In the face of difficult questions, the most talented egos use impeccable sleights of language to rebrand their behaviours to seem heroic. This series is dedicated to those rhetorician-magicians.
III: WINNING MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY (you are here)
It has come to my attention that Lebron James—star of the NBA and SethBlogs some months ago—has, on his second try, won the championship he coveted when he left Cleveland to start an all-star team in Miami. Many people, including SethBlogs, disliked Lebron’s communication style during the defection. Please note, however, that most of his critics nevertheless acknowledged that Mr. James was still probably the best player in the league, and that his new team—however he found his way to it—was likely going to dominate the sport.
I was thus surprised, on viewing the telecast leading up to James clinching his glory, that the legendary basketball star, Magic Johnson, merrily anticipated that, if James won the title, everyone would forget about his controversial behaviours in the past.
“Everyone will love him,” Magic said with a grin.
“But,” I yelled at my TV, “we never doubted that he would win! Our annyoance with Lebron was never with his basketball skills!”
Nevertheless, upon winning the championship, Mr. James was brought onto the talk show, The View, whereupon one of the hosts asked him what he had to say to his accusers now.
“Well,” he beamed, “I think I’ll let [my NBA championship trophy] do my talking for me.”
And the audience laughed with delight as though no one could ever criticize the star again.
So let me see if I understand this. If it’s true that Mr. James behaved badly, then it was only contemptible so long as he wasn’t a champion. But, upon achieving victory, his behaviour off the court is no longer contestable?
PROSECUTOR: Mr. Cheatem, is it true that you falsely represented your company’s holdings?
CHEATEM: Yes, I did, but in my defence, that made my company millions of dollars, and I was named Broker of the Year in my office.
PROSECUTOR: Why didn’t you say before that your scheme was so successful?! I would never knowingly insult the behaviour of someone who won! Congratulations. I move for a dismissal of all charges.
I’m not saying that James is as bad as a fraud artist. In fact, the star was uncharacteristically gracious when he received the big trophy. I don’t even blame him for his silly answer to the soft question he received from The View people; it was too easy a slam dunk answer for him to pass up. But I do hope there is resistance among his critics to the notion that winning absolves someone of wrongdoings related to their character.
(Unless James wins again next year: in that case, what more do we want from him, people?! ;))
III: WINNING MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY (you were just here)