Witness a critical examination of our generation’s most polarizing and preeminent sports figures.
Many have scrambled to admonish LeBron in the wake of his miscalculated decision, most inaccurately and without just cause. Through lively discourse, this event seeks to determine James' historical and cultural value.
Panel to feature five elite UMass professors and industry professionals, including:
Sut Jhally, Communications
William Strickland, African-American Studies
Bryan Bracey, Sport Management
Aron Phillips, Managing Editor of Dime Magazine
Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Tyreke Evans, James Harden, Derrick Fisher and Timberwolves rookie Derrick Williams will join Kobe Bryant at the Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend in the Philippines.
Event organizer, and Filipino coaching legend Chot Reyes told reporters, “We almost had Blake Griffin. He already said yes, but his brother is getting married.” DeAndre Jordan was invited as well, but had passport trouble.
Maybe some NBA stalwarts will wake up one day and make some power moves. The players are the product, and without the players, the NBA is nothing. If 10 All-Stars got their minds right and decided to do a playground tour, let alone arenas, you’d have companies lining around the block to put their bids in.
Perhaps LeBron is the spark? (No chance, but it’d be revolutionary.)
Lebron James is in Akron today for July 4th, and he should be on vacation, enjoy his time off. He also might be on extended vacation due to the lockout, so here’s what he can do while that time passes by.
1. Watch the Tape of the Finals over.
The first step to curing your problems is to admit that you have one. I don’t think he really believes that, at least not yet. He needs to expose himself to what he did, or better yet what he didn’t do. Athletes are not always self aware, and I think Mr. James is somewhat aloof to a fault.
2. Stop saying you use Hate as a tool of motivation.
If he really used hate as a tool, they would’ve won because the Heat got more hate than anyone. He should not even dignify the criticism with a response. Let your play do the talking, that way none of the things you say will be over anaylzed like they are on a daily basis.
3. Don’t even think about a Sports Psychologist.
Some people advocate that Lebron should use one, I don’t think that’s a good idea. The dude is 26 going on 27, and it’s just basketball. He’s not mentally unstable, he seems to just shrink from big moments. Trust me, a psychologist won’t fix that, only Lebron can.
4. Learn a Postgame!
He’s already dominant in everything else besides shooting. If he creates the phase to the game, then forget it. It’s not like Jordan and Kobe are apart of some exclusive club of perimeter players who use post games, Lebron can learn it to, it’s the next and possibly final step of his evolution as a player.
5. When you come back, just win.
Winning will shut up everybody, that’s all I gotta say.
Excellent piece written by Scott Mizuno on LeBron’s shortcomings. I completely agree, LeBron’s non-existent post game is appalling and he has a LOT to work on this summer if he hopes to notch his first chip in 2012.
As a junior in high school, LeBron James was anointed “The Chosen One” bySports Illustrated. Nike even started a “Witness” campaign marketing him and his signature shoes. LeBron supporters would argue that the media is the reason that he is portrayed as somebody with a holier-than-thou attitude, which is partially true, but LeBron embraced it. Sports Illustrated didn’t force LeBron to tattoo “Chosen 1” on his back. Nike didn’t force him to tattoo “Witness” on his leg, and Twitter didn’t make LeBron’s Twitter handle “KingJames.” The media might have created it, but LeBron basks in it.
But what exactly are we witnessing?
We’ve witnessed the most gifted athlete of my generation. We’ve witnessed LeBron carry a talentless Cavaliers team to the best record in the league two seasons in a row, and we’ve witnessed some remarkable individual playoff performances. But we’ve also witnessed annual playoff failures. We’ve witnessed “The Decision,” and we’ve witnessed the championship-like celebration before they even held a practice.
After the Mavericks won the title, my girlfriend said, “The Heatles? Pah-leeez!” That’s how the majority of the country felt, and based on the events that transpired over the previous 12 months, those feelings were completely justified. However, the last 12 months aren’t even what bothers me the most about LeBron James. It’s the last eight seasons.
When LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, he essentially took the same talents that he came into the league with. Don’t get me wrong, LeBron has improved, but he has improved on the skills that he already had. He was a freak athlete that got bigger and stronger. He was a good passer and became a great passer. He had the tools to become a good defender, and he became a great defender. But what weaknesses has he improved on?
Magic Johnson learned a set shot to keep defenders honest. Jason Kidd came into the league known as _ason because he had no “J”; he is now third all-time in three pointers made. When Michael Jordan came back from retirement (the first time) he developed the most unstoppable fadeaway jumper the league has ever seen. Kobe Bryant called up Hakeem Olajuwon to add elements to his post game.
LeBron? Eight years into his career, his jumper is still inconsistent, he still isn’t a good free throw shooter, his midrange game is spotty, and his post game is about as pretty as Aubrey Huff diving for fly balls in the outfield.
Last night I played in a co-ed softball league. It was my first game since I played baseball in high school so I was pretty nervous. I rode some pine for the first few innings (I’m a platoon player at this point. Double switches, situational matchups, you know, that sort of thing), but when I came in, I went 1-1 and committed two errors at shortstop on the first three balls hit to me. You better believe I’m going to take some groundballs before my next game. It’s a weakness. I need to improve on it. LeBron should be doing the same.
LeBron is “The Chosen One” in that he has all of the physical tools that a basketball player would want. In the Create a Player mode on NBA 2k11, you create LeBron James. But that’s what upsets me the most. It’s not LeBron’s comments in postgame press conferences, his blatant refusal to sign autographs unless a camera is on him, or even “The Decision.” Purely as a basketball fan, even though I do not want to see him succeed, I want to see him be great. I want to see the most gifted athlete of my generation seize the moment during big games, not shy away from it. I want to see the most gifted athlete of my generation address his weaknesses in the offseason, not ignore them. I want to be able to tell my kids, “Yeah, I saw LeBron James play during the prime of his career. Be jealous.” And most of all, I want to be able to tell my kids that he was “The Chosen One” and he lived up to it.
We watch sports for the chance to witness remarkable performances. LeBron’s physical gifts give him the best opportunity of any athlete to provide one of those performances on any given night. His refusal to improve his weaknesses, however, is robbing himself and sports fans of those moments, which is a travesty. Even though I will be rooting against him because of all the things he stands for, I won’t complain if he does something that makes me say, “I can’t believe I just saw that.”
I’m going to go take some groundballs. LeBron, hopefully you’re somewhere with your back to the basket.
Don’t expect LeBron to catch a break until he’s retired.
Peoria Chiefs lampoon LeBron James
For one night, fans of the Peoria Chiefs can have their own replica of LeBron James' first championship ring.
Call it the cheapest promotion in sports history because, like James’ ring, the handout doesn’t exist.
The Chiefs, a Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs in the Midwest League, will hold a “LeBron James NBA Championship Replica Giveaway night” Thursday, poking fun at theMiami Heat star’s loss in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks.
"Replica rings" — also known as air — will be handed out by stadium workers as fans enter the park, according to Chiefs spokesman Nathan Baliva.
Throughout the game, Peoria will honor “a true champion” — the Chicago Bulls' six NBA titles — with video clips and audio highlights, and the Chiefs will take the field to “Sirius,” the Alan Parsons Project song used by the Bulls during their player introductions.
The Chiefs said they are “looking into” whether they can skip the fourth inning — another poke at James, who scored just 18 points during the fourth quarter in six NBA Finals games.
"We aren’t sure if the league will allow it," Peoria president Rocky Vonachen said in a statement. "But if LeBron doesn’t need to show up for the fourth, maybe we won’t, either."
Among the other James promotional digs planned: A fan will win a “replica” of James’ Finals MVP award (which actually went to the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki), and Heimlich maneuver classes will be offered to help prevent people from “choking in a big situation.”
"Really, this is just us getting back to the real world and waking up today and trying to solve our own personal problems," vice president of ticket sales Eric Obalil said.
Baliva said a Bulls tribute for Thursday had been in the works since November, in hopes that Chicago would be coming off another NBA championship.
The James addition to the promotion was announced midday Tuesday, and Baliva said there was an immediate reaction.
"We were seeing stuff not just from Chicago and Cleveland, but all over the country," Baliva said.
If you play in the National Basketball League in China, you wear Li-Ning shoes. Even when they’re not. And that’s exactly what you’re looking at here in these photos of players feet in China’s minor league NBL system wearing Nike shoes with Li-Ning branding.
Much like the NBDL (or “D-League”) plays second tier to the NBA in North America, the NBL is a semi-pro league in China. Li-Ning is the official sponsor of the NBL and it forbids players from wearing the shoes of other companies. But you still can. That is, if you slap these Li-Ning logo stickers on your shoes to cover up the stripes and badging of other brands. - CounterKicks
“The irony to me is that LeBron is not Michael. LeBron is actually Scottie. He’s so similar to Scottie in that defensively he was just a monster, could guard anybody, really more of a point forward than scoring guard. Scottie always loved to distribute the ball. That’s really where LeBron’s preference is.
Phil Jackson used to call Scottie a ‘sometimes shooter.’ Sometimes they would go in, sometimes they wouldn’t. That’s how it is with LeBron. He’s a great talent and a great player but you can see his flaws as a basketball player. He doesn’t have an offensive game that he can rely on: no low-post game, no mid-range jump shot so when the game really gets tough he has a hard time finding easy baskets and getting himself going. That’s what Michael did in his sleep so that’s why the comparison is wrong.”
Steve Kerr rebuffs the MJ/LBJ comparisons. While I agree with this, I think this tremendous failure and the heaps of criticism unloaded upon him will propel LeBron forward this summer into developing the holes in his game. If he comes back with the same post moves (NONE), I would be appalled.
LeBron has stunted his potential by teaming up with other stars but he truly is a deferrer, a team guy. We just want him to be these other things and castrate him when he fails to meet our expectations.
After pretty much squashing all notions of being “un-clutch” in the earlier rounds of the NBA Playoffs, LeBron has fed into the hands of his detractors with two consecutive fourth-quarter no-shows. LeBron has become the most-hated athlete in America, and vitriol is tossed his way at catastrophic proportions. Some would say he’s brought it upon himself, but that is certainly objective.
I anticipate that the Heat will win Game 6 because David Stern is certainly using all of his power to exhaust the value of this classic series. In the meantime, check out this Game 5 review and Game 6 preview from the newest member of the Who is LeBron family, Anthony Canton and his brand new podcast “AC’s Spotlight.”