LeBron haters have one thing right: He will never be as great as Jordan

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

Last month, LeBron James and the Miami Heat defeated Tim Duncan and his San Antonio Spurs teammates for the NBA championship. The series went to seven games and provided even the casual basketball fan with some exciting hoop action. Perhaps game six being the best of them all, it was highlighted by a fantastic 3-point shot by Ray Allen in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter to tie the game, force overtime, and most importantly, stave off elimination for the Heat.

I didn’t realize how many people in this area are “Heat Haters.” From the majority of the people I talked with about the series, I would have thought I was living in San Antonio north. Nearly every single person stated (and I quote), “I hate the Heat!” They didn’t stop there, either.

Not only were they bad-mouthing James, Dwyane Wade and anyone else wearing a Miami uniform, at the very same time they were singing the praises of the Spurs. It was as if James were some evil puppy-eating monster and Duncan were an Eagle Scout doing a project to save those puppies.

Each day for the past couple of weeks, I couldn’t log on to Facebook without seeing something negative about James. If he wasn’t being depicted as a baby with a pacifier in his mouth, there were hundreds of comments regarding his “flopping” or his whining to the referees about calls not going his way. All the while, Duncan was represented being depicted as one of the calmest, coolest, even-tempered, well-mannered players to ever take the court.

I have no idea where the truth lies in all of that. I’m guessing, though, it’s somewhere in the middle.

There are multiple reasons James has alienated himself from so many NBA fans. The way he left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers a few seasons ago was probably the start of it. From there, it’s simply mushroomed. His actions on and off the court have cost him the adoration of thousands, if not millions, of fans.

I doubt very much whether he gives an eyelash of care about his public persona. He has his legion of “homies” and “hangers-on,” his multi-million dollar contract, fancy house, car, clothes, etc., and now he has another championship ring to add to his collection. I imagine those things keep him sufficiently insulated from the criticism continuously being lobbed in his direction, especially from the “Heat Haters” in this area.

As for me, I really don’t have a strong feeling one way or another about James and the Heat. I don’t follow their every move close enough to develop an informed opinion. All I do know is, the guy can play the game, and when left unguarded, he can drain a 3-pointer or two. For that, I give him credit.

There is one huge thing I do agree with his detractors about, though. They are spot on when they say, “He’ll never be as good as Michael Jordan.” Enough said!

From the July 17-23, 2013, issue

2 thoughts on “LeBron haters have one thing right: He will never be as great as Jordan

  • Jul 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I hate the Heat and love the Spurs. I hate teams that try to buy their way to a championship, rather than organically growing a Championship-Caliber Team. To be honest, I’ve loved the Spurs since David Robinson, and it’s just carried on since. But I couldn’t stand the 2004 Lakers trying to assemble their “All-Star Team” (and they shouldn’t have made the finals, taking 0.7 seconds to make that 0.4-second shot — yes, against the Spurs). I couldn’t stand the Celtics when they did it. I couldn’t stand the Heat doing it (which was probably the worst, because of “The Decision”).
    I love a team that can be picking last, 3rd-to-last, bottom-10, etc. in the draft for just short of 20 years straight because they haven’t missed the playoffs in 16 years… And then still make picks that turn into stars.
    Back to 2004, I did like the Pistons too. And it would have been great to see them vs. the Spurs in both ’04 and ’05 Finals.

  • Jul 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    And, since it was in your title and your final line, but with no defense…
    Why do you believe he’ll never be as good as Michael Jordan?

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