Can’t we just be proud of Lebron James?

Can we all just be proud of Lebron James? For Pete’s sake.

He’s practically perfect. He plays spectacular basketball, unlike anybody else plays it. He plays unselfishly. He enjoys his teammates’ success. He plays the best defense.Then when it’s time for somebody to drop the hammer, he’s like Paul Bunyan ringing the bell at that sledge hammer game at the State Fair. He doesn’t get in trouble. He pretty much keeps his mouth shut. He actually seems like a reasonably nice guy. He has been in the NBA for almost nine years, has been one of the most spot-lit players in it the entire time, has been Everybody’s Villain for about three years and yet he has said the wrong thing, what, twice?

He goes to London and leads our country to a gold medal win and with the world watching represents everything good about basketball, about sports, about Americans. After it is over, he posts that photo of himself holding the stars and stripes like a cape and he types “love my country.”

What do you want from this guy?

Cleveland? What do you have to say? You’re still mad he’s not on your team anymore? Go cry me another Great Lake. You know why Lebron isn’t on your team anymore? Because your team stinks. It stunk to high heaven the entire time you had Lebron. You had the best player in a generation on your team and you failed — completely — to benefit from that. You had him playing with Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. And you’re mad he left? You’re surprised? You’re hurt? You should have been burning all the other jerseys, not Lebron James ones.

By the way, do you remember when Lebron actually did sign a contract extension with the Cavaliers? He did. It was in 2006. You had your chance.

Matter of fact, let’s not hear anymore whining out of Cleveland until one of your professional sports teams gets it together. Just one.

And the rest of you. What’s your big problem? You didn’t like when he said “take my talents?” That phrasing bothered you? You didn’t like how the players got to decide where they were going to play?

Are you against free agency?

What, you wanted Lebron to “do it the hard way?” You didn’t think Michael Jordan would have left Chicago to play with, say, Shaquille O’Neal? Well what’s that got to do with it?

WHAT DOES MICHAEL JORDAN HAVE TO DO WITH IT?

You believe Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time and you will always believe that no matter what and you’re terrified that someone might seriously challenge that notion and Lebron is the greatest existing threat. Is that it? That’s it, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

Boy, the next six or eight years are going to be rough for you.

Because Lebron is going to win more NBA championships, and he’s going to win another gold medal for your country and he is going to be the best player in the world for at least five more years.

And you’re going to have to deal with that.

Or you could embrace it. You could enjoy it. You could be proud that your country produced the best player in the world, and that he represents you beautifully on the world stage. You could appreciate the opportunity to watch a player unlike any we’ve ever seen in the sport.

Or you can just be mad all the time.

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