Sunday, December 6, 2009

LeBron James - The Chosen Punk


LeBron James is a punk.

Don't let the smiles fool you, don't let the slick Nike advertising campaigns make you think he's got love for the game. On Dec. 4, 2009, LeBron James showed more about his tightly-guarded personality than he's ever shown before.

He's a punk.

That night, playing against the Chicago Bulls, James used his opponents as unwilling dance partners for 48 minutes, dancing during the game, dancing on the sidelines and onto the court during timeouts, smiling into cameras on the sidelines and, eventually, dancing in front of the Bulls bench after a foul in the fourth quarter.

Joakim Noah isn't a punk.

And Joakim Noah let the self-appointed "Chosen One" know that his tremendous lack of respect and professionalism during that game had crossed a line. Noah could be seen firing off at James from the bench as James shot free throws after his post-foul shoulder-shake.

James shot one free throw and then walked over threateningly to confront Noah, who shook his head at James and told him to walk away. First a punk, now a confrontational bully.

After the game, LeBron had a chance to redeem himself and his pristine image and to apologize to the Bulls (and really, the game itself). He also had a chance to let the millions of impressionable kids, who were undoubtedly watching the nationally-televised game, know that being a good teammate, respecting the game, and respecting your opponents are the only things that matter as a professional athlete. He had the chance to tell everyone he was out of line so that 10 years from now we don't have player dance breaks during every timeout. He had a chance to be a role model, to speak out against bad sportsmanship, but his media-created character wore thin.

"It's nothing against the Bulls and it's nothing against Joakim or none of those guys. It's nothing about showboating on a team. I've seen it happen all year. I think he [Noah] was more frustrated about the way he played as an individual. He didn't help his team win."

That's your chosen one, ladies and gentlemen. He disrespects the Bulls during the game and disrespects them after the game, calling out Noah's individual performance like a scolding father.

So what was the media's reaction after the game? I searched, and continue to search, for some sort of backlash about James' disgusting showboating that night, but all ESPN could do was show highlights of his dancing over instrumental hip-hop, reveling in the on- and off-court entertainment the golden boy of the NBA provides us lowly peons. The only person who said anything negative was legendary coach and broadcaster Hubie Brown, who was announcing the game. When asked if James' dancing and camera-mugging had crossed a line, Brown responded, "It just shows a real lack of professionalism and disrespect for the other team."

So where was the fine? Where was the suspension? Where was the outcry?

There will never be one for LeBron James, because David Stern supports and coddles this new "entertainment-first" league. Twenty years ago, in a league filled with tough-minded players and win-at-all-costs professionals, behavior like that would be handled internally. Charles Oakley would've put LeBron James on his back with a hacksaw forearm. Isiah Thomas would've undercut him on a fast-break layup. Larry Bird probably would've punched him in the face. There was respect on the court, not only for the other players, but for the game itself. There were unspoken rules, invisible lines that players, no matter how good, couldn't cross without facing the repercussions of their peers. But David Stern destroyed that league and built a new one, a Sodom and Gomorrah of bad basketball and insulting on-court values, propped up by the individual stardom of a player who hasn't won a championship and tattooed "Chosen-1" on his own back.

Forget passing, forget fundamentals, forget teamwork and professionalism, let's just throw Dr. Dre on arena sound systems and let the players dance away. It's sickening.

And for one night, I was thrilled to see someone say, "Enough is enough."

Thank you, Joakim Noah.

8 comments:

  1. Come on Elar. A black man dancing to celebrate a spectacular performance is the equivalent to a clean cut white dude smiling and giving you a thumbs up. One example is loud and in your face, the other is quietly saying, "I dominated your game today."

    However, this is not Larry Bird and this is not 1983. This is Lebron James and its 2009. Times have changed and so has the game.

    Do you know what James is looking for? Competition. What would happen if he were playing against Shaq? I bet you money that Shaq would get up and start a dance-off. Or he would just beat him on the court.

    However, Shaq is another dominate player. Not everyone can dominate, and this is why James has received criticism for his actions.

    The best way to shut up the King? Beat him in a game of basketball. It's as easy as that, and if you do succeed at this, I'm sure he would smile if you started to dance right in front of him. He would understand that he was beat. It's as simple as that. You're a white dude, as am I, and quite frankly, we would look stupid dancing; so we don't.

    These are modern day gladiators. We want to see victory and defeat. Once you start to eliminate these primitive aspects of the game, you also begin to eliminate competition. Good sportsmanship is fundamental, and some people can humbly win again and again. However, for most of the great athletes of the world, especially when you have such dominance of a game, to be completely modest would significantly take away from your "killer" instinct, which is what makes them so good in the first place.

    I like this display of dominance. He is not verbally attacking his opponents, he's just gettin' into a groove. Maybe dancing is how he get's into his groove? Maybe he dances while he's making scrambled eggs in the morning because he can make them better than his old man? Just because you don't dance while playing a good game of hoops doesn't mean he shouldn't be able to.

    You want to shut him up? Block his jump shot. That is how you take away his greatness, if that is your intent.

    Good luck.

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  2. http://www.blogabull.com/2009/12/8/1191505/ricks-rant-on-lebrick-thank-you-sir

    Thanks for the link, Kmart.

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  3. Kelsonladd, I disagree with everything you wrote. Again, like Erik stated, he hasn't won anything that matters and when his team was eliminated last year he acted like a complete child. In the end, LeBron is a thug and will always be a thug that has not been forced to grow up. The only two differences between him and any kid off the street is that he can play a game really well and he has a lot of money.

    Erik, I completely agree with you. It is sad to see the biggest person in basketball act like a child. It is a sad statement about our society when our "role models" act so poorly. I think back to Kanye and everyone can make excuses but in the end they were both acting poorly and that will be reflected in the kids that follow them.

    End rant on the downfall of society.

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  4. A letter to Lebron:

    Dear Lebron,

    As a casual basketball fan that has fallen out of love with the game in recent years--you have encompassed everything wrong with the game. while no one can deny your talent-- your attitude and lack of respect for the game and it's players, is detrimental to the game and its future. If you are the one thing future NBA hopefuls have to aspire too--God help us all. Actually scratch that whole "God help us all" bit, it's giving you to much credit. Because in a world with war, downed economies, global warming and multitudes of injustices--you are pretty insignificant. Which is what you don't get and thus the problem.

    I hope one day the respect you currently lack is found (because we all have to grow up at some point).

    I hope you realize that the world according to Lebron is a myth. No amount of dancing, yes-men, or lack of sportsmanship can make that become a reality.

    I hope (someday) this letter finds you well.

    Sincerely yours,

    Matt

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  5. Joakim Noah didn't appreciate LeBron James' dancing last week and it is unlikely last year's MVP would get away with doing that 20 years ago.

    "If a guy was doing the Riverdance like that, coach would come over and say, 'Who's got the fewest amount of fouls of my big fellas?' " said ex-Celtic and TNT analyst Kevin McHale. "If you raised your hand, he would say, 'We will let him drive and then we will throw him on the ground.'

    "When he is laying there we would say, 'Do you feel like dancing now?'

    "And that pretty much solved the dancing problem."

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  6. The reason nobody else has a problem with Lebron James dancing is simple; because it is amusing and fun to look at. Do you prefer tuning in to the NBA to see fights breaking out and players hitting each other with cheap shots? As the first post indicated, the 1980's were completely different than today, and if you find brawls entertaining than cheer for Ron Artest. However, you have to realize that Lebron is a great teamate, it is so obvious the rest of the team loves him. He dances not to make fun of the Bulls, but to set the mood for his fans and his team as well. Yeah people will say that Jordan did not dance, but how many of you actually believe that Jordan's team liked him? How many of you think that Bynum forgave Kobe for saying that he should be shipped out of LA for Jason Kidd? Yeah, if you think that what your team thinks of you is unimportant, than sure Lebron's a loser. But do not tell me Kobe is a winner because he has rings. Kobe has won with Shaq, and now he is winning with at least 3 all stars on his team. Lebron is by himself in Cleveland, and rather than bitching and asking to leave, he is having a great time, his team is in first place, and everyone is happy. Will he beat the Lakers? Maybe if they added another all star to back him up, perhaps.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Lebron James is the best player out there!!!

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