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News » Hey LeBron, it's time to grow up 2009-06-01

Hey LeBron, it's time to grow up 2009-06-01

Hey LeBron, it's time to grow up 2009-06-01
Can somebody please tell LeBron James that "King" is not an official title?

''I think Isiah did a heck of a job leading his team,'' Jordan said in June 1990 after he lost to his least favorite team (the Pistons) and one of his least favorite players (Isiah Thomas) in the Eastern Conference finals. ''He initiated things and that's what he needed to do."

LeBron also said, "It doesn't make sense for me to go over and shake somebody's hand," but actually, it makes plenty of sense. And you know who agrees with me?

Magic Johnson!

"You hear so much talk about him as an individual player," Magic said in 1991, after Jordan's Bulls beat his Lakers, "but he's proved everyone wrong with this championship."

If you gave Jordan the choice between complimenting Isiah and having his tongue removed without an anesthetic, he would have asked you for a pair of pliers. And Magic, one of the most competitive athletes ever, surely did not like Jordan knocking him off his throne.

You're not supposed to like it. But you are supposed to do it.

LeBron needs to understand that.

In 1991, Jordan said the two-time defending champion Pistons had been bad for basketball with their overly physical play. The Pistons took offense, and after the Bulls swept them, several Pistons walked off the floor without shaking the Bulls' hands.

Media across the country ripped the Pistons (and rightfully so). Well, James deserves some heat, too. At least the Pistons had the excuse, however weak, that Jordan had denigrated their championship runs. The Magic did not come close to insulting LeBron.

He wasn't being competitive. He was just being a sore loser. And nobody likes a sore loser.

Look, I'm the same guy who wrote last month that LeBron is clearly the best player of his generation, that nobody else comes close and that he has a chance to be the best player ever. And he did absolutely nothing in this series to make me think otherwise.

He averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.2 assists in the series.


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Those are absurd numbers, and for comparison's sake: In the regular season, when he was merely the runaway MVP of the league, James averaged 28.4, 7.6 and 7.2. His supporting cast got exposed by the deeper, more skilled Magic. But James actually elevated his game in this series.

By walking off the floor and refusing to shake hands or answer questions, LeBron just gave his critics fuel. It is counterproductive.

But it was also just plain wrong. The difference between athletes and movie stars is that athletes can't just storm off the set. They are held accountable. When they fail, they're supposed to talk about it.

That is what makes sports so real, so alluring.

And you know who agrees with me?

LeBron James!

"We went up against a better team," James said in 2007, after losing to the San Antonio Spurs in his only Finals appearance so far. "We know the Spurs are definitely the better team in this series."

That was the LeBron I like. That was the guy who seems to combine everything you would want in an NBA star: athleticism, intelligence, skill, class, unselfishness.

This latest disappearing act makes me worry that the best player in the NBA is falling into the same trap as other star athletes. In sports, being in love with yourself means never having to say you're sorry.

LeBron should be better than that. He said he e-mailed Dwight Howard after the game. Howard deserved better than that, Orlando deserved better and next time, LeBron James should do better.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 1, 2009


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