Who do you want him to be?

Michael Moses

“Shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes. Still, like air, I’ll rise.”

-Lebron James

Lebron James is seen as a villain for leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers this

offseason. People have called him every cuss word in the book, and then some. “It’s

not that he left, it’s how he left,” blah blah blah. No matter how he departed

northeastern Ohio, where he went to, how he announced it- anything of that sort-

Cleveland fans would still have bashed him. A certain group of people would be at

fault for this. It’s not Lebron’s PR team. It’s not even Cleveland fans. It’s me.

Well, not me specifically. I’m talking about the media as a whole.

It was the media that dubbed him “King James” from day one. It was the

media that put him on the covers of SLAM Magazine and Sports Illustrated before

he was out of high school. It was the shoe deals, the autograph appearances, the

billboards, and most recently, ESPN.

Why can’t people understand that it was the networks that first came to him

with a proposal for the special television premier of “The Decision”? Sure, all he had

to do was agree to it, but it’s not like he pursued the event. Money surely didn’t

influence his decision, given the fact that he donated it all to charity (damn, only a

true villain would do that!). Plus, do you really think that Lebron cares about making

money at this point in his career? If he did, I wouldn’t even be writing this column

right now- he would still be in Cleveland, making more Benjamins than he would be

with Miami or any other team.

Nike’s new commercial for Lebron’s shoes takes a shot at all of the “haters”

and is, in my opinion, exactly what he should have done. He gives a shout out to

Charles Barkley, who publicly criticized his decision, reminds the public that he has

left a team before (his first high school team), and exclaims, “I am not a role model.”

Good for you, Mr. James.

He is being criticized for going on to a new team, for teaming up with men

who want to win a championship, for destroying his “legacy” by not winning one on

his own. Why does everything have to be about the L word? Why can’t players just

define their own legacy and not try to measure up to someone else’s?

Why can’t Lebron just be Lebron? Why does he have to be the next Michael

Jordan? Maybe because the media has said that since day one. Once again- our fault.

His name isn’t Michael. His name isn’t Kobe. If he’s going to win a

championship, take back-to-back rings, or just flat out dominate the next decade in

the NBA, he’s going to do it with a superb supporting cast. Hate it or love it.

People say Lebron is dragging it out, making it all about him. But guess what?

He’s not. It’s the media. Nike made the commercial. I’m writing this column. Jim

Rome burns on him daily. And he’s the subject of every sports talk show, whether it

be Sportscenter, Around the Horn, or Sports Corner on Kent State’s TV2.

The Nike ad ends, “Should I be who you want me to be?” As for me? I want

him to be Lebron James. And you should, too.

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected].