Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why We Hate LeBron (according to one guy)


Not a citizen

I think LeBron James is a schmuck. He will undoubtedly retire as one of the greatest players of his generation--probably one of the best players ever. I have no qualms with that, because it is an objective fact that he is able to do things on the court that few others can.

But for many (including me) it is hard to overlook his narcissistic prickishness. Simply put, taking an hour of national airtime to inform your former team and the entire city of Cleveland that you are "taking your talents to South Beach" is a huge dick move. So now a lot of people hate LeBron James. This is old news.

To the most lispingist man on Around the Horn, Bill Plaschke, however, it's much more complex than that. Plaschke speculates that maybe we don't like the Heat because we can't tell LeBron apart from Dred Scott*:
I know where it starts, of course. We all know where it starts. It starts, and possibly ends, with Dirk Nowitzki versus LeBron James.

Even though he hails from Germany, the Mavericks star Nowitzki is viewed as an all-American player. Humble, deferential, shaggy hair, floppy walk — he's Jimmy Chitwood with an accent.

Even thought he hails from middle America, the Heat star James is viewed as a foreigner. Dark stare, hulking frame, intimidating swagger — he's Ivan Drago with a headband.
I know that Plaschke is actually attempting to critique this view, but the ease with which the words appear to roll off his fingers is chill-inducing. Later in the article, he backs away from this characterization.
Not a citizen either
Far be it from me to actually defend people against the charge of racial bias, but Plaschke is just wrong on this one. People hate LeBron because he's a nonpareil douchebag. LeBron is such a douchebag that douchebags insult each other by calling each other LeBron. This is a point he raises (in so many words) later in the article, but also backs away from.

Really, Plaschke's article is an example of a terrible piece of sportswriting more than anything else. It is terrible in the way sportswriting is typically terrible: offer a theory for a phenomenon you are attempting to understand, dismiss your own theory; offer another theory for the phenomenon, dismiss your own theory again; offer another theory for the phenomenon, dismiss the theory again; conclude with a wishy-washy statement that doesn't actually bring the reader any closer to understanding the phenomenon you set out to dissect in the first place. Read the article, you'll see what I mean.

It's like post-modernism without the highfalutin twaddle.
_____

*It is perhaps worth noting that both James and Scott have famous "decisions" associated with them. 

See also: Bill Plaschke tries Bill Simmons on for size

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