LeBron James has had a cult following well before he bolted into the NBA as the No. 1 overall pick with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. Even though greatness is something that is recognized, it can be used as a double-edged sword.
Sports are what my life is truly based around. I work in the sporting industry, I write about sports, and I love sports. However, as much as I could always recognize LeBron James as the best player in the NBA, I was a hater. Like many people, there is something that feels good about going against the grain and hating the greats. Whether it was his awful hairline, his flopping, or his crybaby mentality whenever the call didn’t go his way, I hated LeBron.
This may be the stupidest thing that I have ever done and it really changed my idea around being a sports fan. Being a bandwagon sports fan is my biggest pet peeve in sports, so hanging with LeBron was something that I never wanted to do, because I wasn’t one who loved him since his days with the Irish. I wanted LeBron to go his entire career without winning a championship, instead of witnesses the potentially greatest basketball player to ever live excel.
For a 22-year-old sports fan, I was only 12-years-old when LeBron came into the league, and although that is a young age, I still had enough sports knowledge to understand that James was great. However, I ignored it. You would see the clips on SportsCenter about him putting up a triple-double or dunking over two defenders, but I never thought anything of it.
In grade 12, I’ll always remember my teacher telling us that we should watch LeBron James play basketball every single chance you can get. I trusted those words, but never seem to take that to heart: until now. I have friends who are the biggest die-hard LeBron fans and have been since day one, but I’ve always ignored them and would like to argue that Durant is better. However, those times have changed and I’ll be captaining the LeBron James bandwagon this season.
His letter to Sports Illustrated changed my views on him, and when I thought about it, I realized that I have been missing some of the greatest basketball being played in the last decade. It made me upset that his best basketball could be potentially behind him individually, although his team game will continue to benefit with the weapons around him for seasons to come.
For someone who has obsessed over sports, it is crazy to think that I’ve allowed LeBron James’ career to pass me by without truly appreciating it. Therefore, this is a vow for not only myself, but for anyone who has interest in basketball to watch as many LeBron James games as possible. There may not be an athlete who is as physically gifted or can play the game of basketball the way LeBron can for a very long time. For someone who was too young to watch Michael Jordan in his prime, I was given the chance to see a second coming of greatness, but kind of brushed it off.
Therefore, this season will be filled with Cleveland Cavaliers games because I owe it to myself. Even if the Cav’s were playing the Philadelphia 76ers at 3:00 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, people should be watching James play the game of basketball. Don’t let these last few years of James’ prime pass you by. I’ve already regretted the first decade of his career, and I’m not ready to let another decade slip past me.