Off Topic: Defending LeBron

After digesting a few days of social media vitriol aimed at LeBron James, I was compelled to ask everyone to consider these words.  It’s easy to forget that not too long ago a young kid from a broken home was cast into the spotlight and labeled The Chosen One.  How many times has a youngster been subjected to this much hype and scrutiny?

Thankfully not too often, at least not on the level of a Sports Illustrated cover story at the age of 16.  However, in most cases, when one is labeled the next great thing, the talent soon fades, the pressure mounts and the once promising teen superstar becomes known as the one who didn’t quite live up to all of the hype.  We hear “yeah, he or she was good but could have been so much more”.  LeBron on the other hand has largely lived up to the hype.  He’s been to the NBA Finals 4 times in his still somewhat brief 9 year career and has one title, a Finals MVP and perhaps another on the way this year.  Regarding the one title,   we often hear, “yeah, but he needed other superstars to make it happen.”  True, but on June 10th, NBA TV will rightfully honor Dr. J as one of the all-time greats and his only NBA title came when Moses showed up in Philly.  Yet no one seems to discount Doc getting a title late in his NBA career with the help of a 3-time MVP.  Also, I challenge anyone to name a multi-title winner who did it solo.  Remember kids, basketball is a team sport.

Finally, LeBron’s biggest indiscretion appears to be a failed publicity stunt that he has since publicly regretted.  On this matter, let us not forget he did play out his contract before moving on, a discipline that many players don’t consider these days.  Love him, hate him, don’t care one iota about him, but consider that Facebook, the place where parents share their children’s successes, sorrows and dreams is also the place where some choose to tear down another parent’s child who overcame great odds to achieve his dream.  I’m sure everyone would be quite proud if LeBron had somehow been their child and achieved exactly what he has achieved today.  Finally, one day we might learn something else about LeBron that we don’t like or can’t believe, but like everyone else he’s just one of us, a human being chasing his dream. A dream that is shared with the world via media, somewhat like all of our children’s dreams on Facebook.

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