I'm on record saying that I thought LeBron James demanding more help just because his team hit a rough patch in the regular season was completely disingenuous. I didn't hesitate to say it seemed counterintuitive to condemn the entirety of a locker room and the front office that put it together when they helped him win a legacy defining championship just a little over 6 months ago. I felt like Jay-Z as I listened to him to him rant and bitch like the petulant child he has proven to be off the court, because he was dropping a bunch of fucks for dramatic effect like it wasn't "all good just a week ago".
That's why this full on public evisceration of someone that agreed with my sentiment puts me in a tough spot. Subjectively speaking, I like Charles Barkley a whole hell of a lot more than LeBron James, but - objectively speaking - the latter didn't say anything that was untrue. Did it come off as holier than thou? A little bit. Did he cap his damnation with a sign off so cringeworthy that it made Clint Eastwood's eyes roll back to the 1950's when he was twirling pistols on his pointer fingers as he kicked in the saloon doors of every local watering hole in the wild, wild west? ABSOLUTELY. However, I have to give credit where credit is due, because - for potentially the first time in his life - LeBron James was forthright. I don't know why it came at the expense of a talking head who intentionally goes over-the-top in search of laughs when so many others have been hyper-critical of him in the past, but just because the target seems arbitrary doesn't mean the message is any less pointed.
For the first time I can remember, LeBron James made no attempt to be subtle. There was nothing passive about that aggression. I'm sure I'll regret saying this because they are undoubtedly on the horizon, but there were no subtweets. No veiled shots that he can summon ambiguity to casually backtrack from. The 'King' of duplicity stopped beating around the bush and got all up in that ass. I still don't like the dumbass rant that this whole story stemmed from, but LeBron James deciding to put someone's name in his mouth instead of - yet again - hiding behind subliminal messages like a rapper who is scared to pick up the mic and battle is a step in the right direction. I'm not sure likability resides in that direction, but a little more respect for him as something other than an otherworldly basketball player certainly does.