As everyone has said since “The Decision,” all it will take for LeBron James to win back fans is to play basketball, wow them with his highlights and not say anything terribly arrogant. And while he may have botched the third part of the plan during the Finals, he’s apparently using this summer as a nationwide tour of summer leagues to remind people he’s serious about hooping.
First, he went to Cleveland, proving that even the angriest fans can be convinced to like LeBron James in the right setting. Then, over the weekend, he took his game to the Drew League, home of the best summer hoops on the West Coast. From Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears:
[Drew League director Dino] Smiley said he received a call Thursday from a representative for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Baron Davis saying a major NBA star was attending Saturday. Smiley initially thought it could be Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose or Blake Griffin. Kevin Durant, Ron Artest and Derrick Williams have already played this summer.
Smiley eventually received another call Saturday afternoon revealing that James was coming to the Leon H. Washington Park gym near the neighborhood of Watts. James arrived shortly after in a SUV. He was wearing a T-shirt and khaki shorts, and was joined by an entourage of about a half dozen people including Davis. To Smiley’s surprise, James wanted to play. James was given a No. 2 jersey for a team called “Cheaters II.”
“I thought LeBron was coming just to hang out, but he asked for a uniform,” Smiley said. “The crowd was just electrified when he walked in.”
Smiley said many fans tweeted and sent text messages about James’ arrival. “Every edge” of the court in the tiny gym, Smiley said, was packed. Smiley said the gym doors were eventually closed shut during James’ game by law enforcement officers, who told fans if they left they couldn’t return.
Leave it to LeBron James to turn a summer league game in to a high school dance. Really hope they played “Good Riddance” by Green Day. Classic end-of-the-night slow jam right there.
But really, this goes to show you that even though so many people hate LeBron James, there are just as many who remain in awe of him. If he can pack a random Los Angeles gym on a Saturday night, then he stands a good chance of winning people over eventually.
In fact, he’s still got this guy on his side. Well leg, actually.
Yep, that’s a LeBron James face tattoo on some dude’s leg. LeBron’s going to be A-OK.
(image via @AyYoNateOh)