LeBron James can't be a king if he doesn't have a ring, right?
LeBron just can't escape the criticism.
What does this guy have to do to endear himself to the public? When will some fans drop the very obvious vendetta against him? It's officially reached the point of absurdity when it comes to dissecting LeBron.
We're not even talking about the basketball player anymore. Everything LeBron wears, says or chooses to do in his free time is a subject of national conversation. He is the most polarizing player in the NBA and it is not even debate. No matter what James does, there is a constant search for a flaw in his course of action.
People are looking for the one misstepâ"a missed free throw, the wrong pair of pants worn to the arena or literally any one thing they can isolate and use as evidence in the case against LeBron.
But why is there a case against James? Why are some so desperate for him to fail when we should be rooting for him to succeed? Some fans even toss around the phrase "I hate LeBron" as if they know him as anything more than a professional basketball player.
What does he have to do to turn around the misguided narrative?
James joined elite company when he won his third regular season MVP. He had a legitimate case to take home the Defensive Player of the Year Award, and he was a member of the All-NBA first team.
Through 12 games of the 2012 postseason, James is eating his competition alive. He's averaging 29.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals on 50.2 percent shooting. James is also playing a whopping 40.5 minutes per game and remains remarkably productive despite being the focal point of the concern for the defense trying to slow him down.
Shouldn't basketball fans, who love basketball, be rooting for the most talented player in the world to finally win? Have some become so jaded, so negative that the popular thought is to actually go against LeBron and encourage someone else to win?
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When Kevin Garnett delivered a hard foul against James in Game 1 and LeBron simply laughed it off, the topic of discussion was once again steered in an anti-LeBron direction: Was the Heat star right to laugh in a former champion's face?
Is this really where we are? James laughs off a hard foul in a game that Miami has under control and somehow he's the bad guy? That just makes no sense.
James reached the 2011 NBA Finals and his team came up short. He was subjected to a summer of jokes about his inability to close, his shortcomings as a player and speculation as to why he'll never win it all. Some people were talking about his career like it was done, when in reality, he was just entering his prime.
Now 27 years old, James once again has positioned his team in a good chance to head to the NBA Finals. Unless the Miami Heat are crowned the 2012 champions, it's likely that we'll have another offseason filled with an anti-LeBron narrative. We'll be faced with the same droll questions about whether he made the right decision when he took his talents to South Beach.
But what happens if James gets his first ring? What happens if LeBron finds success and wins a championship despite so many wishing nothing but failure for him?
If he gets the opportunity to sit at his post-game press conference with the Larry O'Brien Trophy in his grasp, he'll get to dictate exactly what makes the headlines the next day.
His critics might not ever stop talking, but their message will be far less widespread if James adds a championship to his growing list of achievements.