10 Things LeBron James Can Do To Lessen The Hate
There is no doubt that LeBron James is the most hated man in basketball today. Practically everyone outside Miami rooted for the eventual champions, the Dallas Mavericks. Not because they’re Mavs fans, but because they all want to see LeBron fail, and fail he did, in pathetic fashion no less. He remains ringless after eight seasons in the league.
But I still believe James will get his rings. At 26, he still has a dozen or so years’ worth of shots at the Larry O’Brien trophy. However, James needs more than just pure talent to win. He needs all the positive vibes he can get, and he won’t be getting any of that anytime soon, what with more than half the world wanting him to lose. Whether LeBron admits it or not, his performance has been affected by all the hate, that he actually wants to be liked. Here are some of the things he can do to actually get there.
1. Apologize for “The Decision”
This is where all of LeBron’s major troubles actually started. While people completely understand it was within his right to play for any team he chooses, dumping an entire city that worshipped him for seven years in such a tasteless and self-serving manner, on a live TV special no less, made everyone, even those who didn’t really care much about basketball, hate him.
An admission that the entire thing was a mistake and a sincere apology to Cleveland, the NBA and its fans will go a long way in restoring people’s respect and faith in him. And please, spare us the “It’s for the kids” excuse.
2. Fire Maverick Carter
“The Decision” wasn’t his idea, but it was Carter who gave his biggest client the go-signal to proceed with one of the biggest PR disasters in sports history. Since then, James’ agent has done nothing but orchestrate for James one boneheaded move after another, from coaching him to play the race card with regards to the negative response “The Decision” got, to commercials that seem to spit in Cleveland’s face. For an agent who’s supposed to be moving heaven and earth for his number one client, Carter is surely not doing his childhood friend any favors in the PR department.
3. Take Head Out of Sphincter, Then Speak
Recent case in point: his post-Finals presscon where he practically told everyone who didn’t root for him that their lives will still suck the following morning, and he’d still be living the life of a multi-millionaire sports superstar. He probably didn’t mean for his words to be interpreted that way, but athletes of James’ talents and stature need to learn to be more tactful. Whether he likes it or not, James’ words will always be overanalyzed, which is why he really needs to be schooled in the subtle art of talking to the media.
4. Stop flopping. If not possible, at least make sure there's a bit of contact before falling down
LeBron didn’t invent flopping, but he’s one of the best at selling them. Think of the flops he did against 2011 MVP Derrick Rose in the Eastern Conference Finals and Brendan Haywood in the NBA Finals. There was practically no contact in both cases, yet he acted like he was hit by a freight train every single time, and got the whistle. The problem is, his Oscar-winning flops are not winning him more fans, just more haters. He also pissed Jeff Van Gundy off, who was right to rant about the Haywood flop, especially when it’s coming from a player as gifted as James.
5. Grow Up
Before Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Wade and James hammed it up for the TV cameras by imitating Dirk Nowitzki’s coughing throughout the previous game, with the latter covering his mouth with his shirt, just like the eventual Finals MVP did during the post Game 4 press conference. Apparently, the fact that they’re a decade removed from high school slipped their minds. This, plus many other childish shenanigans in the past, has solidified LeBron’s reputation as a spoiled and immature brat. It’s time for LeBron to grow up fast and be the role model that he’s supposed to be.
6. Shelve the WWE-Worthy Antics
The chalk toss. That entrance on a forklift for his welcome party almost a year ago. All that dancing and preening on court during a game. Talking about himself in the third person. It’s the NBA dammit, not the WWE. Some find these antics cute, but most find them extremely annoying.
7. Enough Whining
For someone who earns more than $48 million a year, LeBron sure whines a lot. From the rough play in the NBA to his playing minutes, James has been acting like a baby about all of it. He should just shut up and play basketball, a sport that he’s supposed to be the best at.
8. Go to a tattoo removal clinic and obliterate that “CHOSEN1” tattoo
Who chose him for what anyway? That tattoo, along with that ridiculous royal title he’s been lugging around since God-knows-when, is a lightning rod of criticism and ridicule. It never is a good idea to brag about something without backing it up. Sure, he has won two MVPs, but individual accolades pale in comparison to an NBA title, which is kinda the point of the whole thing, isn’t it?
9. Actually Lead The Miami Heat To An NBA title
If he wants to be spared the pain of tattoo removal, then he must lead the Heat to a championship in the next few years or so. Emphasis on LEAD, because anything less than that, like playing second fiddle to Dwayne Wade doesn’t really count, not with his otherworldly skills. Unless he wants “CHOSEN1” to be interpreted as “Wade’s chosen bitch”.
10. And if he can't win one, ever, at least show the world that he did everything within his immense power to win, and that he never quit.
This is how many NBA greats who never won a championship did it. So there’s no shame in belonging to that esteemed albeit unfortunate list.
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