|LeBron not yet fully redeemed|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Tuesday, 26 June 2012 18:00|
“R.I.P. LeBron James Ringless Jokes 2003–2012”.
That was the best tweet I saw, courtesy of @condescendingwonka, following the Heat’s victory in the NBA finals, ending the nine years of wondering when James would finally win an NBA title.
By the time the finals rolled around, there were those that felt LeBron James was finally humble enough to win a championship, or that wanted him to lose but liked to watch him play, or those that wanted him and his Heat team to go down in flames. Now that it’s all said and done and King James got his first championship ring and a finals MVP to boot, the next milestone for him to hit is going to be redemption.
James is one of the most talented players ever, and he is also currently one of the most hated. His skills are undeniable, but so is the fact that he has never been a fan favorite. Cocky and arrogant just don’t rest well with some people — go figure. Combine that with a lack of proof for talent, i.e. not winning a championship, and it really left distaste for James, no matter how good he is.
There has never been any doubt of James’ talent. Anyone who can play in the NBA as a teenager is clearly incredibly gifted.
Now that he’s proved he can win, he has to stop being such a snob.
After he took his talents to South Beach in 2010 and didn’t immediately deliver a championship, the pressure was still as present as the chip on his shoulder and it gave people even more cause to complain because this squad consisting of him, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh was supposed to be able to produce multiple championships with ease. It obviously didn’t happen in their first go-round, but now that they have a championship under their belt, there is room to build upon that ought to start with improving James’ public image.
And that will take time and probably some titles too. Maybe at the end of his long career he’ll be the feature of an ESPN "30 for 30" movie where he takes a look back at the stupid stuff he said when he was a kid playing with the big boys, and we’ll all laugh and laugh at how obnoxious he was. Maybe not.
One thing we’ll definitely all do for years is continue to compare him to other basketball greats like Michael Jordan by counting trophies and titles, but in the end that will not be the only way to measure the two. It’s different eras, different people and then there’s the fact that sometimes things just don’t go your way — and this might just happen in a play-off or some other equally big game.
Regardless of how well he plays throughout his career, there will still be internet memes that put Jordan on a pedestal over LeBron and how would ESPN commentators fill all their time if they didn’t compare and contrast LeBron to other players?
Some people have taken to saying that this NBA championship doesn’t really count because it was a shorter season due to the lock out or that had Derrick Rose not gotten hurt, the Bulls could have knocked out the Heat (I’m looking at you, Chicago fans), but a title is a title and it counts as much as any other does.
Eventually his career will be over and there will be other young NBA hot shots who get compared to James because that seems to be the circle of life when it comes to professional basketball, and when that time comes, the best one could hope for is that King James is able to redeem his image and become as loveable as Sir Charles.
Just like the question of how many championships LeBron will win, the question of if he’ll be able to eventually not be hated in the eyes of the public has the same answer — only time will tell.