In the days after Dallas’ thrilling victory in the Finals, has the story been about Dirk’s masterful leadership and invaluable contribution to the team? That, with him, they started the season 24-4, and after he went down, they were 3-8? That in arguably the most competitive season of basketball ever, with numerous “super” teams, one player made such an impact? No.
Has it been about Dallas’ all-around outstanding team play on both ends of the court, heart and desire, and the masterful job done by Rick Carlisle? No.
Has it even been an interesting technical discussion of what caused the Heat to get outplayed as they did? No.
Instead, it’s been a whirlwind of derision aimed at LeBron James and some throwaway comments he made at a press conference shortly thereafter. Apparently, LeBron pointing out the painfully obvious (that sports is an “escape” from the real world, and so is hating him for many fans) makes him an arrogant criminal. “Professional” basketball writers like Dan Wetzel and Adrian Wojnarowski wrote juvenile screeds more reminiscent of angry railings by a drunk fan than any self-respecting writers. There were also breathless, chuckling reports about some minor league baseball team (in Chicago of all places, not even Cleveland) having a night to mock James, etc.
It’s quite maddening that in the midst of such an incredible and exciting story, the majority of the media has chosen to focus on such a childish non-story.
It’s even more ridiculous when one realizes that there are professional athletes who have done truly horrible, criminal things (Donte Stallworth killed a man while driving drunk) and most fans don’t seem to mind or care, but LeBron James switching teams on national television makes him the number one public enemy. And are we really surprised that a guy who has been treated like a living God since he was 14 years old is, you know…kind of arrogant and selfish? I mean, really?
One can certainly argue that I’m adding to this childish non-story by writing this article. However, my hope is that in identifying the problem, we can learn to tune it out, and concentrate our energies on more interesting basketball topics.
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