LeBron James has a nice streak of irritating somebody whenever he gets onto TV these days. The latest: Bron-Bron’s camp went on CNN earlier this week and said that race “definitely played a role in some of the stuff coming out of the media,” referring specifically to the public backlash James has endured since announcing his move to the Miami Heat in July.
First of all, LeBron wasn’t really that well-liked before he left Cleveland, and he’s not really that despised now. What’s notable is the shift in perception of LeBron and Co. from “a kinda-good guy” to an arrogant media manipulator, both in its range and speed. I don’t think anyone outside of northeastern Ohio really faults the guy for chasing the best opportunity to win a title. But there’s a big difference between being a local hero and being just another very good player on a very good team. Just overnight, James went from being the next Michael Jordan to being the next Scottie Pippen. Did you grow up wearing a Scottie Pippen jersey? Didn’t think so.
And some people are like, “Well, it’s not like LeBron cheated on his wife like Tiger Woods did.” But at least Tiger (a) actually got married, and (b) won a few championships along the way. And Tiger–who, bear in mind, is the most recognizable athlete on Earth–would never have the audacity to stage a jive-assed special like LeBron did with his “decision” to play third banana to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Sorry, LeBron. We just don’t think as much of you as you think of you.