I just got done watching LeBron and the Heat win the NBA Finals, and it got me thinking a lot about all this hate on LeBron. I’ll be the first to admit that I was bitter after “The Decision” to leave Cleveland and take a “shortcut” for a championship. I thought it would ruin his legacy—that he would never be Jordan taking the out like that. More than that, though, I lost a lot of respect for him because of the way he handled the situation. I wasn’t a huge hater, but I wasn’t mad they lost last year. When this season started, though, I just wanted to watch him because he is the most talented guy on the planet. I figured, how can I hate on this dude? So I started to like him again. As the season went on and the playoffs began, I heard so many people that just completely hated LeBron and wanted, more than anything else, for him to fail. The thing about it though, was that it was obvious all year that this was a different LeBron. He had already said he regretted how he handled the decision. In his interviews tonight after the game, he admitted that he was going about things the wrong way last year by playing with the intentions of proving people wrong and playing that villain role. He talked about how losing in the finals last year humbled him and how he realized now how hard he had to work for a championship.
Basically, LeBron is a completely different person from the guy who went on national television to break up with an entire city and then promised 8 or more championships to Miami fans. He admitted to being immature. That’s not an easy thing to admit when the whole world is watching. The best picture that is stuck in my head about this is when Mario Chalmers was pumping up the crowd late in the third quarter tonight when the Heat were on a monster run. They were up by 19 at the time with 3 minutes left in the third. Despite all the time left, there was little doubt that the game was all but over. However, instead of letting Chalmers entice the crowd, he went out of his way to tell him to stop and to continue playing. This act shows maturity, not only as a player who understands the game situation, but also as a person. He could have jumped right in with him to get the crowd going and embarrass the Thunder as much as possible. Instead, he chose the classy route by being respectful for a young team deserving of such. LeBron was a class act this whole playoff run, even reading before and after games to calm himself, but also quietly encouraging young basketball fans that reading is kinda cool. He didn’t showboat or tell people why he was better than them.
I am by no means saying that LeBron is perfect now and should receive nothing but love from any basketball fan. If you want to say he isn’t Jordan, I’ll agree with you. He never will be Jordan. But he will be a pretty darn good LeBron James. Nobody is ever going to be Jordan. This isn’t about basketball, though. The fact that so many people genuinely hate this guy makes me sad. He made a big mistake. He arrogantly went on national television to announce a decision that disappointed a lot of people and then played a season trying to stick it to all those people. But the thing is that he really changed since then. No, I don’t know him personally, but I will take him at his word if he is publicly willing to admit these mistakes. This is about forgiveness. LeBron doesn’t need it from any hater out there. But being bitter to the extent that many of these people are is exhausting. It says a lot about a person to truly hate someone so much, especially an athlete. For your life to be so affected by the failures of another person shows how immature a lot of those people are. I understand that every little thing LeBron does is nationally televised basically, but that doesn’t mean he can’t realize a mistake and change from it. I want people to realize this and accept the dude’s apology and move on. Forgiveness is so freeing. Give it a shot—with LeBron and in life in general!