I don’t have much use for professional basketball or hockey on television. (Frankly, these days, I don’t have much use for any pro sport that doesn’t involve bats and diamonds).
A generation ago, when I lived in the Washington area, back in the days of Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld, I attended some Bullets (now the Wizards) and Capitals games at Cap Centre and quite enjoyed seeing them live, but the games just move too fast to fit in a box.
Part of the pleasure of watching the Bullets was that they were a team, not a superstar with an entourage of lackeys on the court.
Nevertheless, I rather enjoyed seeing the Le Bron James haters get their comeuppance–not because I’m a big fan of James, but because the hatin’ was getting tiresome after Lo! these many years.
Now comes Sam Sommers to point out that, not only was the hatin’ getting tiresome, but it was also based on a simple, simplistic, simple-minded interpretation of events:
However, take a more careful look at the past few seasons of LeBron. On paper, at least, he has actually done a lot of the things we claim we want our sports heroes to do. He left salary on the table when he departed Cleveland for Miami, placing a greater emphasis on winning over money. In pursuit of a championship, he was willing to join a team that already had an alpha dog superstar in Dwyane Wade. And that whole criticism about passing up shots at the end of games—don’t we want our stars to check their ego for the good of the team?
But as sports fans, as in so many other walks of like, we gravitate toward the simple narrative in thinking about other people. Most sports fans wanted LeBron to stay in Ohio and try to bring his hometown team a championship. He made a different choice, and when he did so in notoriously poor and artless form, his die as villain was cast.