Don’t Hate The Player….Or The Game

Cortland Lee

There’s an old urban saying, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game,” but I say don’t hate either.

Although Miami Heat Forward and reigning NBA MVP Lebron James didn’t make the latest Forbes Most Hated Athlete List, I am positive he is still in the subconscious hate file of those who have been temporarily distracted by Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o…but why?

Lebron is clearly the best basketball player in the world and I will not argue that point. If you disagree, you are simply wrong. Lebron is on his way to completing 10 seasons of averaging 28 pts-7 rebs-7 asts. He has earned 9 All-Star selections, 7 First-Team All NBA selections, 5 First-Team Defense NBA selections, NBA Rookie of the Year, 4 NBA MVP awards, 2 NBA All Star MVP awards,  and 1 NBA Championship in which he was named Finals MVP.

Usually players are liked and respected simply because of their performance; not the case with Lebron.

So was it “The Decision?”

Did a 75-min national television special where Lebron announced he would be making a job change effect the way fans perceive him? He didn’t refuse to play for Cleveland, he didn’t hold out, nor did he create an issue detrimental to the team.  He signed a contract with Cleveland; he fulfilled his obligations of the contract, and moved on.

How many of you would take a job in Miami, FL with better pay and better opportunities to succeed? You don’t have to answer that.

Job researchers estimate the average American will hold seven different jobs in his/her lifetime. That estimate does not include internal transfers, promotions and demotions either. Oh, you mad he had the decision televised? The show raised $7 million that was donated to various charities. How much money have you raised for charity lately?  

Oh , you say he ruined his legacy by teaming up with Dwayne Wade. Did Moses Malone ruin his legacy signing with the 76ers and winning a championship in Philadelphia with Dr. J? What about Clyde Drexler signing with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston? Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining forces with Paul Pierce? See what I did there?

What’s wrong with the to desire the win? Lebron even took a pay cut in order to play for the Miami Heat in hopes of winning championships.

I have read and heard every excuse under the sun. The truth is, unless he has personally done harm to you, there is really no reason to hate Lebron. I am personally not a fan of Lebron James, but he is a tremendous talent and I respect his game. I don’t cheer for him, but I don’t boo either. Turn off Sportscenter, ignore Nike’s advertising campaigns and think for yourself. You don’t have to be a “witness,” but there is no reason to hate such a great talent.





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