• It has come to my attention that Lebron James, star of the NBA and my blog 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 issue 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?! ;))

    Posted by SethBlog @ 10:05 PM

  • 3 Responses

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    • Natalie Says:

      I still think that there was nothing wrong with Magic’s comment in itself; he was merely giving insight into the fickleness, hypocrisy, and amorality inherent in the general public’s patterns of celebrity adulation and demonization.

    • TomM Says:

      I agree with Natalie in that we shouldn’t be shooting the messenger; however, Magic’s little smile does suggest that all really is ok with him. As a badminton player, I must admit that it is at times fun to play with a better player.

    • SethBlog Says:

      Well put, TomM! While, in theory, Natalie may have been right that Magic Johnson was merely bemused as he reported that people would soon be judging Lebron’s character by his basketball success, I saw no hint of eye-rolling has he made his comment. Instead, he seemed to me to be delighted as he predicted Mr. James’s redemption by athleticism.

      As for the joy of playing with good players (first, of all thank you, TomM, that’s nice of you to say – you’re fun to play with, too): I agree with you, but is there not also an even greater pleasure that comes with success through challenge? As Charles Barkley pointed out, yes, he Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson could have ganged up to conquer the league in ther heyday, but would those championships have been as sweet as the ones they did earn without artificially stacking their teams’ deck?

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