LeBron James: Hate Hater

(Ethan Sherwood Strauss is once again in the HoopSpeak lab, concocting new ways to defend LeBron James from criticism. Strauss does this because he likes how LeBron James plays basketball, and would rather not be disturbed while living vicariously through his favorite Heatle.)

LeBron’s Tweet:
Crazy. Karma is a b****..Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!

Totally. Justified.

And–courtesy of Dan Gilbert–here’s why:
“The self-declared former ‘King’ will be taking the ‘curse’ with him down south. And until he does ‘right’ by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.”

When I started writing about sports and politics, I didn’t sign up for emailed death threats. Didn’t expect my Mom to read countless article comments about how pathetic her son is. I’m smalltime, so this is merely a toenail-dip in our nation’s ocean of misplaced rage.

I can’t imagine what it’s like for LeBron James to swim against a bile tsunami–and for what? Because he over-celebrated a career upgrade? His transgression certainly signified more to Dan Gilbert, who had no qualms fanning the hate sea like an aggrieved Poseidon. From afar, many laughed at Dan in Reeling Life, but his serious intent was to gain support among the locally unhinged. Lacking LeBron’s rights, Gilbert seemed keen on owning the backlash.

In December, like-minded Cavs fans jeered LeBron up close. Throngs chanted his mother’s rumored sexual proclivities, and one sign holder proudly mocked James’s fatherless childhood. This is deeply personal invective that goes far beyond the “boo.” Granted the King reaps stardom’s spoils, but why should anybody–no matter how rich–tolerate this crap? Why should anyone grin and bear messages like:

“Your mother is unclean. You have no father. You betrayed us because we own you.”

And if Dan Gilbert helped fuel such sentiments, why should James just take it?

Last I checked, people were up in arms about players no longer holding vendettas against opposing teams. LBJ symbolized an unseemly era of intersquad athlete friendship. But somehow it’s wrong for James to root against a team, owned by a guy who openly despises him? I’d think it wrong for him to root for it.

Today, the Cavs are terrible, the Heat are great–for reasons divorced from morals. I don’t believe in God or karma, but I do believe in reciprocity. If any Cleveland fan feels slighted by LeBron’s Gilbert-focused diss, they should reflect on what happened the last time James came “home.”

(Oh, almost forgot to mention the sarcastic disclaimer: Race has nothing whatsoever to do with this because race never has anything to do with how a largely white fanbase fetishizes, observes and judges a group of largely large black men. Perish the thought.)

Twitter: @SherwoodStrauss/Email: Ethanstra@gmail.com

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  5. His Own Man: LeBron James Finally Escapes Michael Jordan’s Shadow


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