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When Did LeBron Shoot Bambi

When Did LeBron Shoot Bambi?
 
 

If you watched the Mavericks win their first NBA championship at a sports bar outside of Dallas or Miami, the loudest cheers weren't when a humble Dirk Nowitzki hoisted a hard-earned trophy. It wasn't when veteran point guard Jason Kidd gave a heartfelt recollection of the seventeen-year journey he took towards winning his first ring. Nope. The loudest the place got was when cameras followed LeBron James down the tunnel after the game to record his final walk of shame. Fans were instantly united in their disdain for James, showering him with an overdrawn chorus of boos and mockery. Some even felt it necessary to toss pretzels at the screen. Take that, Lebron!

It didn't stop at local watering holes. The always classy world of twitter was abuzz with zingers like “Why is everyone so impressed Dirk played with a 102 fever? Hell LeBron played without a heart. Now that's tough.” Another simply read “Evil was defeated tonight.”
 
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Here's the real question: has LeBron has really sinned enough to deserve super villain status?

James has never been arrested for reeking of Patron while going 150 in the carpool lane. There are no 5AM domestic disturbance calls coming from his luxury suite. He's never texted an inappropriate picture of his “equipment” to team hostesses either.

So how exactly has he become a modern day Benedict Arnold?

Everyone knows the case against King James. He betrayed his hometown and he announced it via the infamously douchey “Decision.” LeBron disrespected the game by trying to win the easy way. He poured salt on the wounds of Cleveland fans with his infamous “karma is a b****” tweet during the Cavs month-long losing streak.

There's no disputing these facts. The problem here is that the punishment doesn't fit the crime. We can judge LeBron as a player for “The Decision,” but labeling him as a heartless traitor is taking our entitlement as fans too far. Our opinion of where an athlete decides to play is motivated solely by our rooting interest for the team he signs with. We'll probably see the athlete on TV a dozen or so times a year, maybe even go see him play live when they offer two for one draft beer promotions. The difference for the athlete is that he has to live in the city he chooses to play everyday. If LeBron, who spent his entire life in Ohio, decided he wanted to try living somewhere more glamorous while he was still young and rich, can we really blame him? If you were selling used Corollas at your Uncle's dealership in the middle of nowhere and Lamborghini offered you a corporate position in their Milan offices, what would you do? You'd scribble your two weeks notice on a post-it and you'd laugh in the face of anyone who called you a “sellout” for leaving for a better life.

The reality is that we as sports fans revel in something called schadenfreude, a German expression that translates in English to “enjoyment obtained from the misery of others.” Schadenfruede is a phenomenon that has evolved with the rise of the internet forums and comment boxes that provide a venue for anonymous hecklers sans the consequences of an angry Ron Artest charging you in the stands. Since we get the majority of our news via the internet nowadays, it's become socially acceptable to publicly revel in the failures of drug addicted celebrities, perverted politicians, and prima donna athletes.

It's become more fun to point and laugh at LeBron than it is to praise Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs. This summer's headlines will be dominated by LeBron drama, not how an underdog team of aging veterans came together and won a championship. Articles discussing how LeBron's alleged love triangle with the Kardashian sisters distracted him in game six are going to get ten times more hits than a feel good story about how Nowitzki found redemption from his collapse in the 2006 Finals. Sadly, we'll keep lobbing pretzels at virtual LeBron effigies until we find our next undeserving target.

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