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The Hoop Doctors

NBA Finals 2012: The Unsettling Nature of LeBron’s First Ring

June 22, 2012 – Dan Favale

LeBron James is an NBA champion, finally. But what does it mean?

James haters are bound to continue to criticize him and believe that he sold out, yet is that what we should be harping on?

Absolutely not.

James certainly earned this title. He played out of his mind all year long. But did he deserve it?

My personal problem with James is not that he spurned Cleveland—though he could have gone about it better. And it’s not that he joined forces with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. It’s that after he did so, he let a sense of entitlement consume him, even today.

James took great strides toward improving his image this past year, and we cannot neglect to mention that he was merely 14 years old when the media hype surrounding him began. The latter is key, as any teenager would let fame go to their head. But what has yet to be repaired or forgiven is James’ lack of basketball-related humanity.

Yes, James is incredibly active in the community and has done a lot of great things for people in need, and we must respect him for it. But on the court, in the locker room and in the press room is where his fatal flaw lies.

As I watched Kevin Durant cry his eyes out after losing Thursday night, I couldn’t help but think back to James’ reaction last year after he lost. He attacked the media and even sent scathing comments toward the way of fans. And when I think about that it makes me sick.

James may have apologized for his actions, and even admitted that he reacted in an immature fashion, yet that doesn’t change anything. Even this season, it was blatantly obvious that James is as humble a player as there is—when the going is easy. But when the going gets tough, and his back is pressed up against the wall, that’s when he lets the true colors show.

Call Durant a flake, deem him weak and spew jokes about the tears he shed all you want, it doesn’t change the fact that he is one of the most genuine athletes in all of sports, and much more so than James. Like Durant, James plays with heart, but that likability factor just isn’t there.

Durant broke down after losing in the championship round, James lashed out. And we must never forget that. Because at the end of the day, that’s what truly separates the two—a sense of purity.

James has forsaken the sanctity of this game far too many times, made too many egotistical mistakes and shied away from your flaws for far too long. And that’s inexcusable.

So congratulations LeBron on your first title, you most certainly earned it. But you didn’t deserve it.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.


 

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