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Wizards fans were right about LeBron


(By Jonathan Newton - TWP)


Despite my desire never to wade into the stinking swamp of LeBron James media coverage, I wanted to point out one thing: Washington Wizards fans were national trailblazers in LeBron James bashing.

Many basketball fans began to see James as an egomaniacal narcissist during this year's playoffs, and many more rebelled against his irony-free self-adulation during this summer's free agency tour. But Wizards fans have known these things in their bones since at least 2008, the last of the three straight years James eliminated the Wiz in the playoffs.

Now, Wizards fans will grant you that James is a supremely talented basketball player. But while others were still in awe of his game, Wizards fans had already seized upon certain personality traits that make him one of the easiest superstars in the world to root against. This actually started during the 2006 playoffs, but it crystallized later. Here are three of my favorite moments.

(And I deliberately do not include James whispering into Gilbert's ear on the free-throw line during the 2006 series. Objectively, that was actually a pretty bad-ass thing to do, especially since it worked.)




The Crying

For most of the playoff games against the Wizards, LeBron was a linebacker on a field full of gimpy place kickers. He was bigger, stronger, faster and more powerful than anyone else. And yet when a Wizard limb got within a yard or two of LeBron's aura, he reacted in a way that would make Italy's soccer team ashamed. In one 2008 game, Roger Mason elbowed LeBron in the chest, and he grabbed his mouth in agony. And his coach was his enabler.

"LeBron is so strong, quick and athletic that when he drives, he gets hit all the time," Mike Brown said during the 2008 series. "Don't call a bump or something else on Gilbert [Arenas] or somebody else, just because they're smaller but disregard it with LeBron because it doesn't dislodge him. Unless he gets absolutely clobbered, they are not going to call it."

"You know, any time LeBron gets touched, Mike [Brown] runs out there like LeBron got shot or something," Brendan Haywood later countered. "Calm down Mike. It's not that serious. We're not trying to take him out. It's all within the confines of the game."

LeBron, though, saw things differently. And in the third person. Here's what he said after taking a legit blow from DeShawn Stevenson still later in the series:

"I definitely saw DeShawn coming but I didn't know that he hit me with a closed fist until one of my teammates told me. If we were on the park, something definitely would have escalated. If we was on the park where I grew up playing a lot of basketball, something would have happened. But I guess that's what they want to do. They want to hurt LeBron James this series. It ain't working."

"They want to hurt LeBron James" pretty much sums this one up.




The Traveling

This dates back to the 2006 series, the only playoff meeting when the Wizards had their full complement of players, and when the outcome of the series was truly in doubt. There were a couple times in there were LeBron seemed to take a few extra steps. Wizards fans never forgave him for that.

But whatever. He did it, the refs didn't call it, and you move on. Except in 2009, when the teams played a meaningless regular-season game, the refs finally called James for a travel at a key late-game moment, leading to a Wizards win. Which is when he unleashed "the crab dribble" on the world.

"We all make mistakes and I think I got the wrong end of the bargain," James said. "I watched it 10 times after the game and it was clearly a good play. So you live with it....I mean, it's a play that you don't see in this league much but myself. It's one of those plays where you have your trademark play, and that's one of my plays. You know, it kind of looks like a travel because it's slow, and it's kind of like high steps. But it's a one-two, just as fluent as any other one-two in this league. I got the wrong end of it, but I think they need to look at it again and need to understand that that's not a travel.

"What happens is when you take a crab dribble and you hesitate, that is not one step, because you still basically have a live ball. And then when you go into your one-two that's when the steps get counted. So if you look at the play, I take a crab dribble and find a crease and then I take my one-two. So it's a perfectly legal play, something I've always done and always been successful with."

Everyone complains about officiating, but to suggest that you have a signature move that refs simply don't understand is a different level of pouting. I don't much care if the NBA later rewrote its rules to legalize this play. I still have a one-word phrase that sums up the hesitation signature crab dribble: traveling.


(By Ned Dishman - NBAE/Getty)

The Overrated-ness

So LeBron James probably isn't overrated, and he probably never was. But when a role player on a middling team says that, you could probably ignore it. Or you could get Jay Z to record a diss track about that player, and have it played inside a club in his home town, with lyrics like this:

"Who the [bleep's] underrated? If anything they underpaid him. Hatin', that's only gonna make him, spend a night out of spite with the chick you been datin'."

That was ridiculous. But what turned it into pure farce was when LeBron was then asked about Jay Z's involvement:

You guys are feeding something that's really not a big deal. I'm here to play basketball. It's becoming a little bit too commercial at this point. I'm focused on getting our team prepared to play a basketball game, not worry about anything DeShawn may say or any of the Wizards say. It's about playing the game of basketball. It's getting a little commercial right now.

"It's getting a little commercial right now." Yeah. God forbid.

If LeBron decides to leave Cleveland, Dan Gilbert, Ernie Grunfeld and Gilbert Arenas will be the only three major figures remaining from the rivalry. The Wizards have emptied their roster, changed coaches and owners. The Cavs have a new coach and GM. But that rivalry, if nothing else, put Wizards fans on the right side of history.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 8, 2010; 10:13 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: Rob Dibble's strike zone is still weird

Comments

Don't really care where he ends up, just so long as he breaks Cleveland's heart(s).

LBJ knows he can't go to Chicago, even though it might be the best long term situation, because he knows winning 1 title wouldn't be enough - and he won't win 6 of them.

Posted by: tha_prophet | July 8, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I agree with this article Dan. It is truly pathetic how this free agency has gone down. To make an announcement show essentially is equally pathetic and shame on ESPN for allowing it to happen. It's disgusting the type of publicity this is getting and it's not like he's the best player to ever play.
I'm sure we could get in an argument but seriously, this league is a joke as it is more entertainment now as refs favor stars completely with calls and there is very little parody, then it is a sport.
Where is the late 80's, early 90's when you need them...now that was basketball. Jordan, Magic, Bird, Hakeem, Ewing, Clyde, Stockton, Malone, McHale, Worthy, Kareem...need I go on? I'll stick with my NCAA basketball and wishing them good luck as they move on from a pure game of calling travels, team play, and moving the ball around to a game of whining, selfishness, and disrespect of the game.

Posted by: svxcountry1 | July 8, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Great Talent and not sure you can say overated but he just seems like someone I wouldn't want on my team regardless of how good as he doesn't make the others around him better because it's all about the King. Funny that a supposed King is going to become the queen to Dwayne Wade in miami.

Posted by: jdb70 | July 8, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I heard ESPN is changing their name to LBJN

Posted by: CelticFCbhoys | July 8, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

This is all a song and dance.

Lebron is staying in Cleveland...period! Only during the All-Star break and mid-season trade period will Lebron consider leaving Cleveland and that's to do what Shaq did in Miami: get thrown a ring.

Whatever Lebron does, I will never like the guy nor route for him to win. He's funny, loved the old Nike commercials, but selfish, ego-maniacal, a complete and total narcissist, and did I mention selfish? This guy smells more of himself than Louisiana can smell the oil spill.

I saw Lebron's attitude before he even wore a Cleveland Cavalier uniform and he has lived up to every word I have mentioned about him.

Lebron, you are going to make me rich off of my predictions of you. Here's another one: You'll never win an NBA ring. Odds of winning? 1:1

Posted by: cbmuzik | July 8, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

This announcement show is raising millions upon millions for charity. What's wrong with that?

Posted by: Dellis2010 | July 8, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for this, Dan. It's like a much needed oasis in the vast desert of LeTravel coverage that we all seem to be crossing this week.

Posted by: CDon | July 8, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I hope LeBron returns to Cleveland -- they deserve each other.
Can you imagine how much he's going to cry when the entire Verizon Center chants, "DE-LON-TE! DE-LON-TE!" Even while the Wiz is getting beat down.

http://loosenupsandy.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html

Posted by: minorthread | July 8, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@Dellis2010

That's all well and good, but it's also a major publicity stunt to bring more attention to himself and his cause, which really is the very definition of egomanical. He's giving the proceeds away, I believe, so that people will look upon him as favorable and charitable. It's all PR. Guy is only out for himself.

Posted by: CDon | July 8, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

ROFL...This is a great article. LeBron IS overrated. He's a solid power forward at best. Wherever he goes his numbers will go down significantly because he won't have Mike Brown to make sure he handles the ball 90% of the time. That means, he'll have to work for his shots, play defense, and work within a system.

This whole free-agency thing is supposed to be about him going to a team that has a chance to win a championship. I think Cleveland had a team that was more than capable of making a Championship run. LeBron is no more interested in a championship ring than the man on the moon! (see A’mare Stoudamire)

This whole "I'm announcing my decision on ESPN" thing is a mockery of the league. He (and other free agents, Chris Bosh) have a flair for drama. I have watched the NBA go from a well respected league in the 70s, 80s and part of the 90s to a commercial driven side-show that resembles the WWF.

I think LeBron made his intentions clear when he said he wanted to be the first billionaire basketball player.

Unbelievable.


Posted by: carterm1 | July 8, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Stop whining everyone!! If there was no interest, do you really think his announcement would be televised. All the hype created an audience. I don't blame the guy for capitalizing on this. Go Lakers

Posted by: illslope | July 8, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

My suggestion to everyone is that they repeat to themselves "The NBA is a gutter league", "The NBA is a gutter league". Then everything begins to make sense. The slimy commissioner, the crooked refs, the apparent conspiracies, the out of control players. By the way, ESPN isn't exactly distinguishing itself by facilitating James' egomania. And I have to note that the pompous a s s Wilbon is going to be part of it too. He's some "journalist.".

Posted by: poguesmahone | July 8, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I'll always be a Bullets/Wizards fan. If you're not playing for the home team, then I have no room for you. Everyone knows he's overrated, but he's the biggest prize in free agency this year. Wade and Bosh are not superstars. Period. And don't get me started on Boozer...although he may have landed in the best spot.

Posted by: leo25 | July 8, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Wilbon does not come off well being associated with the NBA, and he comes off even worse for agreeing to play puppy dog for Lebron's infomercial tonight. I should have stopped paying attention to him when he got the manpurse.

Posted by: rdpinva | July 8, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

OVERRATED. If he wasn't he would have won the championship this year with a squad consisting of four former all-stars, one being a future Hall of Famer.

Also D-Wade is a superstar. When you carry a team to the championship you ARE a superstar.

Posted by: DonnyB | July 8, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Even as I hope he leaves just to crush the souls of all those front runners in Cleveland, I know he's too much of a baby to actually step out of the cocoon of his hometown. Why would he leave when he can get more money and is guaranteed to be the biggest fish in town. Plus, he can continue to make excuses for his failure to deliver a title. You think his excuses will fly in New York? They've seen bigger stars over there.

Posted by: tundey | July 8, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Wizards fans, just realize one thing:

Lebron > Wizards. Forever. and ever.

Cheers!

Posted by: popopo | July 8, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

All the hype is because ESPN shoves it down our throats. For the past 4 months there has been an article daily on espn.com and a story weekly on SportsCenter. I think most fans could give flying f***.

Posted by: tischmid | July 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

LeBron James announces that he will buy the Miami Heat, endorse the New York Knicks, marry two of the LA Clippers’ Spirit Dancers in a Utah ceremony in August, become Executive Vice President of Mining and Distribution for Polyus Gold (NJ Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s gold empire) and play basketball part-time for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Read the FUNNY article here:

http://www.dailygoat.com/2010/07/lebron-james-gives-thanks-god-signing-10-year-100m-endorsement-deal-heaven/

Posted by: eye95 | July 8, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't like LeBron James but would love to see Cleveland sulk and whine after he leaves. As long as they single-handedly protest the inclusion of Art Modell into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I wish the city's sports teams nothing but bad things.

Posted by: ams1986 | July 8, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"He's a solid power forward at best."

He's a small forward, and I think anyone can see he's much more than solid. I don't like LeBron either, but get your facts straight.

Posted by: 202character | July 8, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Northwestern University called. They'd like Michael Wilbon's Journalism degree back.

Posted by: tyroneshoelaces | July 8, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

SOUR GRAPES and rationalization. The Curse de le Boulez had no shot at Lebron. Accept it. Take the players other teams rejected to take their shot, and be happy. We are doing well and LeBron is currently the second best in the NBA (I am not a Koby fan, but, the teams he has been on (no Shaq, no Gasol, no rings) have won 5. Michael is far ahead of him as is Bill Russell and frankly, Wilt Chamberlain, from the historical ranks. Of course, Shaq is up there with his 4, as well.

Posted by: KDSmallJr | July 8, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

We are with lebron the way clevland fans were with MJ when he was at chicago. They hated him but wish they had him on their team. Yes, he whines about calls and gets away with stuff. So does most NBA superstars, LBJ, Kobe, AI, MJ all whines about calls. Tim Duncan, Rasheed and Kendrick Perkins have never committed a foul since they have been in the league if you go by them and yes LBJ travels just like we know MJ clearly pushed off on Bryon Russell for that famous game winning jumper but no offensive foul was called. LBJ is no different we just have more outlets and media like the web blog to complain about it today.

Posted by: ged0386 | July 8, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

IN THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES...IS ANYONE WORTH A 100 MILLION TO PLAY BASKETBALL?

....AND THEN YOU HAVE THE LIKES OF "FAT ALBERT", WHO WILL TAKE THE MONEY AND DOESN'T WANT TO COME TO WORK.

IT'S ALL B.S., HAVE WE ALL LOST TOUCH WITH REALITY?

THE OWNERS ARE FOOLS FOR GIVING THEM THAT KIND OF MONEY, AND WE'RE FOOLS FOR GOING TO WATCH THEM PLAY.

Posted by: JAD2 | July 8, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

svxcountry1

This is the same ESPN that has been covering Lebron since high school on national TV. Why would you expect them to be any less zealous now when he is a pro? Its not LBJ at fault here. Its the media for making it such a big deal that he feels the need to do this. Come on folks, ESPN covers the national high school players signings for crying out loud. We should be be angry about this? They have a 24/7 sports network. What else are they going to cover. We are the same people that demanded Tiger Woods have a press conference about his affairs. And when he did we said it was to short and controlled as if we needed him to have more press coverage. Now we are mad about lebron having a special to reveal who he will play for? We seem to want it both ways depending on the person and the reason. If Tiger Woods wanted an hour on ESPN we would have been all for that. We had no problem watching senate hearings all day about steroid abuse in baseball. But this we cant take?

Posted by: ged0386 | July 8, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

CDon

Sorry, I cant agree with you because we as the public are just as self serving as the athletes. When one of them messes up we demand that they call a press conference, explain themselves and apologize to us as if we are entitled to their private lives. So I say take the good with the bad. If Lebron shoots himself in the leg in a club or gets caught abusing dogs or is found to have 15 girlfriend and one of him accuses him or rape you will want a press conference from him wont you? And an hour wont be long enough. Dont blame Lebron, we and the media created his kind. Now live with the hype we demand and helped create around these athletes.

Posted by: ged0386 | July 8, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Where / who are the Washington Wizards ? Is that the team Rush Limbaugh coaches ? If the thieves on Wall Street make billions, I hope LeBron James makes just as much playing basketball. Please, someone tell me who are the Washington Wizards, do they play basketball ?

Posted by: wasaUFO | July 8, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

poguesmahone

But as a public we are gluttens for the vary thing that we complain about. We are a tabloid media hype driven society so why are we disgusted about Lebron using our hype for his gain? We are the same people that make nobody's like the Kardashians or Jersey boys/girls into celebrities. We are at fault here because this is what we as a public demand from our athletes all the time so dont get all purist on me now. You are the same one that would want a camera in the court if lebron was in trouble with the law. You would be stuck on court TV all day looking at it. Whats more disgusting than ESPN and Lebron is regular people like you and me getting all worked up over it like we dont crave this type of media hype over people all the time. Just think about how just a few months ago we were angry at Tiger Woods for not creating enough media attention to himself regarding his private life. Now we cant understand why Lebron gets an hour on ESPN for something positive? You people are the biggest phonys and hypocrites. You all are suckers to these reporters who want you to read there articles. If Tiger wanted to call an hour long press conference on ESPN to talk about his marriage and affairs right now none of you would have a problem with that. Stop being fake.

Posted by: ged0386 | July 8, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

wow, i hope you didn't hurt yourself taking down all those straw men ged.

Posted by: briffy | July 8, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

IN THESE TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES...IS ANYONE WORTH A 100 MILLION TO PLAY BASKETBALL?

....AND THEN YOU HAVE THE LIKES OF "FAT ALBERT", WHO WILL TAKE THE MONEY AND DOESN'T WANT TO COME TO WORK.

IT'S ALL B.S., HAVE WE ALL LOST TOUCH WITH REALITY?

THE OWNERS ARE FOOLS FOR GIVING THEM THAT KIND OF MONEY, AND WE'RE FOOLS FOR GOING TO WATCH THEM PLAY.

Posted by: JAD2 |

I hate when people pick on the NBA and NFL only. Because I think its racial. You dont care when Tom Cruise or some actor makes 20 million a film. Do you boycott the movie? When Jay Leno gets a fat contract do you get angry and stop watching Leno? When David Beckham or A-Rod gets 200 plus million to play soccer or baseball do you stop watching? No but soon as a black person in the NBA or NFL gets a big contract or media hype now you are upset and want to boycott watching. Dont just pick on the leagues that have black guys. Pick on everyone who is overpaid, overhyped and behaves badly. Doesnt baseball blow calls, have players that sometimes behave poorly, have overpaid players? Yet I dont hear you complaining about them. Could that be because when you turn on the game you see more white people than when you turn on the NBA and NFL? Closet racist?

Posted by: ged0386 | July 8, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

All the hype is because ESPN shoves it down our throats. For the past 4 months there has been an article daily on espn.com and a story weekly on SportsCenter. I think most fans could give flying f***.

Posted by: tischmid |


Hey man look on the bright side, If it were not for NBA free agency ESPN would be shoving Brett Farve down our throats until late August. Thats what they normally do this time of year. Think about that for a moment and you will feel much better about this.

Posted by: ged0386 | July 8, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

wow, i hope you didn't hurt yourself taking down all those straw men ged.

Posted by: briffy | July 8, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abus

Nope not at all sweetcheeks.

Posted by: ged0386 | July 8, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

EPIC post Dan! Despite all of these outta town trolls filling up the comments section with their short-sighted (and dare I say it, insecure) justifications for LeTravel's behavior, this post illustrates why any self-respecting Wizards fan hates LeBaby with a passion. Matter of fact, I go to Cavs games at the Phone Booth just to boo LeTravel. I took my girlfriend to a Cavs game last winter and she didn't believe me when I told her that "DC hates Lebron." She thought I was just hatin.

Sure enough, we booed LeBaby every time he touched the ball; we bboed him when he dunked on our whole team; we booed him when he made 3 straight threes; and we booed him as he walked off the court after a whoopin at the hands of Gil and the Wiz. Just a wonderful moment for me as a Wiz fan.

It feels nice to be vindicated! DC sports fans saw through LeBron's act in 2006 while the national media (and Cleveland's desperate fans) enabled the young man. All of this undeserved adulation (How many rings has LeBron won? None? Oh, okay.) has culminated in what will go down as the most cruel betrayal of a fanbase in the history of sports. Just watch tonight. Whatever LeEgo says tonight, he will lose...

To the fans of Cleveland, I just wanna say that despite all of the hard feelings between us Wizards fans and Cleveland fans, there are plenty of seats on the "LeBaby-is-a-Fraud" bandwagon and you are more than welcome to join us!

Posted by: MEssex | July 8, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

We all know the Zards suck ballz.. stop hating!

Posted by: rlomax67 | July 8, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Like him (LeBron) or not. Like this whole feeding frenzy or not reality is we all have participated in one form or another. My perception of LBJ certainly has changed, but as a long suffering Die Hard Knicks fan I certainly would like the Knicks' chances with him. Mentioning that James certainly has put a bulls eye on his back because anything short of multi titles will be deemed a monumental failure.
Sign of the times I guess.

Posted by: hodge346012 | July 8, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I know where LeBron should go...to the Gulf Coast...so that he can plug that oil leak with his over-inflated head.

Posted by: desidrew | July 8, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Miami. US Magazine reports he has rented six houses for this weekend's parties.

Posted by: bs2004 | July 8, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

This sounds like the Washington way. A player dominates you and call him a cry baby.

Posted by: rderr27 | July 8, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

MEssex

I think LBJ is losing about as much sleep over us Wiz fans hating him as Jordan did over Knicks or Cavs fans hating him. He loves it. That said, the hype over him is just a sign of the times. Remember we made the Kardashians and Jersey Girls and Boys famous. And they are far less accomplished than Lebron.

Posted by: ged0386 | July 8, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Ask Gill just how overrated LBJ is ... we all know several years ago in that play-off game between cleveland and Dc Gill choked on the front end of a one and one only for LBJ to whisper in his ear before the first foul shot " Gill you know if you miss this shot I'm going to go to the other end of the floor and win the game" How soon us DC fan's forget who the real joke of the NBA is .. ( GILL AGENT - Zero! )110 million reasons why the zards suck!

Posted by: rlomax67 | July 8, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Trust me he couldn't play on any playground I grew up playing on, because a foul was only called if you saw blood.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | July 8, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Media created hype has turned into a monster and has come to bite back.

Posted by: DesiHungama | July 8, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Excellent blog Dan, I had forgotten how much I hated LeBron and all of those Cavs "fans." I was telling people how much of a cry baby and chump LeBron really was back in 2007. Sure, our horse in the race has been a little beaten in the last two seasons, but I guarantee you the Verizon Center will be averaging more than 3K more fans than a LeBronless Cleveland will be.

I also love all the Wizards haters on here. If we're such an irrelavent team, why are you posting on our boards? What, are Cleveland's newspapers not good enough? Are you so insecure about your "man" and "team" that you troll through obscure sports blogs of sportswriters across the country? Kind of pathetic.

No matter how bad the last decade or so has been for D.C. sports, we can all take solace in the fact that it is far far worse in Northeastern Ohio, 63 years without a championship and still going strong fellas!!

Posted by: mtorioles | July 8, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Incredible work Agent Steinzzz! Can never get enough crab dribble.

Posted by: SchoenfeldsDonut | July 8, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Great article! I'm loving the "Witness" picture.

Posted by: Fontana1 | July 8, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

In DC we hate CryBron even MORE than Emperor Synder......at thats alot.

Posted by: nowhine | July 8, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Let's see. . .

1) The big ESPN 1-hour team announcement extravaganza was very likely the idea of LeBron's managers, advisers and ESPN-- NOT LeBron himself.

2) It was the MEDIA that played a central role in making LeBron as famous as he is and making his upcoming event as important as it is.

3) The money LeBron's persona generates during his 1-hour extravaganza will generate some money for a charity.

4) Every time a black man becomes super successful and rightfully decides to cash in on his success (the "American Way") suddenly it's all about his "big ego."

5) The same jealous wanna-be-athlete sports "journalists" who whine about LeBron's "big ego" will cry a sea of tears if LeBron refuses to talk to them and in so doing denies them and their media outlets a chance to become more famous and/or richer on his back.

6) Just another day on the American sports scene.

Posted by: rondavja | July 8, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe that many people really even care anymore about where lebron goes. some would probably even tell him where to go. he is NOT a star in the true sense of the word - nothing around him shines except him. jordan took pippen and some marginal players and won 6 times. Kobe did it 5 times. Lebron has done it NONCE (NOT ONCE)and still all these nba "fans" are running behind him like he is the second coming or something. it doesn't matter if he goes to miami - he will be the pippen to wade's jordan...i would rather see wade, bosh and some other grounded players as opposed to lebron "imposing his will" (a laugh) on other teams again. too bad his will isn't to win; he is too caught up in stats, only dunks, travels more than greyhound, has no 8-15 foot game to speak of and is not a good free throw shooter. and people have the NERVE to mention him and the big O (oscar robertson) in the same breath, not to mention the same conversation. Connie Hawkins, Julius Erving, George Gervin, Karl Malone, Rick Mahorn, Pete Maravich, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Wes Unseld, Tiny Archibald. These were true STARS in the nba...now try to rank Lebron "Look At Me" James in the same conversation. And I didn't mention His Airness, either. Can you see LeBrick one-on-one against Dominique Wilkens? Or even gerald wilkens....lol...he needs to get over himself, stop believing his own press and get to the business of playing basketball...Michael didn't need hours to decide to win 6; Kobe didn't need hours to decide to win 5. I'd rather watch the ladies play - at least it is real, clean, competitive basketball, not the WWE in basketball uniforms....

Posted by: drum7591 | July 8, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

The amount of attention he forces on himself continues to paint him in a negative life and shows how truly clueless he is about how to approach the fans and country PR wise in a positive way

He will forever be known as the leaderless, talented star who will never be known as one of the actual greatest

Posted by: Bious | July 8, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@rondavaja: I'll answer your points.

(1, 2) Yes, the media generated all the hype, because the dog days of summer are pretty quiet, as sports go. Baseball is moving sedately towards their All-Star Break. It will be a few weeks before casual fans pay attention as pennant races start to come into focus. The NFL is in training camp. The NCAA's "student" athletes aren't in session. The USA is out of the World Cup.

But ultimately, the power to turn what could have been a two-minute announcement into a one-hour hypefest was only ever in one man's hands: LeBron's. No matter how "packaged" he is, no matter how big his entourage, he is ultimately the only one responsible for how he presents himself. All he had to do was say "no." He was not compelled.

(3) This may be true. Medical science also benefited from vivisections carried out by Japanese war criminals on Chinese POW's. The incidental benefit does not necessarily make the underlying activity praiseworthy.

(4) This might well be true. But we've come a long way from the time when Jack Johnson was heavyweight champ, and a racist America cried out for a "Great White Hope" to put him in his place. I personally don't begrudge LBJ his fortune, but I don't have to approve of his attitude.

(5) Journos will cry because it's their paychecks on the line if they don't get access to LBJ.

(6) Wholly agree, but would add one thing: a lot of regular American sports fans are also sick of the LBJ show...and they were sick of it before your supposed Great White Media Conspiracy told them to be sick of it.

Posted by: ouij | July 8, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

For the record, in that 2006 playoff game, it wasn't just the whispering in Gilbert's ear. Players talk junk all of the time although rarely do they walk up to a player who is on the foul line. After Gilbert missed the free throws Lebron deliberatly went to the sidelines and facing the fans gave them the choke sign, putting is hand on his throat. You have to put this in context. It was Lebron's second year out of high school. Gilbert and Lebron had just played an incredible game to an overtime draw, each making one great play after another. Gilbert had tied the game several times with clutch three point gems after the Wizards looked beat. Lebron had no respect for the amazing clutch performances that both teams had just witnessed. He dissed the game, he dissed the fans, he dissed himself. I started disliking Lebron that day and have never quit. It's interesting now to see the rest of the non Washington basketball world start to see the sick little brat Lebron that we saw back in 2006. He is no champion and never will be, even if Wade and Bosch win him a ring.

Posted by: johnnyboy4 | July 8, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

i'll say it again. ufck Lebron james!!!!

this ego trip and self promotion BS has disgusted me since day 1! it's not important that a guy is going to make $100 million or more to play the game of basketball. Good for him but don't act like this has some level of social importance. All this shows you is just how ignorant we ALL are as Americans that bull crap like this matters and draws attention in our society. I hope the folks in cleveland run you and your entire family out of town too. you could have been a man and been upfront. but you wanted to be some media diva. that's just straight be-otch to me.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 8, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Queen James, don't ever do that again

Posted by: DontEverDoThatAgain | July 8, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the guy, but Lebron's Lightning Lemonade is a pretty awesome bubble gum flavor.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 8, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Great article Dan ... one of your best ... and I like a lot of them.

Posted by: neathridge | July 8, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The Bullets/Wiz may not be great - but they have won a championship. That is something LeCrybaby has yet to do. Go Wiz!

Posted by: tylerdurden1 | July 8, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Great post as usual Steinz. I was at the "Crab Dribble" game, which was the brightest spot in what turned was a terrible year for the Wiz.

However, no recounting of the LeBron hatred saga would be complete without the following two words: Soulja Boy. Now that was an awesome game !!

Posted by: thebone | July 8, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

@ouij I'll answer all of your statements with just ONE point:

You're so supposedly "sick" of LeBron James that you spent several paragraphs writing about him and his "big ego" and yakking about a "Great White Conspiracy" that must in fact exist in you-- As you doth protested too much. In your case, if it wasn't for LeBron James, you wouldn't have much of a life. You should thank LeBron for adding some dimension to your existence instead of whining about it.

Posted by: rondavja | July 8, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

@rondavja

It always makes for a good argument to stoop to asshattery.
Communication > Bullying in any forum.

Peace to you and yours.
Go Bullets/Wizards!

Posted by: chucktownCAPSfan | July 8, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@rondavaja: I didn't want to do this, but I'll clarify. I took issue with YOUR characterization that LeBron was somehow not responsible for staging this spectacle--he IS responsible.

I took issue with your contention that this spectacle was somehow praiseworthy--I do not find it so.

I took issue with assertion that the disgust with LBJ's egomania was somehow race-related--it is not. If it is, I have not been shown enough evidence to convince me it is.

Finally, I disagreed with your general assertion that it is ONLY because of a possibly racially-inspired media frenzy that people take issue with LBJ. They disliked him before this.

LBJ is many things, but he is not the martyr you make him to be.

Posted by: ouij | July 8, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm only watching to see what ESPN puts on in the 50 minutes after James makes his announcement. Maybe they can show his highlights from Game 5 of the Boston series.

Oh. Wait ...

Posted by: rcjhawk1 | July 8, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Well now let's be honest. Skip Bayless is the leader in LeBron bashing. But we were definitely the early runners-up in figuring out that this guy was a fake.

Posted by: mcgratsp | July 8, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

still the 3rd best team in the east behind Orlando and Boston. and if Washington do trade Arenas to Orlando, they will be the team to bet. don,t see Washington trading him. three years getting he knee right ans may to pass the Heat as the 3rd best team in the east

Posted by: lostdogrwd1011 | July 8, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

This is the greatest sports article I've ever read.

Posted by: brian71490 | July 8, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

While this 1 hour special was a bit self indulgent, the statement by Dan Gilbert makes it easier to understand why he had to leave.

No one who feels that type of vitriol about a person can hide that very well.

From the inept Danny Ferry to the bringing in of a cooked Shaq to D. West 'getting' with his Mom, plus the thought of ending up toiling away like KG did in Minnesota, I get why he had to leave. Same reason Shaq left Orlando, same reason KG and Ray banded together with Pierce.

Like he said, he didn't want to end up 31 with bad knees and no rings.

Can't be mad at that.

Posted by: kahlua87 | July 9, 2010 5:09 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: cookienihui | July 9, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

No one can tell me that, if he'd somehow chosen to sign with the Wizards, he wouldn't have been welcomed here like a prodigal son. I don't believe that for a millisecond.

Posted by: BMoreChil | July 9, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

@rderr27 - couldn't agree with you more...

Posted by: funkey | July 9, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Dan, I knew I could count on you to deliver on this moment of illumination of the world all over (except maybe in Miami). In talking with Cavs fans last night, after expressing utter disbelief, anger and grief, they whimpered "you were right all along". If it wasn't so sad... no, it's still a little rewarding.

Posted by: trolly_time | July 9, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Ask Gill just how overrated LBJ is ... we all know several years ago in that play-off game between cleveland and Dc Gill choked on the front end of a one and one only for LBJ to whisper in his ear before the first foul shot " Gill you know if you miss this shot I'm going to go to the other end of the floor and win the game" How soon us DC fan's forget who the real joke of the NBA is .. ( GILL AGENT - Zero! )110 million reasons why the zards suck!

Posted by: rlomax67 | July 8, 2010 3:29 PM

Will you watch NBA basketball before you comment on here, there is no one and one in the NBA, if you're going to try and spoil the fun atleast get a simple fact straight. Or go talk about college ball

Posted by: SkinsWizStangs | July 9, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

For all these years I though I disliked Cleveland as well as Lebron. Now I know that Cleveland is a fine basketball team. It's Lebron and only Lebron that I dislike.

Posted by: Dlewis10 | July 10, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

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