LeBron James is one of the most polarizing figures in the NBA and professional sports. Those who love him are mesmerized by his physical dominance and athleticism. Those who hate on him are either still salty over “The Decision” or stuck comparing everything he does to Michael Jordan. He’s hated because of a deeper issue I like to call, “LeBron Fatigue.”
Just think about it, people have been told James was the next big thing since he was in high school. That’s the first time I recall ever seeing a kid my age playing live on ESPN, and the hype machine has been running wild ever since. It’s one thing for sportscasters and reporters to make over-the-top statements about James’ legacy because it’s their job. It’s another thing for the player himself to bask in his stardom ,and that’s exactly what James’ has done.
He’s a smart guy. When he does interviews, he seems to say all the right things; he praises teammates and talks about the coaching staff in high esteem. However, his actions speak of a different type of person.
He was touted as “The Chosen One,” in an issue of Sports Illustrated while he was still in high school. Obviously, James thought that was pretty accurate because it’s now tattooed on his back. He celebrates himself a little more than some care to watch or listen to; it gets on people’s nerves.
Then he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh angered people when they took the stage with a celebration for doing nothing more than singing contacts to come to the Miami Heat. Couple that along with the fact that James predicted, “not one, not two, not three, not four,” in regards to the amount of championships they were going to win.
There’s also the fact that people tagged the “King James” nickname on him. What is he the king of? The king of flopping? Complaining?
It’s not all his fault. The media, as well as those in social media, fuel both sides of this story. They anoint him and tear him down every game. Everything he does get analyzed into the ground. People just get sick and tired of seeing, hearing and discussing James.
One of the biggest factors in the love, hate relationship of James are the Jordan comparisons. This is a generational thing; it’s no different than people debating the best running backs of all time. Older generations say Jim Brown was the best, and the new generation still looks at Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith. Every generation views their best as the best.
It’s in our nature to debate about topics, but why can’t these two be individuals? Jordan was great, and James is great.
James is going to hold every major statistical record by the time he is done playing. Does that make him the best? No. Does the fact that Jordan won six championships make him the best? No. If that was the case, Robert Horry‘s seven rings or Bill Russell‘s 11 titles would vault them in front of Jordan.
Defining players by one or two stats or numbers makes no sense. We don’t have to rank or make a list about everything.
Personally, I don’t hate James, I hate the constant comparisons and the fact he’s shoved in my face on a regular basis. I acknowledge that he is the best now, but in the end, comparing great players gets us nowhere. We end up diminishing player’s accomplishments because someone did it first, or better.
People hate James because he is that good. He has the power to change history and alter the future, and he’s truly one of a kind. This type of player doesn’t come around very often. You don’t have to like his attitude, or who he plays for or with, but he deserves our respect.