LeBron Still Doesn’t Get It, Never Will

Your friend and mine, LeBron James is sorta back in the news, after giving a lengthy interview to those wacky Brits at the Guardian. So, what to make of this exchange?

The screening of ‘The Decision’ hurt you and your image – were you surprised by the bitterness of the reaction?
Um, yeah, but I can understand it. I was surprised by it because I was making a decision for myself. I was doing something that I believed was going to make me happy and freshen me up, personally. But looking back at it now I can understand why a lot of people were upset. That definitely wasn’t my intention: to upset people. My intention was to go and play for a team, play for a franchise, that believe in me, and I believe in them.

[…]

What would you change if you had to do it again?
Well, I can’t say I would change anything – because it would change so much that is now leading to the future. But, yeah, there is definitely a better way I could have handled it, as far as the whole TV thing is concerned, and the same goes for the whole build up to the announcement. So there are definitely ways I could say I should have changed that because a lot of people were hurt by it – and I definitely apologise to them. At the same time, you should never be afraid to do what you believe in. That’s a simple truth.

So, this is the thing that LeBron misunderstood prior to the decision. He thought people loved him unconditionally. Nuh uh. They liked how good he is at basketball, and in the Cleveland area, they liked that he made their team better. That’s it. And it’s just becoming ever clearer that no LeBron apology will ever be good enough. For one, he either doesn’t understand who he’s supposed to apologize to (Cleveland), or he simply enjoys sticking it to them time and time again.

Despite being from Akron, Ohio, LeBron is a Cowboys fan and a Yankees fan. He’s been the best at basketball his entire life. He’s arrogant, and just exceedingly self-involved to the point that he still doesn’t seem to understand or empathize with why this whole situation and accept Cleveland and White People’s anger (note: The Decision did primarily piss off White People).

But let’s be honest, he makes some good points. That team the Cavaliers surrounded him with was complete garbage. He made the NBA Finals with a teammate who was so bad that he inspired heylarryhughespleasestoptakingsomanybadshots.com. Their next best player was probably Anderson Varejao. Anderson Varejao! In the NBA Finals!

And if you’re self-centered and lacking a broader awareness, it’s pretty easy to see how leaving for a better situation in Miami would be something you’d expect people to congratulate you on. Even Clevelanders should’ve been thankful he gave them seven of the best years in their franchise’s history. And yet they were ungrateful and mean to him while still wanting him to play for them. It proved that their love was not for him all along. And a more aware person would know that they wouldn’t like him even after he abandoned them on national television. LeBron is not a more aware person. Oh well.

It seems so odd that LeBron could simply miss out on the basic empathy that would have told him there’s a chance that people would dare turn on him. But when you’re good enough at something important enough that you’re on national magazines as The Chosen One when you’re a junior in high school, it can be hard to keep perspective on this sort of thing.

And ultimately, he’s probably right. If the Heat roll off three straight titles, LeBron will probably become beloved again. Everyone loves a winner. In the meantime, apologies to nobody in particular don’t really ring true, and he’s still the villain–someone who everyone can root against in basketball games, because it’s funny that he is so talented and still gets rattled in big games, and because he doesn’t seem to have the ability to care about people other than himself, which is more sad than anything else.

At this point, how satisfying is it to root against someone who isn’t so much malignantly villainous in the way that say, Ty Cobb was, but rather just doesn’t really understand how to relate to human beings? I guess it doesn’t matter because we’re all still going to hope he fails anyway.

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