JAMES NOT A GOOD SPORT
By JERRY RILES
Cleveland is called the “mistake by the lake” for a reason.
The most recent mistake coming out of the Ohio City is that of their star NBA performer LeBron James, better known as King James.
The league’s MVP was anything but royal. After his Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs by Dwight Howard and the Orland Magic in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, James stormed off the court without congratulating his opponents and refused to address the media.
Around these parts we call that bush-league. It’s simply called “Sportsmanship”. Win or lose the politically correct thing to do is to shake your opponents hand and congratulate them.
It starts at the pop-Warner level. When you are beaten by a better team you show them respect by acknowledging that. You don’t run off the field or court and go home pouting. You don’t take your ball and go home if you don’t get your way, LeBron.
Unfortunately for you, in this case, you are going home, but without the ball. Is James a spoiled, selfish, egotistical, arrogant athlete who only cares about himself and winning? I would like to think not, but this latest act may be hard to defend.
In fairness to James, this is not the first time a player in the NBA has done this sort of thing. Isaiah Thomas and the Bad-Boys of Detroit did it back in the day when Michael Jordan and the Bulls knocked them out of the playoffs. Zeke was crucified for this unthinkable act.
Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics did the same thing to Thomas and his Pistons when the late Chuck Daly’s gang was on their quest to win a championship. It happens, but it’s not right!
The NHL does it the right way. Even in the playoffs, when a team is eliminated from competition both sides skate down the middle of the ice congratulating each other for their great play and sportsmanship. You hear that LeBron. SPORTSMANSHIP!
It’s not life or death. It’s a game. Simply a game in which you are paid handsomely to play.
NFL players get it as well. After every game both teams meet in the middle of the field and exchange pleasantries and shake hands while the loser congratulates the winner. Some even kneel down on the logo at the 50-yard line and pray together after playing such a fierce and competitive contest.
Boxers beat each other up for several rounds. Once the fight has ended they hug, shake hands, and congratulate each other and their corners.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand you’re not supposed to like the other guy you’re playing against, but that’s while the clock is running. Once the horn sounds and the clock reads zero, it’s back to being a regular human being with feelings and compassion. The game is over.
Be grateful and thankful, not selfish and inconsiderate. Despite what Charles Barkley says, you are a role model and young people look up to you. Is this the way to show future leaders how to act when they lose? I don’t think so.
So, congratulations to Superman and the Magic on advancing to the NBA Finals to face Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers for the title.
Let’s just hope Howard and company don’t have to face another selfish, egotistical, arrogant, high-paid superstar who walks off the court after losing a series. That would be another big “mistake”.
It could happen though!