Since I was small, I’ve always been a fan of LeBron James. I loved watching the guy, whether it be in a Cleveland jersey the first time, Miami jersey, or Cleveland jersey the second time. As a small kid just starting to get really interested in sports, a 6-foot-8, 250-pound body doing things on a basketball court as quickly and efficiently as a 6-3 guard was just so cool to me.
The way James drove aggressively to the basket. The way he passed like a point guard. The way he *still* jumps out of the gym. I loved it all. I wanted to watch him every night.
I didn’t care that James got a ton of hate. I never really thought it was that big of a deal that he complained and made faces when things didn’t go his way. And as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized a lot of the stars in NBA history would rub some the wrong way if they had played during the social media era where we basically see and hear their every move and thought on something. But they didn’t, so fans never saw the worst of their favorite players like we do now.
When James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers over the summer I was skeptical of the move at first because of how terrible that roster and front office has been, but wanted to give him a shot at least. I’m not really a fan or hater of the Lakers, they were pretty irrelevant to me.
I told myself that it’d be fun to watch James carry a rag-tag group to the playoffs at least. And it’d only be for a couple of months, because of course James and Magic Johnson would convince another star to come to Los Angeles, right?
We all know how that plan turned out. The Trade Deadline came and went with the Lakers left empty handed and Anthony Davis still in New Orleans.
I know James has goals he wants to accomplish in business and Hollywood — and trust me, I’m OK with that, I think he’s earned the right to dip his toes in other areas he’s interested in — but I didn’t think his life off the court would make an impact to his play on the court. But from what I’ve seen, I think it is.
I have no proof of this obviously. I just watch James night in and night out, and get so frustrated at him. I’ll admit James has been in cruise control on defense for the last couple seasons in Cleveland, but he’s been taking it to a new, lower level in Los Angeles.
I wish I didn’t feel this way but James is becoming very unlikeable to me, and quickly. How he treats his teammates on the court for all to see. How is effort level on defense is practically non-existent most nights recently.
But after that ugly, ugly loss in Memphis on Feb. 25, James was asked if the pressure to make the playoffs was getting to be too much for the younger guys on the roster. Here’s James’ answer:
“At this point if you are still allowing distractions to affect how the way you play, then this is the wrong franchise to be a part of and you should just come and be like, ‘Listen, I don’t [think this is for me]. I cannot do this.’”
I wanted to throw something against my wall when I listened to James say that. It was so hypocritical because James has so many interests outside of basketball. He’s acted in a couple movies now (I’m still going to watch Space Jame 2), and is executive producing rap albums with 2 Chainz, as well as some TV shows.
Look, James’ stats are still great. He’s averaging 27.1 points, eight assists and 8.6 rebounds — those are incredible numbers for the 34-year-old. He’s also playing with a laughable roster. Sure, I like Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram, but they aren’t the kind of teammates James needs scheme-wise. They don’t fit with James.
So the question that keeps filling my mind doesn’t go away: Do I stick with LeBron, or let go of my fandom?
That’s it for now, everyone have a good Friday.