I think, maybe, I want to like LeBron James.
But he doesn't make it easy.
When Cleveland beat Golden State LeBron got face down on the floor and appeared to be sobbing. I was thinking: "Is this real or is it a performance?"
Typically I would be crying right there with him - I am an emotional son of a bitch and I can cry for or with anybody in a variety of circumstances. But LeBron is so damn cocky I am one step removed from him, instead of being right there with him.
Tears were running down his cheeks as he hugged his teammates, but even then I cynically thought maybe they were tears of appreciation of his own greatness.
I have always wanted to read his "letter to Cleveland" ever since he wrote it. It intrigued me. The idea that an athlete would write an open letter to the city he abandoned as he prepared to return.
He wrote it in 2014. I just read it today. Apparently I am an exceptionally busy man..
I wanted the letter to be an amazing work of art, a cliche shattering monument to one man's attempt to express himself honestly and uniquely. Speaking directly to the people who live close to where he was brought up, the city he left to pursue an NBA championship elsewhere; as opposed to watering down the moment with a press conference, complete with vapid journalistic questions.
It is entirely possible I am trying too hard to trash the man. I can't be objective about an ego that is bigger than my house. I'll run through some of the quotes anyway; you be the judge.
"People there (Cleveland) have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I'm their son." I don't know, it feels to me like he is assuming too much. Their son? My sons are sacred to me. They are a goddamn religion unto themselves. I understand that fans worship their athletes but I am not sure the son metaphor applies.
"The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys" - speaking of leaving Miami. Not what we built - what I built. Now in total honesty he does drop a couple of "we's" later in the same paragraph. But I think the "I built" thing reflects his true perspective.
"It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010" - talking about bringing a championship to Cleveland. "My patience will get tested. ...................But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn't know they could go. ..................I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously."
He sounds like he thinks he's a goddamn prophet (but I could be wrong.)
OK. Now, what he said the night they won Game 7. "I don't know why the man above gives me the hardest road, but the man above don't put you in situations that you can't handle. And I just kept that same positive attitude, like, instead of saying, 'Why me?,' just saying "This is what he wants me to do."
Oh my God - the hardest road? Playing in the NBA for ungodly sums of money and being worshiped like a deity himself?
And even though he didn't really ask "Why me?", the thought obviously crossed his mind.
Why me? Seriously? Is he seriously asking why he has to carry this heavy load of leading a team to a championship? What a horrific burden.
Now, in his defense as an athlete........................he lead all players in the finals in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals - the first player ever to do that in a playoff series. He also became the third player in NBA history to put up a triple double in a Game 7.
His teammates obviously respect him and look to him as their leader. That says a lot.
Can't he just do it all humbly, quietly, and with dignity? He could just let the stats speak for themselves. He's got three goddamn rings, for Christ sake.
We should settle this man to man. He should come to my home, sit down and chat with me. Maybe accidentally leave behind a million dollars in cash when he leaves.
That might change my opinion.