It’s true. The title Kobe Bryant held for so long has been snatched out from underneath him. Long considered the spoiled brat of the NBA, Kobe may very well be sitting back watching Lebron get ripped by every fan, franchise, and media outlet in the nation, smiling uncontrollably. I know I would be. See, Kobe grew out of the bad boy stage a couple years ago. Somewhere, he realized he didn’t need to be a villain. Moreover, in order to be regarded with the Jordans, Magics, and Birds, he needed to be liked. I’m not saying he changed his personality, but he simply became tolerable. Many still hate him, but not as passionately as they used to. I actually came around a lot earlier than most. I think it was a combination of going to college with his cousin and the Kings fall from contention and no longer having to deal with him in the big moments. What really did it for me was that Kobe simply is THAT GOOD. I was a damn good swimmer all through high school, and somewhere along the line, I realized you had to KNOW you were that good to BE that good. That’s all Kobe was doing. You need your opposition to believe that they can’t beat you. Kobe has mastered this. Up until now, Kobe was the bad guy and Lebron was the good guy.
Not so anymore. Lebron James was a man among boys ever since he was in high school. Grown ass men were looking up to him because he seemed to have the world in the palm of his hands. Thursday night ended up being the biggest heel turn – to put it in WWF terms – the NBA has ever seen. It was almost as if Lebron ripped off his Cavs jersey to reveal an NWO shirt underneath. Now, it’s not like the Heat are a hated franchise or anything. They’re not the Lakers or the Knicks or even the Celtics. Had he gone to the Knicks, which was highly speculated, it would’ve been fine because it would’ve been HIS team. Instead, he goes and joins D-Wade’s team. Even if he wins a championship, it won’t be his. But clearly he doesn’t care about it. I don’t know if I’m going to hate the Heat as much as I’m going to root for the Cavs. Even though Cleveland is widely regarded as one of America’s shitholes…. the Mistake by the Lake, if you will…. I grew up during the Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Craig Ehlo era. They were a solid franchise when I was young. They’re not really a poor hapless franchise like, say, the Sacramento Kings or Golden State Warriors, in my book. But on one fateful night, the Cavs became the biggest underdogs the NBA has ever seen. Can anyone really root against them? I mean sure, Daniel Gibson could go away and no one would miss him. But Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams deserve better. I was never much of a Dan Gilbert fan, and as much as he may have been going a little overboard, I am now. I avoided “The Decision” at all costs, but I’ll definitely be tuning in for Lebron’s first game back in Cleveland as a flamer. You can take that to the bank.