Scorn and LeBron James

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porte and pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­

LeBron James is one of those great pro ath­letes that you ei­ther love or you hate.

It re­ally doesn’t mat­ter what team he plays for, or where he is in his ca­reer, there are fans who will de­spise him un­til he re­tires. Even then, they’ll prob­a­bly hate him for years af­ter that.

To put it sim­ply, LeBron is the NBA’s Tom Brady. When he plays for your team, you love him im­mensely.

When he plays against you, he bet­ter duck or some­thing might hit him in the head.

It wasn’t al­ways like this. LeBron didn’t al­ways split the NBA fan base as he does now.

There was a time when he was revered as both the best player on the planet — he still is — and the most loved. OK, that might be a stretch.

“How you feel about the man shouldn’t cloud the fact that he is one hell of a bas­ket­ball player.”

An en­tire coun­try (China) loves Kobe Bryant. That puts the Mamba over the top in fan ado­ra­tion.

A six-foot-eight-inch, 260pound freight train with the bas­ket­ball, LeBron gets where he wants on the floor and makes op­po­nents weep at the sight of him.

LeBron has re-de­fined the im­age of a point for­ward. His jumper has al­ways been sus­pect, but he’s im­proved it ten­fold from where it was as a rookie in 2003.

The rest of his game is lights out. Off the drib­ble, it’s hard for even the best de­fend­ers to slow him down. He can fin­ish in space or in traf­fic and his abil­ity to see the floor puts him above his peers.

No dis­re­spect to Steph Curry, but LeBron is the best bas­ket­ball player on the planet. I mean it’s good that Steph was the first-ever unan­i­mous league most valu­able player, but I don’t think it should’ve hap­pened.

Not when this James guy plays in the same league. It’s not a pop­u­lar opin­ion, but there it is.

So, why is Steph uni­ver­sally adored but LeBron gets plenty of hate?

Maybe it’s be­cause LeBron has a ten­dency to say dumb things to the me­dia or per­haps the dag­ger was The De­ci­sion back in 2010. Ei­ther way, LeBron hasn’t been quite as loved as he once was.

Fans be­lieve LeBron holds ab­so­lute power in Cleve­land and makes per­son­nel de­ci­sions. Yup, that’s another rea­son for scorn.

So, there’s plenty of rea­sons to not like the guy.

He does in­deed de­serve some of the vit­riol be­ing spewed in his di­rec­tion. When he chose to take his tal­ents to South Beach, he de­served to see his jer­seys be­ing burned in the streets of Cleve­land.

That was cold and I think he knows it now. It’s prob­a­bly part of the rea­son he went back to The Land. Here’s the thing, though. How you feel about the man shouldn’t cloud the fact that he is one hell of a bas­ket­ball player.

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