Is the hate finally over for Lebron James after his first championship? Will he stop showing up on most disliked athlete lists that Ben Roethlisberger seems to escape? Will sports media end the contrived Lebron as villain narrative, return him to a good guy, and just find a suitable replacement? Or is this year’s New York Post cover from “1 Down, 7 To Go” up from last years’ cover of “Beach Bums” (with no picture of actual champion Mavericks) the type of change we can expect?

Some great posts have been POPSspotted to help address the issue. We kick-off with a must-read from Michael Tillery, end with an ass-kicking by Mark Cuban, and have some myth-busting and poetic reflection in between.


Lebron James Gets His Ring: Long Live the King, Michael Tillery, The Starting Five

“Can we watch basketball again please? Y’all turned the sport into something indurate, sick and twisted, missing and soulless but I guess that’s how y’all rock? After The Decision, America went hard on LBJ as if he was a killer of men. What was up with that? Why so much of a rabid response? He’s an athlete people. He’s no different than any top level professional in any genre. Their make up must be different because so many speak their names in love and hate. We should learn from them. Why did this one man get y’all so crazy eyed with mouths of foam? Peyton Manning ever get slammed, crushed…and with unmerciful reckless abandon poked and prodded of his postseason difficulties before he finally won? Hell no. This piece is for history.”

Will LeBron James’ First Title Make Sports Commentary Less Dumb?, Josh Levin, Slate

“Given that basketball is resolutely a team game, an individual’s championship trophy haul shouldn’t be the sole determinant of his legacy. How many titles would Magic Johnson have won, after all, if he was playing alongside Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Larry Hughes rather than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy? Even though it doesn’t make sense, LeBron James and the LeBron James analysis industry have always agreed on one thing: If you’re not first, you’re last.”

Lebron James and Our Primitive Dread, Danny Chau, Hardwood Paroxysm

“In truth, it’s oddly reassuring that LeBron can still be a despised figure after winning not only in convincing fashion, but winning with the humility and zen-like disregard for the periphery that we assign to many of the NBA’s greats. It reaffirms the art and power of storytelling, of framing the discourse. But discourse can become an untamable beast of indefensible blanket statements, incongruities and latent contradictions – all to preserve what, to many, devolves into a matter of decency and principle. We tend to look inward when seeking truth. While many of us were busy digging for his soul, LeBron had made a compelling case for himself only to find his audience preoccupied.”

Debunking the Ridiculous Lebron James Chokes in the Playoffs Myth
(written before the championship), Nick Sloan, KCK Preps:

“A lot of people are jumping on the LeBron James bandwagon following his magnificent 45-point, 15-rebound performance against the Boston Celtics to avoid elimination from the 2012 NBA Playoffs. That’s just fine, but what’s funny is how surprised people are about James coming up big in the playoffs. Where have you been? Of course, part of the unfair playoff choker label LeBron has received can directly be attributed to talking heads on ESPN, led by Skip Bayless. I’m here to try and correct this myth.”

Lebron James, The Media, and The Perception of Black Males in America, SBM, streetz (Added July 11)

“The media had a heavy hand in painting King James as a villain. Many people criticized LeBron for the decision (and rightfully so). He admits that it was a error in judgment to put Cleveland on blast and inadvertently make a spectacle of the city on national television. This was his only mistake in the process. Some people made it seem like it was a problem that Bron was taking his free agency into his own hands, as if he didn’t have a right to leave Cleveland. I found it funny that the same media that chastised this decision, also benefitted from the entire process. You have flagbearer like Skip Bayless who will chide and lambaste LeBron for any and everything under the sun, yet his NETWORK (ESPN) were the ones who broadcasted “The Decision” in the first place!”

Mark Cuban Tells Off Skip Bayless Like We All Wish We Could,
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