A year ago, LeBron James was one of the most well-liked players in the NBA. Fans ate up his dancing, smiling, chasedown-blocking antics like a very weird batch of Monster Cookies. But after this summer, he’s become public enemy No. 1, a preening, self-absorbed jerk who only cares about broing down in South Beach. It’s amazing the kind of effect one misguided TV special can have on a player’s reputation.
That LeBron hatred isn’t just a Cleveland-specific thing, either. No, those feelings of disgust permeate all around the league’s various cities, and that’s something that LeBron James can’t understand, man. From ESPN:
James admitted last week after another night of routine boos in Memphis that he’s been perplexed by some of the grief he’s received on the road this season.
“It is funny that Memphis fans and fans in the league — some of the fans that had nothing to do with what I did — still boo like I was sitting in their room saying I was coming to Memphis,” James said last Saturday.
On one hand, he is right — LeBron James did not sit in anyone’s room and tell them he was coming to Memphis. True statement. But on the other hand, TVs are usually in rooms and lots of people — not just in cities where LeBron could have ended up — had LeBron tell them he was not coming to their favorite team in a television special that most people hated before it even aired. Just a guess, but that’s probably the reason for the boos.
And really, I can’t foresee them stopping any time soon. People thought that once the season started, LeBron and the Heat would start doing some amazing things and everything would be forgiven. That hasn’t happened. Sure, we’re only an eighth of the way in to the season, but it’s hard to imagine everyone who hates LeBron to just be like, “Oh, he’s OK now.” Not gonna happen. Wouldn’t be prudent.
However, LeBron thinks it’s funny that he’s getting booed anywhere and everywhere. He wants the Heat to have more fun, so he can probably use that to his advantage. After all, nothing brings a team together like basking in the hate of its best player.