Speaking Through LeBron

(Back at the HoopSpeak lab, Ethan Sherwood Strauss is coming up with new, creative ways to defend LeBron)

When asked about a Favre analogy, LeBron James said:

Brett (had) great years here in Green Bay, and any time a great competitor like that leaves, no one wants to see that, but they’ve done a great job of regrouping with Aaron Rodgers and I believe that Cleveland will do the same

How magnanimous. And he was ripped for it. For some, it’s hard to speak rationally to the 24 hour news cycle. Those tagged with scarlet letters make any comment and the bouncing, hooting, screeching children of media yell, “OOOO! You’re in TRUB-BULLLLL!!!” in a Puritanical ritual of self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s how the PR Troll process works. Pundits pretend to spot a foot-in-mouth, so they can be seen as the savvy foot extractors.

But this maligned quote highlights an underplayed truth: In words, LeBron James has been quite kind to those who despise him. For all the talk of how James is the Anti-Sportsman of the year, a devil, a pariah, a cautionary tale, few have mentioned, “He hasn’t spoken ill of anyone.” God knows I would have. Were I LeBron, my reputation-imploding response would have been:

Brett Favre? Maybe. I wouldn’t know. I’m too tired to read every column by a midlife crisis with a laptop. Perhaps that speaks to my lack of effort? Media before me, please chasten LeBron James well. That is what you do, right? You take to the airwaves and Internet, in a grand collective effort to school marm me proper. And thank GOD for that, really. Because while clawing my way out of poverty, I always prayed for the day when comfortable, pot-bellied slobs could regale me with advice on how to be more Jordanish. Go ahead, write that column…tell me what to do…pick apart these words you’re hearing right now. Like a psycho, address it to my person–act like I’m reading. Pretend your journalism platform gives you a direct line–like I’m the Pope and you’re God.

Do that, but know: I don’t listen to this stuff because none of you matter. You could all die tomorrow and your newspapers would probably cheer at the savings. Well, that’s if they still exist. More importantly, none of you know what it’s like. You just jealously resent my ability to indulge in what it is.

Even less care is reserved for the Cleveland fans. I keep telling these idiots to enjoy what we had and they take it as a license for permanent misery. Sorry I failed as actor in your psychodrama, Steve from Shaker Heights. Sorry your marriage fell apart, I’m sure my continued proximity would have made you whole again. My bad on not winning a shiny ring while rubbing Drew Carey’s belly. It was all I ever wanted for Cleveland back while growing up in NotCleveland.

Gee, guess I really don’t understand the supreme gravity of what sports means to the wealthy ticket holders of poor, blighted Ohio. Oh wait, I totally understood–but it slipped my mind. You see, I don’t think about any of you people, most of the time. And why should I? I’m an abstract symbol, a vicarious thrill for emasculated masses. You wear me like a coat, or literally, a jersey. You don’t care about the actual me. And the feeling is mutual.

All that’s offensive, and not how I feel. But it’s what I would have said–were I LeBron James. Credit to LeBron for being a much nicer person than myself as LeBron.


Related posts:

  1. Phillip Roth and the LeBron James “Scandal”
  2. LeBron James and The Absence of Basketball Bushido
  3. How to compare LeBron James and Kevin Durant
  4. His Own Man: LeBron James Finally Escapes Michael Jordan’s Shadow
  5. LeBron Leaves Cleveland: Basketball Fans Rejoice!


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