The King James Version of Basketball

Why LeBron James is the nicest player in the game.

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James has also taken it on the chin for his appearance on the cover of the April Vogue with Gisele Bundchen [the u takes an umlaut]. He looks to be letting out a primal scream, which reminds some critics of King Kong. Leaving aside the fact that having one of the world’s most beautiful women wrapped around you is probably a good reason to scream in joy, I think that the image police are ignoring a full glance at the photograph; both James and Bundchen are in caricature (she looks drunk). The photo of the pair on page 294 of the same issue portrays each in a better light (and it’s used on the Vogue website) but doesn’t convey action. To whatever degree the photograph is truly negative (a very minor degree in my mind and that’s only because I think he’s about to dribble the basketball off of his foot), James is so overexposed that there’s an abundance of positive images to counter it.

Ultimately, James may get his due soon. He is only 23; few players peak at that age. In all likelihood, he’s going to improve for next four or five seasons. LeBron James is already historically good, and he’s very likely to get better. So get used to it; every now and then the hype is right.

Martin Johnson is a regular contributor to The Root.