he was going to sign with the Heat as a free agent in 2010 on national television, he instantly labeled himself the NBA’s “bad guy.” Since then, he’s been skewered for every missed shot, especially those in the fourth quarter. The world’s dislike for LeBron has led to a label of choker; he can’t play well in the fourth quarter and he’ll never win a title.

Do jokes like “the new LeBron iPhone has no rings” sound familiar?

After James shot 1-3 in the fourth quarter and 0-3 in overtime of the Heat’s loss to the Clippers on Wednesday night, the choker jokes and pokes were firing on all cylinders again. However, those same persecutors failed to mention Paul’s poor performance. The Clippers’ newest star shot 1-5 in the fourth quarter and 0-1 in overtime, but all he received after the game was praise for being such a “class act” and “great guy.”

I’m not arguing either of those claims, but Paul actually performed worse than James in the fourth quarter and overtime of the game, but you didn’t hear anybody saying CP3 choked. As mentioned, Paul’s departure from a city with the luck of a crippled guy juggling mirrors on a unicycle was even worse than James’ as well.

LeBron was a free agent when he chose to leave Cleveland; although he left the town and state that literally loved him, he was still “free” to play wherever he wanted. Paul was still under contract with the New Orleans Hornets when he departed. The trade that sent him to Los Angeles was entirely his decision because he had made it clear he did not want to stay in New Orleans.

The difference in these two scenarios is the PR moves behind them. Paul was quieter than a church mouse while NBA commissioner David Stern negotiated a deal that would get him out of New Orleans. When the initial deal to send him to the Lakers fell through, all he said was “WoW” via Twitter.

Granted, James didn’t tell anyone he was going to leave Cleveland until his nationally-televised monstrosity. Paul wanted out of New Orleans, but he didn’t make that wish known publicly. The only reason anyone knew about it was a couple of beat reporters who said he “wasn’t happy.” Did you watch the Hornets the past couple of years? Who could blame him?

Still, Paul is laying low regarding his move to Los Angeles and that’s why nobody is on his back about it. The first thing James did after everyone verbally crucified him for his “Decision” was essentially tell a televised pep rally crowd in Miami that the Heat would win at least eight titles while he was playing for the team.

Paul and James are close friends; they’ve both made that a public fact and they played on the United States Olympic team together. Paul doesn’t want James to be ridiculed the way he is, but CP3 isn’t willing to take the wrap from his much taller buddy. He did send a nice gesture LeBron’s way after the game by calling him “a good dude.” However, that doesn’t mean we’ll forget about The Decision and it doesn’t mean we’ll remember that it raised $3 million for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

The fact LeBron is so publicly scrutinized is nobody’s fault but his own. However, Paul’s decision to leave New Orleans was just as “cruel” (a word used by many to describe James’ move) as LeBron’s. What a difference PR makes in the minds of the average American.

Follow Jeric Griffin on Twitter @JericGriffin

You May Also Like