The dislike for Lebron James appears to be taking on national implications.
In his opening game of the 2010-2011 NBA season with his new team, the Miami Heat, James was showered with a chorus of boos by Boston Celtic fans every time that he touched the basketball. This is strange considering Boston was not even one of the teams vying for James’ services.
What it shows however is that loyal NBA fans nationwide obviously object to the way that Lebron James left his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In case you have been living in a cave for the past 5 months, Lebron James decided to end his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers in circus-like fashion by announcing his departure on a nationally televised, hour-long program on ESPN.
For more than a month, not only did James hold the Cavaliers in suspense but several other teams that he expressed interest in playing for like the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks.
It goes without saying, Cleveland fans were not pleased with James’ decision to leave but they were even less satisfied with the way he let them know.
And I must agree with the latter.
True enough, Lebron James was loyal to Cleveland fans by staying when he could have left after his first contract with the team expired but by the same token Cleveland fans were loyal to him also.
Lebron was a free agent at the end of the 2010 NBA season and had the right to go play for any team that he wanted to.
Cleveland did not own him. But from their reaction it seems that they thought they did.
Being a native son of the Cleveland area (Akron), James felt an obligation to try to bring the Cavaliers their first NBA title. In fact, he went as far as to promise them that he would do that very thing. But when it became apparent to James that winning a title in Cleveland was further away than he originally thought it was, he apparently started exploring other options.
It is understandable why Cleveland fans would be miffed at James. After all, he promised them a championship. But it appears that fans around the league have picked up on the angst of the Cleveland fans and are joining in on their visible displeasure.
Very simply, the Cleveland Cavaliers fans deserved better.
I do not disagree with Lebron James leaving Cleveland, just the way he did it.
He should have manned up.
The ESPN program was a publicity stunt apparently thought up by his handlers that went horribly wrong. Not only did it serve as impetus for Cleveland fans to be angry with James but it also alienated fans of basketball as a whole.
Whenever James decided that he was not going to sign another contract with the Cavaliers he should have sat down with the owner(s) and told them face-to-face then held a press conference to inform the fans and the media.
Instead he chose the way of self-promotion.
I am a Lebron James fan but not a fan of some of his behavior.
Lebron James owes the fans of Cleveland and the world of basketball an apology. It was wrong for him to hold them hostage and then tell them he was leaving from long distance via ESPN.
Just like when he walked off the court without shaking hands with the Orlando Magic (or his Olympic teammate Dwight Howard) after losing to them in the 2009 NBA eastern conference finals, James has once again shown his immaturity and lack of understanding concerning the decorum that is to be shown in the world of sports.
There was a public outcry then and there is a public outcry now.
When will Lebron James learn?
It doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon.