For the record, I still like the Heat in this series. They’re +180 to win it, which is absolutely insane. Even if they lose tonight they’re still winning this series. The NBA is about individual superstars, and the Heat have LeBron so they win as long as he plays. Period. Speaking of period…
Anyway, when crampgate happened after Thursday night’s game most people obviously shit all over LeBron for tapping out in a game that could potentially define his legacy. Plenty of idiots have come to his defense though. Obviously the biggest haven of morons with cold takes and college degrees work in Bristol CT at the four letter network. Some stooge named Ethan Sherwood Strauss was one of the first to come to LeBron’s defense on ESPN.com immediately after cramp gate. Here’s what he had to say in defense of the “King.”
“Their arena presented a large obstacle for James on Thursday night.”
Newsflash, the heat was the same exact temperature for everyone. But somehow Bron-Bron was the only one affected by it. This is the same guy who ironically is sponsored by Powerade, a drink that is known for making you NOT cramp up.
Earlier in the game LeBron was recorded by cameras joking, “They are trying to smoke us out of here.”
Guess what? He wasn’t joking. He came ready to rock that night with a bag full of excuses. He realized that winning this game would require effort, which he despises. Why work when you can just have championships handed to you?
If Tim Duncan suffers those cramps it’s probably a footnote. When James suffers them, it’s a trial. Obviously this is because few people have anything against the former, and many people have something against the latter.”
Right. The thing is that Duncan DIDN’T get those cramps. Only LeBron did. It’s always ONLY LeBron, the face of the NBA. See, fans want the best player in the league to be a transcendent leader. Instead we have this guy, which is a big reason the NBA sucks so badly. And if Duncan HAD pulled a stunt like this, then yes, you’re right. We wouldn’t hold it against him. Guess why? Because he’s never done it before. LeBron has. We’d know something was seriously, seriously wrong with Duncan to be taken out of an NBA Finals. LeBron hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt.
This moment is indicative of how, no matter how much he wins, James continues to play before a constituency that still harbors resentment toward him. The ranks can lessen a bit as the victories pile up. The ranks can lesses as the victories pile up. But the group is always there – waiting for moments like this.
And can you blame the fans? You know why fans never got on MJ like this? Because he never did an hour long show to announce he was going to the South Beach. Because MJ was a ruthless killer, but not a narcissistic dooshnozzle. Because LeBron is physically a threat to surpass MJ as the greatest, and fans don’t wanna see a giant weenie like him do that.
So yea, the detractors will always be there ready to pounce. But if Bron-Bron didn’t give them so much material then they’d have nothing to talk about.
Perhaps it’s the Jordan comparisons that have rankled a certain bloc of those who traffic in 90s nostalgia. Perhaps it’s also the legion of Kobe fans who would rather not see another perimeter player eclipse their favorite. That anxiety of comparison plays a role, but the dominant factor is probably a decision that’s in the past but continues to permeate the present.
Newsflash – the 90’s NBA was the shit. That’s not nostalgia, that’s a scientific fact. Sure Jordan won all the time but he did it with the team that drafted him, and he did it with a supporting cast that pales in comparison to LeBron’s. Plus he’s missing the most important point here – LeBron’s style wouldn’t have worked in the 90’s. Jordan was a great player because he created his own shot so well. LeBron is more of a slasher. The reason Jordan didn’t slash as much as LeBron was because Anthony Mason, Bill Lambier, Charles Barkley, Chares Oakley, and a plethora of other power forwards were going to knock him on his face if he wanted to take it to the hoop on them.
For instance, here’s what happened when you took it to the hoop in the 90’s
And here’s what happens when LeBron tries the same thing
When there is contact, it’s usually LeBron running over some poor schmuck like resident NBA jew Kirk Hinrich, and it almost always ends in a blocking foul
Ethan Sherwoord Strauss (the resident LeBron apologizer at ESPN.com) will go to any length to defend LeBron. And of course the easiest way to do that is to blame racism. Because LeBron James is black, so obviously if you don’t like him then you’re a giant racist. Here’s what he wrote last week:
LeBron was once asked by CNN if race played a role in the post-Decision backlash. His response seems rather benign when extracted from the frenzied context of late 2010: “I think so, at times. There’s always a race factor,” James said, stating what appears to be objective fact when you dig into the numbers. His dry “at times” assessment of course provoked outrage. LeBron was right, though.
Imagine MJ ever playing the race card? You know what MJ would do if people didn’t like him? He’d just win another championship and eat your children for dinner. Because MJ was a vicious cold blooded killer. One thing he wouldn’t do though is blame white people for not liking him.
Newsflash LeBron – we don’t find you unlikeable because of your race. We find you unlikeable because you voluntarily took part in an hour long show only to announce that you were selling your soul and playing for the Miami Heat because you couldn’t win a championship without other superstars to pass the ball to in the clutch.
But Strauss even made a graph so I guess he’s right…
First of all, this graph just proves my point. MJ was likable, and the four other guys were not because they were assholes. Shaq was likable to a degree but it was kind of cheap because he was so much bigger than everyone else. Like LeBron he couldn’t win with the team that drafted him so he went to a big market team and joined another super star. Kobe is a rich kid who may or may not be a serial rapist. Iverson had strong feelings about practice, and like LeBron couldn’t win anything because he didn’t have super stars with him. So yea, the reason white people don’t like him isn’t because he’s black – it’s because he’s an asshate just like Shaq, Iverson, and Kobe.
The bottom line is that LeBron could’ve been Michael. Physically he’s unmatched in the NBA. Kevin Durant isn’t close to the complete player that LeBron is. But he fucked himself over with the decision, his constant flopping, his crying, and his cramping up when the moment is the biggest.
Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.