Loose Ball: Self-Pity Won't Work for LeBron
LeBron James has much to be thankful for. He's being paid $110 million over six years (not including endorsements) to play a game he loves. He lives in a palatial mansion in Miami's Biscayne Bay, one of the world's most beautiful areas. He has two healthy, beautiful children and he's engaged to their mother, his high school sweetheart.
The last thing we want to hear from someone who is so blessed is a complaint. Not in January, December or any other month. But especially not in February, which is set aside to remember and honor predecessors who faced real hardships, not perceived injustices.
I know James made a lot of his previous fans angry in July 2010, when he departed Cleveland for Miami in an ill-advised TV special. He skyrocketed up the list of the nation's most disliked athletes (though he dropped to No. 6 this year). Fans-turned-foes cheered when James failed to produce at crunch time in the NBA Finals, making him a punch line ("Why can't he make change for a dollar? He doesn't have a fourth quarter").
There's no reason for James to hang his head about changing teams or coming up short. But he also shouldn't resort to plays for sympathy, which he seemed to do on Wednesday when Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins complained about a James tweet.
"Dunk of the year!" James tweeted last month after Blake Griffin posterized Perkins. "@blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!!!!"
Perkins wasn't amused. "You don't see Kobe [Bryant] tweeting," he told Yahoo Sports. "You don't see Michael Jordan tweeting. If you're an elite player, plays like that don't excite you."
Those comments came on the heels of NBA legend Larry Bird calling James the league's best player "by far." The only problem, to some, is that Bird said he'd probably rather play with Bryant, based on Bryant's desire to win and his dedication to improving.
It was all too much for James, who decided to hold a pity party for one.
"I'm an easy target," he told reporters Wednesday. "If someone wants to get a point across -- just throw LeBron's name in there. You could be watching cartoons with your kids, and you don't like it, you say, 'Blame it on LeBron.' If you go to the grocery store and they don't have the milk that you like, you just say, 'It's LeBron's fault.' "
Sadly, he didn't make his life any easier. All he did was give folks new material for jokes and a new hashtag: #thingsblamedonlebron.
The lesson for LeBron is clear: Haters are going to hate; complaining about it won't help.