Speak out: King James’s transformation

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Nouia Eco
Contributor

WITHIN the past year or so, LeBron James has been the MVP, champion, Finals MVP and Olympic gold medalist. He has also been named as Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year and USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. Just recently, ‘Bron eclipsed the 20,000 points, (becoming youngest ever to do so) and 5,000 assists milestones.

But I think what LeBron really cherishes more than the trophies, the accolades and the place in the record books is the respect he has finally earned along the way from his peers, counterparts, critics and even haters with all that he’s achieved.

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At the start, people weren’t too kind to LBJ even though he almost single-handedly carried his first team, the Cleveland Cavaliers to postseason success and to the finals. The skepticism can be attributed to the hype surrounding him even before he entered the NBA. Expectations were big, the pressure was too high.

It all worsened after “The Decision,” his highly-publicized announcement of “taking my talents to South Beach.” James was now the guy who abandoned and left a city for dead, the guy who was taking an easy road to the title teaming up with fellow all-stars. Lots of people sympathized with the Cavs and saw LeBron as the bad guy.

So when things didn’t go as planned for King James in his first year with the Miami Heat, which was capped by an embarrassing finals loss to the Dallas Mavericks, everyone was quick to pounce, picking on almost everything. How how he won’t take big shots, how he misses them when he does, how he can’t shoot free throws, how he talks back to his coach, how he can’t lead his team, how he can’t win a ring, even something as trivial as how he dresses up and how he covers up his receding hairline. The jokes were borderline mean.

Turns out, LeBron needed the disappointment and the criticism that went with it and somehow used them inspiration. We all know what happened the season after - he put up ridiculous numbers, took charge of his team, and finally won his ever-elusive first championship. As he said, “It’s about damn time”.

After that, LBJ was on a roll, winning awards and getting recognition here and there.

Fast-forward to this season - the milestones, the statline vs. the Lakers, the flirting-with-a-triple-double averages - it looks like he isn’t stopping anytime soon.

What has definitely stopped were the jokes about him being “un-clutch,” about him being ring-less and the like. It’s just not fun to hate on King James anymore especially when you only got his receding hairline against him.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 22, 2013.

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