Yes. I am almost positive you have heard everything you would care to know about Lebron and the city of Cleveland. I promise that this post is not about that at all.
What I want to discuss is the treatment of black athletes, by the media, the people that coddle them, and the ramifications of that treatment, which would thoroughly explain why Lebron took a shit on Cleveland in the manner that he did.
This country is infatuated with celebrities. With sports, you find that infatuation turns into genuine love and an extremely weird sense of attachment/entitlement to their favorite athletes. Ordinary fans pay their money to see and cheer people who they have no personal relationship with, while simultaneously putting them on an almost deity-like pedestal.
For some reason, the watching of these sports heroes, all the hopes and dreams of the fans are ingrained into one sports figure, team, or organization, to the point where the ebb and flow of the aforementioned have the capacity to affect the daily lives of those who pay to see them.
I am not a Clevelander, and even with my love for FSU football, my mind cannot wrap its head around the outcry of wishing death on Lebron James. You’ll never be able to convince me of this otherwise, so let us agree to disagree with that argument.
These athletes we prop up so much, we feel as if we know them because quite frankly, most of them grow up in front of our very eyes.
Lebron was plastered all over ESPN magazine as a junior high student, a high school student, and an NBA player. Even with the backlash, he’ll continue to be the primary point of conversation whenever basketball comes up and the season restarts.
There is no doubt in my mind that people have made concessions for his exceptional talent his entire life. This is not an uncommon occurrence. The NCAA is littered with stories of athletes who have not had the proper scores, GPA, or have cheated and nobody said a word because of said athlete’s skill. (see Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, Reggie Bush as the most recent examples of this)
To excuse this behavior is problematic for a number of reasons. For 1) excusing said behavior gives said player an aura of invincibility that quite frankly, black male athletes should be weary of participating in and 2) when you don’t hold someone accountable, it is extremely hard for them to see past themselves and deal with the ramifications of their behavior. That is where Lebron falls in.
ESPN had started speculating about Lebron’s decision for free agency almost 3 years before he became an actual free agent. ESPN made it a point to ask Lebron every single time he showed up what he planned on doing. ESPN reported every single move the other teams made to try and make cap room for Lebron. To his credit, Lebron, outside of rocking a Yankees cap and saying he liked playing at the Garden, didn’t really draw attention to himself for free agency.
ESPN made that shit a spectacle. And then they aired the show. And now they’re wondering how Lebron could be so self centered and egotistical. Double for Dan Gilbert, who pretty much admitted he was Lebron’s bottom bitch and did everything the pimp told him to do. Gilbert is now upset with Bron because well…he gave him the world and got dumped for a sexier version of the same thing.
It is interesting to note that Gilbert admitted that he had given free rein to Lebron and his friends during his entire stay. And is surprised at how he acted.
Let’s take a step back from the whole athlete perspective of it, and look it from a parenting point of view.
When you are raising a child, you want them to be able to be at their greatest, while not hampering their progress. You create rules, boundaries, guidelines, and an acceptable code of conduct so that your child is aware that though they are special, there are consequences for all of their actions.
Giving your child a limitless life in which to operate in, is asking for chaos, misconduct, and general all around fuckery. You can always tell which child has been brought up with discipline and which child has been given free rein to do whatever the hell he wants to do. One of those kids is always the good one and the other kid is always two steps away from someone beating his ass to sleep.
Lebron was 18 when he got drafted and had been given the keys to the city. He and his friends were allowed to do whatever they wanted, with nobody stepping into regulate his behavior. A behavior that was only problematic when he no longer wished to play for the Cavaliers.
So the next time you ask yourself how Lebron could do what he did, just remember. You are talking about a 25 year old kid who essentially wants to go play with his friends. A kid who has never been told no. A kid who has had every concession made for him so that he would never be responsible for any mistakes that he had made.
The question should not have been “how could he do this,” the real question should have been “what the hell did you expect from a self absorbed kid who’s never been held accountable for anything?”