I'm a hater. I hate Lebon James. Always have. I remember his draft night 13 years ago and being depressed because I felt like I couldn't look up to a kid that young. I had graduated from college the past December and after failing on my secret desire to go back and play Juco ball, I was desperately trying to find myself in life and was insanely jealous of anyone who had meaningful basketball games left t play. Lebron became the target of all my jealousy. I was adamant Dwayne Wade should be the first pick. DWade had gone to college and was basically a peer to me. I could watch and learn from him just like I could from a teammate. I looked up to college players, because that was what I was still trying to become. I could root for guys in my graduating class even current college players, but how could I root for a high school prodigy? How could I admire and emulate a kid 4 years younger than me? I was trying so hard to move forward and all I really wanted to do is go back to high school to play basketball again. Now that I think of it, this is when I started to dream I was back at Desales every night.
Up until last night I could justify my hatred of Lebron on the grounds that he was physically the best and skill wise the best, because I knew I could never compete with him on either. Seeing Lebron James get drafted intimidated the hell out of me. So I gave up on ball inside. He had God given talent I could never have. But I could still argue he didn't have some intangible that would allow him to be truly great, and lie to myself that deep down I might have the one thing Lebron lacked. I justified this too myself by his lack of championship rings and attributed his 2 with Miami to Wade whom I had been arguing was a better player from day one. It all was perfect and could sit smugly and ignore the last decade of NBA basketball, dismissing it entirely as a collective delusion perpetrated on the masses by the powers that be to create a Colossus, only the Colossus wasn't quite as good as advertised. He had an achelies heel, that couldn't really be defined and I exploited that vagueness telling myself I had what he didn't. That is until last night when Lebron led the Cavs to the NBA title with a game 7 triple double as the cherry on his own MJesque "I'm Back" return he had manufactured by returning to Cleveland.
Now I have to accept Lebron is the Greatest. As a basketball fan I have to appreciate him. I can no longer pretend to live in the world before King James. King James was the guy who told me I was a has been. The moment he was drafted was the moment I knew my basketball career was over. I might have been wrong. But in a weird way it was avoiding the basketball world ruled by King James that has kept me from growing up.