Tuesday, June 2, 2009

No need to shake, rattle, roll and pile on LeBron James

There were some extraordinary things that happened over the weekend – Texas won a college playoff game in 25 innings, Florida State scored 37 runs in one of its playoff games and the gazillionaire New York Yankees finally took over first place – yet we’re still talking about LeBron James’ failure to extend his hand after the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated by the Orlando Magic in the NBA playoffs.

Are you kidding me? To use an Allen Iversonesque response: Handshake?! We’re talking about a handshake?!

Now if LeBron had flipped the bird at Dwight Howard and the Magic as he left the court on Saturday, then we’d really have something to talk about it. But LeBron was understandably disgusted so he ignored the traditional post-game handshake ritual with the opposing team and steamed off into the locker room. No harm. No foul.

But suddenly comes cries of POOR SPORT! SORE LOSER! CLASSLESS KING!
Just for walking off the court and not extending his handshake as a gentlemanly gesture? Frankly, I’m glad LeBron showed he was upset about losing because I see way too much hugging amongst opposing players after every NBA game. That’s a sickening sight. The Celtics and Lakers never did such thing back in the 60s, 70s and 80s. They respected the enemy but they were never, ever seen cuddling, conversing and smiling with them after the game.

If LeBron wanted to win so much that it hurt to lose, I’m OK with that. But critics are jumping on him as if he was trying to avoid a DUI checkpoint or a drug test.

Why? Let me see if I’ve got this straight: LeBron did everything humanly possible to help the Cavs beat the Magic and yet he’s being criticized for exhibiting normal humanly emotions after a game in which his MVP season ended? He was damn mad. Wouldn’t you be in his sneakers? It’s a damn shame there is more focus and attention and analysis given to LeBron’s refusal to extend his right hand an arm’s length than to his team’s failure and disinterest in extending a series that they had every right to expect to win.

I wonder who the sore losers really are.


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