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LeBron just a playground bully
Mostly, we die from what we don’t know, the things we choose to ignore or never took the time to learn.
Thursday night, an hour after LeBron James bullied the overmatched and cowardly Cleveland Cavaliers with a masterful 38-point, three-quarter explosion in The Return, King James continued his public-relations self-destruction.
“My intentions,” James said of The Decision that fueled a night of hate at Quicken Loans Arena and turned the NBA’s best player into a national villain, “was on point. Maybe the execution was a little off.”
James, just 25, has never heard or can’t comprehend the meaning of a very old cliche: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
In the aftermath of bludgeoning the Cavs, denying outraged and still-hurting Clevelanders a measure of revenge for his classless exit, James refused to jump on the highest road and apologize for the pain he caused the fans who loved him for seven years.
He won’t express remorse, he says, because his intentions were good. The Decision, he says, was created to help kids.
BP drilled for oil in The Gulf with the best intentions, too. The captain of the Titanic intended to get its passengers across the Atlantic Ocean in record speed. Jim Jones intended for his followers to drink Kool-Aid and go to heaven.
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People apologize for the consequences of their behavior. James can’t grasp that because his immense, God-given talent allows him to negate the consequences of his improper actions.
He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. Fame and wealth reduce the consequences of ignorance. Most Cavs fans and Ohioans aren’t famous and wealthy. They lived vicariously through LeBron James. His uncaring departure ripped open old wounds of insecurity, of being The Mistake by the Lake.
Thursday night, as James powered the Heat to a 118-90 victory, James undercut the brilliance of his performance by mocking the Cavaliers with non-stop trash talk and taunting body language. Throughout the first half, he took every opportunity to stand in front of the Cavaliers bench and talk to his former teammates.
“From me it was,” James responded when asked if the trash talk was good-natured.
From the Cavs, not so much. An assistant coach told James to shut the hell up. James and Mo Williams seemed to have an uncomfortable pregame exchange. Boobie Gibson took the most interest in jawing back and forth with James.
James’ intentions were good. He wanted to create the impression that the signs, the “ass----” chants and the boos did not hurt him.
Instead, he looked like a bully.
Despite their early-season struggles, James and the Heat have perfected the art of beating up bad teams. They’re 11-1 against teams with sub-.500 records. The Heat are 12-8 overall. You do the math. Ponder what it says about the Heat.
Thursday night they embraced the villain role because they knew Batman was in San Antonio or Boston or New Orleans or Dallas or Los Angeles.
The Cavaliers, 7-11, did not want to win Thursday’s game with anywhere near the intensity of their fan base. If they did, someone on their roster would’ve planted James on his rear early in the game. Some Cavalier would’ve sent James a message.
James could smell the fear and conducted himself accordingly. Bullies feast on weaklings. One of my peers compared Thursday’s game to Mike Tyson walking across the ring and knocking out Michael Spinks in less than a minute.
Evander Holyfield never feared Tyson.
I’m not sure what to make of Thursday night. For my money, the most significant sign of progress for the Heat was the strong, high-energy play from big man Joel Anthony. He grabbed eight rebounds in 24 minutes. He can’t compensate for the loss of Udonis Haslem’s face-up jumper, but Anthony does provide toughness and rebounding.
For the most part, the game was irrelevant. The theatre and how James handled it was far more enlightening.
James learned in high school how to dominate inferior talent. We’re still waiting for proof he knows how to compete against equals.