Dribbling Discourse


cjones07052018

LeBron watch is over and King James is headed for Los Angeles. Of course, he’s not going to the Clippers.

LeBron James is a divisive figure, even though he’s never done anything bad other than win games, fail to win other games, and exercise his options in free agency. We could point at his politics, but hatred for him started before he even joined the NBA when he was a high school player and we didn’t know if he even had any political opinions. The guy even married his high school sweetheart and together they have three kids. What a horrible person.

James was popular in high school. So much so, that many of his high school games were moved to a college arena in his hometown of Akron, Ohio so it could seat more fans. ESPN2 broadcast one of his high school games, and Time Warner offered many of those games on pay-per-view. He was one of the most hyped high school prospects of all time. He was the first overall pick by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 draft.

He was faulted for not winning a championship with Cleveland and in 2013; he chose to leave for the Miami Heat. ESPN aired a special for his announcement. Cleveland fans burned his jerseys. The owner of the Cavs published an open letter criticizing James for leaving. Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson both criticized him for not staying in Cleveland to win a championship as “The Guy,” as he’d be playing with two other superstars, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. “Taking my talents to South Beach” became a mocking phrase. James won two NBA championships with the Heat.

In 2014, all was forgiven in Cleveland as James rejoined the Cavaliers. The rest of the nation, not so much. His critics fumed when he succeeded and celebrated when he failed. He finally brought the NBA title to Cleveland, which was the first professional championship for that city in 52 years. Despite all the hype, James did not become the highest paid player in the league until 2016.

Now, it seems Magic Johnson has forgiven him as he helped sign him to the Lakers, the second most valuable team in the NBA. His contract is reportedly for $154 million, paid over a span of four years.

Over the past few years, James has taken an interest in causes and politics. He’s a huge contributor to charity, even using The Decision, the show that announced his selection of Miami, to raise $2.5 million for the Boys & Girls Club.
He’s taken on such issues as the war in Darfur, the Trayvon Martin Case, Donald Sterling’s racist comments, the Michael Brown verdict, and the death of Eric Garner. He’s donated and raised money for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns.

His home was vandalized with racist graffiti, to which conservatives gave a “womp womp” to. He criticized the racist march in Charlottesville. He said, “It’s sad what’s going on in Charlottesville. Is this the direction our country is heading? Make America Great Again huh?” He later called Donald Trump a “bum” for rescinding a White House invitation to Steph Curry. Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham said he should, “shut up and dribble.”

Yesterday, social media blew up over James’ decision to join the Lakers. Though I didn’t read any comments on his race, it seemed those who had the strongest negative opinions were white conservatives. I wonder why.

I don’t watch much basketball and to me, nobody will ever surpass Michael Jordan. But we’re a nation that debates sports and that’s something we should never become angry about. We’re all partisans. Which is what politics has become. We care less about policy and more about team branding. Donald Trump voters don’t even know what they stand for anymore.

I have never hated LeBron because he never gave me a reason. I have rooted for and against him. But I have always rooted against Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the team she plays for.

If I had a diner, I’d much rather serve LeBron James than Sanders. Is LeBron overpaid for dribbling a basketball? Probably. Is Sanders overpaid for dribbling lies? Most definitely.

Watch me draw.

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