Kyrie had just hit an absolute dagger of a 3-pointer. Steph Curry was panically dribbling around the arch looking for the smallest sliver of daylight to match it with a shot that was so forced it made LeBron's pop culture references look spontaneous. It was at that moment that I accepted that the Cleveland Cavaliers were likely going to win a championship, and I began to appreciate everything their fearless leader accomplished in literally dragging them back from the dead to do so.
It's only right I call it a moment, because boy was it fleeting. I had hardly even began to absorb just how historical his efforts were before LeBron rose to throw down a thunderous insurance dunk over top of Draymond Green and ended up writhing around on the ground like he had snapped his arm in three places. Literally 10 seconds of game time away from forever altering his legacy and he still couldn't restrain himself from theatrics that would make a thespian roll their eyes. As if that weren't cringeworthy enough, he followed up a final whistle that cemented his place NBA lore by falling to the ground in a puddle of tears as 300 cameramen and - more importantly - his teammates just stood around watching. Never mind the fact that he was pounding the court with the hand he would have had you believe was no longer attached to his body just minutes before. I had already had enough of LeBron before he started putting his hands in the air with 3 fingers raised as if the first two fingers didn't represent the time he callously spurned the franchise he was now celebrating with on national television.
Am I nitpicking? Absolutely. I am nitpicking because that's what we do to people that constantly beg for attention. It was a pleasure to watch him rise above it, but LeBron James has asked for every single criticism that has come his way over the course of his illustrious career. 'The Decision'?Proclaiming his Miami super-team was going to win upwards of 5-6 championships? The announcement that he was 'Coming Home' to finish what he started like he wasn't just doing it because it gave him a better chance to win? The flops? The subtweets? The nauseating quotes and borderline sociopathic behavior? People don't hate LeBron because of what he's able to do on the basketball court. People hate LeBron because he's a passive aggressive, narcissistic, self serving egomaniac that loves nothing more than engaging in mental warfare. Why else would someone hate a guy that's capable of this...
Like it or not, it's 2016 and with as much of a look as we get into the lives of our favorite (and least favorite) athletes - personality undoubtedly matters. I am sure you can find the people that help harp on the fact that he was 2-4 in the NBA finals before last night. There are plenty that will call him un-clutch despite any and all evidence to the contrary. Get ready, because the amount of people singing his praises will likely be matched by the amount of people bringing up Michael Jordan's trophy case. You know what all those people have in common? They are too ashamed to say that the only reason they don't like LeBron James is because he's an insufferable human being. Maybe the same would be said about the psuedo-alcoholic gambling addict he is so often compared to if the media landscape was the same in the 90's. We'll never know. What I do know is that the best player I have watched with a basketball in his hands is also the most painful I have watched when he has a microphone in his hands. I respect his greatness, but it would be disingenuous of me to do so without also acknowledging his fakeness.