By S.C. Zuba
LeBron James, you lost a lot of points in my book last week.
As James and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Chicago Bulls 4-1 in the first round of the NBA playoffs last week, James exhibited the same arrogance and lack of class that exemplifies why fans hate certain great athletes.
Certain athletes seem to reach a certain point where they think they’re bigger than the world. News flash: you’re not.
James began to sufficiently annoy me in early December when he decided to turn the Quicken Loans Arena into his personal set for Dancing with the Stars. As James sat on the bench in a 101-87 victory over the Bulls, he felt it necessary to stand up and dance after every point was scored by the Cavaliers.
After a foul sent James to the line, he did another dance move; however, this move was met by angry Bulls center Joakim Noah. Noah yelled something to James, and the two exchanged heated words before players from both teams broke up the possible fight.
“When you’re losing the way you’re losing, and guys are rubbing it in your face, dancing and all that,” Noah said. “I have a lot of respect for LeBron. It’s just a frustrating situation.”
It’s hard to not have respect for the athleticism and skill that James possesses, but James lacks one quality that, in my book, defines greatness: class.
When you’re beating a team the way James and the Cavaliers beat teams, it’s OK to celebrate. It’s OK to have fun with your teammates and enjoy your accomplishment. But there is a classy way to do so. It looks like James has yet to figure that one out.
He may be the greatest basketball player in the NBA, he may have just won his second MVP title, but as of right now, I wouldn’t want him on the Bulls. Grow up, LeBron, and we’ll talk.
After James hit a half-court shot at the buzzer in game four over Bulls guard Derrick Rose, James proceeded to stand over Rose, staring down at him as if to further prove his dominance. It’s those plays that make me disgusted by the reigning MVP.
What’s sad is that James will likely go on to win his first NBA championship, and his ego will continue to grow. Media outlets will continue to refer to him as “King James,” and his arrogance will eventually suffocate whichever team he decides to sign with next season.
For now, I’ll have to cross my fingers and hope LeBron James doesn’t sign with the Bulls and convince management to change the team name to “LeBron James’ Bulls.”
LeBron James is an incredible athelete. Five months ago, I would’ve loved nothing more than to see him don a Bulls jersey. But not now—not when he is like this.
Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the May 5-11, 2010 issue