A couple years ago I wrote this article, pretty much vilifying the transcendent LeBron James, perhaps the most well-rounded player since Larry Bird, the Basketball Jesus.
Now there’s this commercial:
I hate how good this commmercial is. It makes me like LeBron James, which is in conflict with my long-held disdain for the best player in the world. This commercial makes me feel like a hypocrite. Maybe that’s why people fight change so much. It starts by admitting that your status quo is wrong.
In America, we forgive any sort of perceived flaws as long as the individual is great, and there’s probably no greater example than in the narratives we love. Don Draper, Walter White, and Tony Soprano just prove that we’ll be intrigued and drawn towards success. LeBron James is none of the evil or broken we see in our favorite TV characters. He’s just a guy who left his hometown for a better job opportunity, but that “flee the Cleve” gesture pissed us off. That was then. Today, the historical narrative is already so different than what was being crafted by us short-sighted pundits of the internet. LeBron is the best there is at what he does. For that, he’s won our praise.
Tonight he kicks off his season against Derrick Rose and the Bulls. I’m still rooting against the Heat. But the “Basketball Judas” label just isn’t fair anymore. The ends have justified the means. He’s been baptized in the redemptive waters of success. I’ll still always wish that he’d stayed in Cleveland, but that’s hindsight. He may have not become the transcendent superhero we see in that commercial if he had.
Dusty ” 30 Pieces in Debt” Riedesel