A little over a year ago, I commented how I thought it was unwise to compare LeBron James to Michael Jordan. Of Jordan, I said:
I don’t think he would have flaunted his awesomeness in such a classless way, regardless of his personal preferences.”
He certainly didn’t when I was watching him on TV. At least not in public where people would comment about it. But after reading part of the transcript and then a review of his Hall of Fame acceptance speech by the reporter who has likely covered him the longest, I realized I may have been wrong. Reeeally wrong. This all happened last week…where have I been? I didn’t even hear about it.
Of this I am certain: he is arguably the best player to ever hit the NBA. Maybe even the best player ever, anywhere, at any sport. But I also agree with a comment on one of the stories: “Great men do not need to stomp on those around them to make themselves [appear] taller.”
And stomp he did. From his high school and UNC coaches, fellow players and other acquaintances, to his own family — no one was spared. It was as if he finally got his turn to purge all the pent-up grudges and bitterness, saved and documented since the 1980s. It was just sad that he had to do it at a ceremony designed to honor his amazing career.
Maybe he could have written a tell-all book instead. Spill all the poison there.
Then again, he doesn’t have to be nice; he’s a great athlete. That’s the conventional acquiescence nowadays, anyhow. Same for entertainers and CEOs. If you are at the top of your game, humanity is optional.
Somehow, though, I think the likes of Jerry West, Hank Aaron, Joe Montana and Jackie Robinson might disagree.