LeBron, Heat Keep Moving Forward

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If you ask LeBron James, 2011 seems so … two days ago.

Longer than that, actually, for the most publicly prosecuted player in the NBA, someone who endured constant fan abuse despite not committing a crime or being a menace to society. Plenty has happened since, all for the good according to LeBron, who ushered in the New Year by announcing his engagement to his long-time girlfriend, Savannah Brinson. The couple has two children together.

Of course, even this will bring out the skeptics as Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald mentions. Such is life for LeBron in the wake of “The Decision” and a few other public stumbles. Anything he does, even if it seems heartfelt, will be dismissed as a staged production by someone desperate to make the public think he’s a changed man, if only to get more endorsements in his pocket and the boos off his back.

His commercials with State Farm and McDonald’s and even Nike have a community relations flavor to them, where LeBron is seen helping kids or stressing education. He’s pushing his charitable foundation and making contributions to other causes. It’s all part of LeBron getting back to his “old self” as he said, all part of LeBron living up to his preseason pledge, when he said:

“For me personally, I’m a totally different person than last year. I’m just back to loving the game of basketball, not taking too much for granted, playing with a smile on my face and just understanding I’m just a kid from Akron, Ohio, in the NBA. I lost that last year.”

Anything LeBron does probably won’t change anyone’s opinion of him. Those who aren’t his fans will keep viewing him as self-absorbed. Those who are his fans will cheer. And those on the fence will stay on the fence, because they don’t bother with an emotional investment in LeBron or any other professional athlete, one way or another. So it’s probably best that LeBron change his image — sorry, to get back to his old self — for himself.

Plus, the public at large is and should be more concerned with performance and results. That’s because nobody really knows any professional athlete on a personal or any other level. These athletes are blessed with talent (sharpened through hard work) and draw millions of admirers and lots of media but are total strangers. And in terms of importance in our lives, they rank far behind the mailman, the dentist and the school teacher. You know, people who actually come in direct contact with us. That’s why it’s crazy when fans are “shocked” over behavior or a personal choice by an athlete they thought was a “good guy.” Well, you didn’t know who that “guy” really was in the first place.

The best way LeBron can change perception is by showing up in the fourth quarter in June, and that’s several months away, if the Heat are fortunate enough to keep a strong season going that far. If he helps Miami win a championship, those who love him will love him more, those who don’t won’t care. But at least there will be a consensus reached about him as a player. Which is what counts, anyway.

***

18 Comments

  1. Max. W says:

    After the first week of the NBA season, I have developed some bold predictions about the season. Here we go!

    Rookie Of The Year:

    I had Iman Shumpert as the surprise rookie of the year this season, based on his sheer confidence in the games he played.

    To read more go to http://www.nbathroughmyveins.wordpress.com

  2. Law064 says:

    Yeah the Zone really throws off their offense the game vs Boston really proved it. When the zone D is good the heat take jumpshots and they’ll have to live or die with them. They won vs Boston but barley. The Hawks put the zone on and they stopped the penetration and Miami took jumpshots. If they are making the shots they can put more pressure on the D but when they are missing the shots they are thrown off their game. Big ups to ATL but Miami still has a good record because they’ve started off on the right foot. Congrats to Lebron on his engagement…

  3. Marc says:

    @heatlatinofan. Everything is not perfect. They need to figure out how to handle the zone. They are slowed down, lost and resort to jumpers when a team puts on a good zone defense.

  4. YOU CANT LOSE REBOUNDS!!! IT WILL IMPOSSIBLE CHAMPIONSHIP IF YOU CHARGE ALL THE GAME TO BIG 3!!!

    THE MEDIA WANTS EDUCATED PLAYERS AT THE TOP BUT THEY DONT WANT BASKETBALL PLAYERS YIELDING PROFITS. THAT´S WHY MICHAEL WAS MICHAEL CUZ HE BROKE ALL THE RULES…….BLABLABLABLABLA…..TRUE.

  5. i mean…it´s not battier´s fault….i mean…WE NEED AN EXPERT IN BASKETBALL TO DISCOVER WHAT THE HE…IS GOING ON INSIDE THE HEAT!!!!!!

    BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS PERFECT BUT THEY LOST!!!!!

  6. It´s a pity for Lebron and for any player being in that situation. They are in the spotlight but you can´t take advantage and say: “OK I will destroy X player cuz I´m a villain”
    Today Miami lost against Atlanta, T mac and you can´t question that. Miami lost.

    My point is how the heat will be able to handle too many talents in its franchaise. You cannot.

    Battier…..The Heat in my opinion needs younger blood players to achieve something. 5-1 it´s good.

    BATTIER: YOU CAN´T BE PROTAGONIST…YOU HAVE TO PLAY AS ALONZO MOURNING DID ON 2006…..IN THE ROTATION.

    GIVE THE CHANCE TO PITTMAN AND YOUNGER PLAYERS….

    MY OPINION.

    • BelizeBoy says:

      Since you’re a Heat fan I’ll be nice and try to explain this.

      Miami needs a player like Shane for defense and a little offense as well. He will not cause problems for Miami unless his current injury does not get better. He is no way near the type of player Alonzo Morning was, but his role will be the same come playoff time.

      Miami had a three star roster in 06 when they won – Wade, Shaq, Walker. Plus they had lots of known backup players too. Morning, Payton, Jason Williams, Kapono, James Posey. This did not cause a problem for them.

      Tonights loss to Atlanta should not be a surpirse to you or reason to worry. They are a very good team.

  7. HeatWade says:

    and I just wonder if it was really Lebron’s idea to stage that hour-long “The Decision” or was that the media’s for rating purposes…

  8. J says:

    Lets go Lebron!!!! MIAMI FTW!!!!

  9. Sonya says:

    Congrats to Lebron and Savannah, Bron Jr and Bryce. Way to go Lebron, you have my respect on and off the court!

  10. Orin says:

    To the guy who said it was Lebron’s fault for the celebration that happened more than a year ago. Let it go, idiot!

    1) he didn’t create the spectacle, the Miami Heat organization did.
    2) It was a welcome party for the players, so your opinion on this really is inadequate.

  11. NBABaller says:

    The media made him into the devil he is along with all those fans in Cleveland who were disappointed with his decision. Really, the only people who should be mad are the fans in Cleveland, and they too, should get over it now. Cleveland has potential now Kyrie and Tristan so they should quit railing Lebron at whatever chance they get. Miami is undefeated, LeBron unfazed by the Haters we all witnessed last season and are currently witnessing this season, so give it up. You can call LeBron a “TRAITOR” or “RINGLESS” all you want, but the truth in the matter is that that doesn’t affect him AT ALL. LeBron is a mature player, and most likely will win the title this year. The real question is asking who the haters really hate? “LeBron wearing a Miami jersey,” or “LeBron the person.” These are two totally different people.

  12. Fan says:

    Lets go Bron

  13. lebron says:

    lets go bron

  14. Marc says:

    No profanity in my post yet you don’t post it simply because i called you out in a “respectful” way.
    Don’t email me articles if i cant have an opinion in the comments section.

    There was never “FAN” abuse. Stop the hype. You, the media and the HATERS are the only ones that gave him a relentless attack and now you duck the storm that you all created on your own because you are all looking foolish now. OWN IT! and EAT CROW!

    • HeatWave says:

      There was some “fan abuse”. People buring jerseys, the YouTube videos, and obscenities yelled during games, but that was more in response to the media’s dubbing of “the decision” and other reports. James added fuel to that fire by having that celebration last summer. Lots of people to blame really, but by now people should be over it cause it’s all said and done.

  15. Orin says:

    GO HEAT GO! Well said, those who hate him will continue to hate him regardless. The haters think their word is truth but fact of the matter is, results matter. Heat will win the championship this year.