About the only writer who had a sane opinion; not without criticism, of Lebron James's latest NBA finals appearance is Harlan Cohen of the Bloomberg View; every other opinion-ator used their privileged access to lampoon the young man as if he was guilty of raping their sister or mother. The truth is, though all have tried in every way to gloss over their racism with meaningless platitudes, it remains obvious that the hatred of Lebron James and the relentless accompanying diatribe stems from nothing more than the tribal desire to put an “ Uppity Nigger” back in his place. This is a national campaign to break the will of Lebron James, until he is reduced to a sympathetic character like Mike Tyson: Or as it was in the days of slavery, to return him to the position of a pack animal, useful for a few years to serve his master, which in this case is the NBA and its attendant parasites.
On ESPN talk radio, the Herd of overgrown Nerds accuses him of being overly ambitious; you think; what else but ambition got him and his mother out from under the grip of poverty? I thought these were good old American qualities or values? Or maybe the truth is that those values don’t apply to Young African-American men.
But how did this all start? Did Lebron James demand that Sports Illustrated use his likeness as a junior in High School, back in 2002, to sell magazines? Nary a tattoo had yet defaced his youthful Black skin when they branded him THE CHOSEN ONE; and as the report states SI wasn’t the only parasite on hand, reportedly there was Nike, Adidas, this, that or the other College Coach, and a slew of NBA scouts and Coaches, and Michael Jordan, who, at that time was about to be put to pasture.
Highlighted within the article is a quote from Danny Ainge, then, the coach of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, “There are only four or five players in the NBA that I wouldn’t trade to get LeBron right now,” Lets examine that statement; in the same issue the question is asked “ After Shaquille O’Neal which player would you take to build a team around?” the players who received votes were Tim Duncan (14), Kevin Garnett (6), Jason Kidd, an MVP favorite in ’02, (4) and Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady, each tied with (2); maybe the owners had a premonition of Bryant’s sexual assault allegations and McGrady’s physical fragility; Michael Jordan, then of the Washington Wizards received (1) vote, for the sole reason of placing butts in the seats, which he did successfully for Washington, DC until he was unceremoniously released.
Is it safe to assume then, that back in 2002 a seventeen year old kid from Akron, named Lebron James, was perceived as a better player and revenue generator than two of the seven listed professional basketball players above; better than Allen Iverson, Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, etc? I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture. Here’s the picture Lebron painted of his own skills back then; “A lot of players know how to play the game, but they really don’t know how to play the game, if you know what I mean. They can put the ball in the hoop, but I see things before they even happen. You know how a guy can make his team so much better? That’s one thing I learned from watching Jordan.” Oh the honesty of a seventeen year old; he never wanted to be like Jordan, he idolized Jordan, no doubt, but his view of himself as a player was more like Magic Johnson, he saw himself as a facilitator, a player who made his team better. So where, one might ask did all these Jordan comparisons come from? Who’s desire was it to turn this kid into Jordan’s Heir?
It has been widely reported that Michael Jordan’s tenure with the Chicago Bulls increased the value of that franchise by tenfold and greatly improved the marketability of NBA Basketball on the national and global level. Every little boy wanted to be like Mike, and the parasites used Michael Jordan to hawk their shoes, their clothes, their drinks, their Networks (ESPN), etc. Before NBATV and NBA League Pass, if you could not afford the ever increasing prices of a ticket to the arena, and most common folk couldn’t, the only hope of catching a glimpse of the Great Micahel Jordan was through highlights, first on CNNSI and then on ESPN, when it took over the market. So its safe to say that a majority of these so-called Sportscasters or Sports Opinion-ators wouldn’t have a paycheck if it weren’t for Michael Jordan. Probably the one thing that brought home the reality of the fragility of this profession, was Michael’s foray into the anonymous realm of Minor League Baseball.
With Michael Jordan’s imminent departure the search was on for the next MJ, and there were quite a few, anyone remembers Harold Minor, he was one of the first candidates, to be chewed up and spat out by the voracious media horde; one by one a parade of potentials came off the “auction block,” Kobe Bryant (1996), Tracy McGrady (1997), Vince Carter (1998), all the way up to the 2003 draft that saw the long awaited appearance of Lebron James. As a Basketball fanatic, the only player for me, who has provoked any memories of MJ’s floor game, is Dwyane Wade; and to a lesser extent Manu Ginobili, but Manu isn’t as physically gifted as Wade. Kobe and Lebron are too tall to conjure up images of MJ except maybe when they dunk the ball which suggests that the opinion-ators, still making those comparisons are merely looking at ESPN’s highlights and not the actual game of basketball.
But now that he has been dubbed the next MJ the game is on to reap the benefits. Dan Gilbert was probably salivating at the opportunity to relieve the Gunds of their twenty-something year old burden, that had become the Cavaliers franchise; one can only guess at the appreciation value of the franchise with the addition of Lebron James, but it was widely known that before his arrival the franchise was a veritable money pit. Visions of potential revenue streams probably kept Dan Gilbert awake at nights. No one considered that the provincial eighteen year old was paying attention to much, much more than his on court Basketball skills. Maybe Gilbert’s focus should have been centered on creating a better product instead of trying to squeeze every ounce of sweat from the brow of his franchise player. But Gilbert is no Mark Cuban. If Gilbert had cared to learn more about Lebron the man and not Lebron the cash cow, he would have learned that Lebron wasn’t likely to wait around until Gilbert recouped his losses from the purchase price in order to achieve his full potential; because for Lebron tomorrow isn’t promised. A sentiment he expressed to his mother as a teenager when she tried to prevent him from playing football, according to his SI exposé. A lesson he learned from the death of music industry’s hopeful Aaliyah.
After seven years of championship futility Lebron left to improve his chances of success, and by his own admission the opportunity be the best facilitator, whether on or off the court because he knows how to play the game and how the GAME is played; and thus began the NBA's and its attendant sycophants, character assassination campaign. To say this isn’t about access and money would be disingenuous because underlying all the accusations of immaturity, arrogance and self-entitlement; unfulfilled potential, shrinking and choking are these little vignettes:
Adrian Wojnaroski of Yahoo Sports
“Increasingly, there are two NBAs: the LeBron-CAA NBA, and everyone else.
James has been a part of recruiting everyone else over to his side – Wade, Chris Bosh(notes), Carmelo Anthony(notes), Chris Paul(notes). And now, the New Jersey Nets’ Deron Williams(notes) is strongly considering joining up with CAA after firing his longtime agent. Within the NBA, this surprised people because Williams had always been so fiercely independent. He never star-gazed James like most of his young teammates, and never seemed inclined to follow. “LeBron has almost become a movement within the league,” says a league executive who’ll recruit these players in 2012. “With Worldwide Wes [CAA agent William Wesley] and him, you’re making a decision as a player to be packaged the way they packaged him. They follow him.” James and Wade are taking this league over, and they’ll dominate the next several seasons. Their agents are determined to leverage that into complete control of the league’s elite, and LeBron’s figured out a way to profit, too.”
Marc J. Spears also of Yahoo Sports, on Lebron James:
“But will his corporate sponsors still love him the same now?
One high-ranking Nike executive has said the shoe company loves players who win championships. “
Fran Blinebury of NBA.com
“Wade paid the dearest price, sacrificing not only some of his game, but a large part of his image and only he can undo that.”
Then there’s GQ’s Alex French profile of William Wesley; titled “Is This the Most Powerful Man in Sports?”
“In the NBA, all roads lead to one man, whom you’ve probably never heard of: William Wesley—a.k.a. Worldwide Wes—the most connected, most discreet, most influential man on and off the court”
When the New York Times devotes an entire two page column to you, as they did on Wesley back in 2008, and you’re perceived as an African-American male, with influence, watch out. Since then there have been numerous other profiles of William Wesley on a growing number of other sports’ pages and magazines, but the narrative remains the same, he’s dangerous; they aren’t quite sure if he’s breaking the rules; meanwhile those behind the scenes wouldn’t recognize integrity if it slapped them upside the head. The truth is their real fear that these previously underprivileged African-American male, generators of White wealth are about to have an epiphany; that they are wizening up to the fact that the most productive years of their lives are wasted in a maze created by and for powerful, money hungry, White, predominantly Jewish, men, who’s view of the Black male athlete is nothing more than that of a commodity; pieces on a grand monopoly game board; to buy and sell as they please, without regard to or for the athletes’ wellbeing whether before, during or after their productive years.
Sensing they are about to lose control, they’ve unleashed the wrath of the money gods upon whom they view as the primary threat, Lebron James, THE CHOSEN ONE. Their aim, to malign his image and destroy his marketability in an effort to close off those revenue streams that exist outside the control of the NBA, rendering him once more dependent on those opportunities that are safely under their control and purview, and to send a message of WE OWN YOU, to all who might want to follow in his footsteps; hence the unsubstantiated claim that Lebron in a phone conversation to a nameless NCAA athlete drew contempt, for referring to himself as King James; and if that’s not enough, how about spinning a “cough-gate” to make it appear that two mean spirited Black athletes are making fun of the NBA’s next Great White Hope that’ll get a few more White couch-jocks up and burning not only Lebron’s jersey, but Wade’s as well.
It is an old but true adage that “ those who forget their History are destined to repeat it,” and for African-Americans who believe that somehow the United States has turned into a race neutral country, and as evidence they present Barack Obama, this is doubly true. For there are many out there joining in the public lynching of Lebron James and his Miami Teammates; but there is also yet another tried and proven verity that says, “the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons” and with employment opportunities for African-Americans dwindling up and down this nation, it is probably more worthy of our attention, for it presents a revealing glimpse of alternate futures for African-Americans in these United States, and for this I say to Lebron James: I recognize you.
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