Fourth and Long

Published 12:54 pm Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I do not hate Lebron James.  I do not “hate on” Lebron James. I do not even dislike Lebron James. Why do I feel like I am alone on this?

I am not about to write some sob story about how and why you should feel sorry for the self described “King James.” He is a grown man that is very rich, very talented and very much blessed athletically. If it did not involve you giving up your family and friends many of you would trade places with him in a minute.

The truth is you shouldn’t feel sorry for Lebron James. LBJ is doing just fine. What I don’t understand, however, is why you feel the need to dislike him so.

Is it because he seems arrogant? If you think Lebron is cocky then you are right. Up until a month ago, Lebron was considered the best basketball player in the world by many experts. It has been my experience that the best players usually are cocky and confident in their ability to beat anyone at anytime. Fact is they are right more often than they are wrong.

My wife would tell you it is because he isn’t loyal. I could argue that Ohio, Cleveland, the Cavaliers and their owner Dan Gilbert were not loyal to him.

He is a Buckeye born and bred. He was drafted by, and signed with, the home state Cavaliers. He led a franchise out of financial ruin just by showing up and giving the most exciting show in basketball night in and night out. He pled with management to surround him with enough talent to win an NBA Championship and they gave him an old and often injured Shaquille O’Neil.

Lebron opted out of resigning with the Cavs for a third time and instead chose to pursue the one thing he said he wanted from the very beginning, an NBA title.

As thanks for years and years of being the only good thing about Cleveland people outside of Cleveland talked about, they burned his jersey and called him a traitor.

Since then the city and state have continued to ostracize James while Dan Gilbert has publicly called him a coward and the governor of Ohio has celebrated his failure by honoring the Dallas Mavericks for being loyal to their city and beating Miami. It was classless.

Is it because he is rich? If so, I suggest you get over it. I wish I was rich too, but I see no reason to be mad at him for accepting 90 million dollars from Nike. Maybe you think you wouldn’t have taken the money, but then again maybe you think you poop strawberries too. Hate all you want, but unless you are Bill Gates (hi Bill) I am guessing you would take Lebron’s money in a minute.

Is it because he talks too much? He does talk too much, but that is not his biggest problem. His nemesis is his honesty. He doesn’t always say what people like to hear.

He caught a lot of grief in the media this week because of his comments about “haters” having to continue to live their life after he failed to achieve his goal. Nobody was mad at him for saying something inaccurate because he was right, they do have to continue to live their hater lives.

If you are a Lebron hater, then I am willing to bet that the reason you hate Lebron is because he didn’t live up to your expectations of him.

Both fortunately and unfortunately for him he was hyped up and compared to Jordan. He is not Jordan. Don’t hate him for that though, everyone I know is not Jordan.

He chose not to stay in Ohio, the state that he loves. Neither did my wife and about a million other Buckeyes that have relocated to the great state of North Carolina. The weather there sucks, the barbeque is weird and the governor is a jack donkey.
I don’t blame him. I would choose Miami too.

You don’t have to love the guy, you don’t even have to like him, but at least give the guy a break. Hating Lebron has become sport and the only one I’m not a fan of.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publishing. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at