Has LeBron James Been Disrespected By Fans Of The NBA?

Has LeBron James Been Disrespected By Fans Of The NBA? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

Is it possible to be in the conversation as the greatest player in the history of your sport AND still be disrespected? According to LeBron James, not only is it possible, but it is happened to him right now even after his fourth NBA championship was locked up last weekend.  Where James is correct is that his record lacks something that others can hold on to, allowing for a measure of disrespect, and as one prominent ESPN commentator pointed out, LeBron James will never be able to rid himself of that one thing so many people crave from the elite athletes in history.

As LeBron James and the newly crowned NBA Champions were receiving their trophy, the Finals Most Valuable Player had a simple message to those watching: “”

On Tuesday, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN took to the airwaves with this reply: “I’ve got bad news for LeBron James … Consider yourself disrespected, because you will never be my number one.  As long as I’m living and breathing, I’ve got breath in my body and I’ve got a voice, you will hear me say: LeBron James is no Michael Jordan. Period.” 

When asked what LeBron James could do to surpass Michael Jordan as he greatest basketball player ever, Smith bluntly replied, “Erase the six NBA Finals losses.”

Herein lies the problem that LeBron James faces: He is a .400 hitter in a world that wants perfection to be considered the greatest of all-time.  Just as many would argue that Jordan’s perfect six-for-six record in the NBA Finals is better than James’ four titles in ten trips, many also argue that what quarterbacks Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana did by going four-for-four in the Super Bowl is better than Tom Brady’s 6-3 record when the championship was on the line. To further the point, many laughed when Brady went 16-0 in the regular season only to lose in a Super Bowl, or when the Golden State Warriors broke the single-season win total, but came up short in the NBA Finals.  Because when athletes want to breathe the rarified air of immortality, the standards go way up.

The fact of the matter is that LeBron James did little this season to enhance or diminish his legacy.  Those who believed he was the greatest before the season began can add that he is the first player to win a title with three difference franchises; while those who thought he was can point out that few legends in basketball played with more than two teams in their career, and never had the chance to do what LeBron James did, become a free agent, change teams and build his own roster.

Respect can often come in ways we can’t see: If you ask if a player is worthy of being in the Hall of Fame, some might say that’s a sign of respect; but if you say they are not Hall of Fame caliber, some might take that as being disrespectful. LeBron James is in the conversation as being one of the greatest players in NBA history, but he is choosing to focus on those who don’t think he has or even will reach that status, so in his mind he is being disrespected.  Perhaps this is what helps keeps himself motivated in the offseason when no one is watching be people are still talking; but it is something that will not ever change.  That’s because greatest, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder … and for LeBron James, being among the best is all he will get from some people, even if he wants his damn respect, because in their minds, that’s as much respect as LeBron deserves. 


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Has LeBron James Been Disrespected By Fans Of The NBA? | TooAthletic.com

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