What would you say to everyone who poured tons of hate on you for two years after achieving what you came for? LeBron James, finally an NBA champion, and suddenly he’s not the most hated athlete in America anymore. Maybe he never really was, and everyone were simply brainwashed by a media that felt right to last out at him for the wrong reasons?
James couldn’t have been more goal-centered in these NBA finals. Not a smile for 7 games, like in the Boston Celtics series. Kept saying the right things, and kept doing them as well. He did have more help than ever from his impressive team of sidekicks, stepping up in a way no one thought they could. The Oklahoma City Thunder, the deeper team, were reduced into one on one plays and a lack of a good matchup in every defensive position.
What he said when he got the trophy? ‘It’s about damn time.’ To the point, but boring. You want someone who’s been through a lot these last couple of years and even this season, to lash out at fans and media members who doubted his ability to rise above everything. That always put that asterisks next to everything he did because he hasn’t won the title with any of his teams, and suggesting that his inability to perform in the fourth quarter was the reason behind everything.
What I’d Love to have heard him say
I’m still an Ohio kid, born and raised. But there’s no thing such as loyalty to a franchise in the NBA. You’re not born and raised as a Cavs player. You go to high school, you go to college (I didn’t), and then you’re selected by an NBA team, who hope you’ll turn things around for them and they’ll be able to sell enough jerseys with your name on it. You belong to them, but only until the contract runs out. You should have three goals during your NBA career, balancing it out between them.
1. Making as much money as you can during the 5-10-15 year career. Who knows what you’ll get to do afterwards. You’re here to make the most out of the contracts you get, because you know the league and the teams make the most out of you.
2. Titles, rings, individual achievements. Your legacy is what you’ve won, or what you couldn’t win. I have it all know. I’m still not satisfied, but I know I’ve done everything possible in the league, and I’m only 27. But you want to be remembered as the greatest, or one of the greatest. For that you need MVP awards, triple doubles, all-star games, finals, titles, rings. Winning. It makes you immortal.
3. Have fun, make friends, play with them. People forget that beyond all the money and glamour and races after titles, there’s also the fact that players are doing the thing they love, playing the sport they love, for a living. And sometimes, behind all the pressure and expectations, there’s just a place when it’s fun playing in the NBA. The show and everything around it goes along with it. Some of us have fun because of it. I wish it could always be about simply having fun while making a living.
I’ve been called a coward, a quitter, a loser, a choker. I’ve seen people burn my jerseys after chanting my name for 7 years. I’ve seen, read and heard every columnist, expert, analyst, fan, blogger, redditor and whatever alive. Whatever anyone wrote or said or thought about me, I gave myself the worst of it after the Finals against the Mavs. I didn’t leave the house for two weeks. But I got up, worked hard, and got myself a title. I had help – D-Wade, Bosh, Spoelstra, Riley, Battier, Juwan Howard. Even Chalmers, who I love to shout at.
I changed everything people said I can’t do. Post up and play more aggressively. Take over games from beginning to end. Perform during clutch times. Take the game on my back or spread it out and find teammates. Fourth quarters? I love them. I’m thriving now. Maybe I needed to hit rock bottom to make that change. Maybe I needed the changes around me in the team and Wade to tell me – ‘This is yours, lead us!’
I’m not driven by hate anymore. It doesn’t end well. I’m driven by wanting to be remembered, by wanting to succeed, by wanting to play with my friends. By wanting to be part of NBA history. I’m a fan of the game, and I’m good for this game. I’m the best player in this league, maybe the best that ever played in it. No one can tell me anything now. No ESPN hype machine can build me up and break me down again. Kevin Durant will be the best once I start to decline. He’s great, he’ll win a title, an MVP, more than one, I’m sure. We’re going to win a gold medal together this summer.
But for now, it’s still my time. Maybe people thought it wasn’t going to be, but it is. And from now on, there’s no mental block or anything like that. I’m playing for fun, for the love of the game, to win because I’m good. I’m a worthy MVP, Finals MVP and NBA Champion. Lets see you try and take it away from me.