Especially, I’d reckon, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Bill Livingstone, who in addition to blasting LeBron James for his unwillingness to make adjustments (“he just doesn’t get it, not even in the game of basketball, at which he is supposed to be such an intuitive genius”), took considerable offense at The Chosen One’s cringeworthy remarks following Miami’s Game 6 elimination at the hands of Dallas.
What is especially striking is how completely Wade has become James’ chaperone. James, a man who wears wrist bands with the words “King James” on them, shot glances at Wade Sunday night when tough questions came their way, deferring again and again. This, all in all, is probably for the best.
When left to his own devices, James says stupid things that reveal how twisted the culture of modern sports has left his perspective. He not only has almost no connection to the lives of ordinary people. He has also no respect for their loyalty and passion. He even belittles them.
“They have to wake up and have the same life that they had before they woke up today, the same personal problems,” James said of his critics. “I’m going to continue to live the way that I want to live … But they have to get back to the real world at some point.”
He still gets to be the global icon. Just like he got to drive the Hummer in high school in Akron. Just like he got to play near the banner in Cleveland that urged us all to “witness” his wonders. The idolatry within the cocoon in which he lives has made advertised greatness indistinguishable from its reality.
Many of the little people out there in ordinary life land work hard at less enjoyable pursuits than basketball, trying to scrape out a better life for their kids. Denigrating them is as immature as mocking Nowitzki when he was sick during a game. In the wealthy world of pro basketball, it is as futile as trying to substitute riches for respect. It is as misguided as trading celebrity for character.