January 13, 2011
LeBron James(notes) is in his hotel room in Los Angeles. He's just finished a delicious French Dip, the fries were a little mushy but that's what happens when they steam in a room-service tray for too long, and his former team is on TV. And they're getting demolished. And LeBron, because he's human, can't help but be filled with glee.
Because the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise coddled him for years, and then acted disgusted when James acted out last summer as the spoiled monster that they'd help create. Because the Cleveland Cavaliers, through a series of poor transactions, failed to provide him with a supporting cast that was ever worthy of his talents. The best player LeBron James ever worked with, before last October, was Mo Williams(notes). Mo Williams! And the Cavs wanted him to stay with that 57-point supporting cast because the Cavaliers were the closest NBA team to his hometown?
So LeBron, because he's human, is digging this. Though the Cavs are worse on Tuesday night because they're without Anderson Varejao(notes), the team is as nearly good on paper as the one that supported him last year, only trading Zydrunas Ilgauskas(notes) for Ramon Sessions(notes). And it's about to lose its 21st game in 22 tries. And though Cleveland could play .500 ball from here on out, and James' Heat could lose in the second round, this is all the validation James needs on this particular night.
Midway through the fourth quarter, he tweets this:
"Man, ****abuncha Dan Gilberts."
"That team has done nothing but talk s*** about me all year. Hope they're enjoying this."
"I should be nice about it, but this feels good. I don't care. This is who I had to play with last year."
"Suck it, @cavsdan."
As you know, he didn't actually tweet any of these thoughts. But had he, would you have blamed him?
Would you have had any problems with LeBron James being completely honest and telling you that he was loving the hell out of his former team and current combatants -- so obsessed with him that they switched hotels to avoid him -- getting their tails handed to them against a Laker team that LeBron's Heat demolished just a few weeks ago?
The problem was, that's not what LeBron wrote. Because he likes to have it both ways, he wrote this:
"Crazy. Karma is a b****.. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!"
As in, "don't talk badly about me, it is in poor form, but kindly step aside while I speak ill of you."
And you know what? LeBron James should be speaking ill of the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron's deserved every bit of scorn he's taken in since "The Decision," and yet Dan Gilbert has made him into a sympathetic figure in this regard, just because of how poorly Gilbert has handled all things LeBron-y since 2005.
But LeBron just doesn't get that you shouldn't have to reach to justify that anger. It has nothing to do with karma or the wrath of a vengeful presence in the sky. And then he makes it worse by saying this to the assembled media on Wednesday:
"It was just how I was feeling at the time. It wasn't even a comment from me, it was someone who sent it to me and I sent it out. It wasn't no hit at that franchise, no hit at that team, especially those players at all. I've moved on. I don't think it was no intent at all. Everyone looks into everything that I say. Everybody looked too far into it."
... and your head can't shake fast enough.
It's OK to feel that "at that time." You're lying through your teeth when you try to claim that "it wasn't even a comment from me," because even if you're echoing someone else's "karma is a b****" sentiments, that's still a feeling you're espousing. "It wasn't no hit at that franchise" is barely English, and you haven't "moved on."
And that's OK. It's OK if you never, ever move on. Because that was a tough breakup, even if you tried to be flip and callous and strut with a heightened level of fake insouciance last summer. I wouldn't be upset if Dan Gilbert never gets over it, either, because nothing lingers like a failed chance at greatness.
But stop trying to have it both ways. I'm not trying to tell James that he has to wear the black hat. He just has to cut out these moronic excuses and lame justification for things he shouldn't feel bad about. It's not wrong to trade in Mo Williams for Dwyane Wade(notes), and Anderson Varejao for Chris Bosh(notes). It's not wrong to be hurt when a former boss nearly twice his age rants and raves like someone half of LeBron's age. These things, honestly, are natural. They're fine.
Because James has never listened to anyone, ever, he tries to make it right while following his own instincts. And because he's never listened to anyone, ever, he still thinks his instincts are spot on. And, as the last few years have proven, he couldn't be more wrong in that regard. He starts in the right place, with feelings and actions we all can understand, and just blows it all to pieces.
Shut up or speak freely without pretense, LeBron. Enough of this insulting, and embarrassing, doubletalk.