How you play the game
Hang on to your hater hat, I’m about to defend LeBron James. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make more money or win a championship in your chosen sport. Professional athletes change teams all the time to achieve these goals. You’ve switched jobs to make more money once or twice in your life, haven’t you?
And didn’t you call a press conference to announce your decision and rub it in the face of your old boss and co-workers and then predict that your new company would be incredibly fabulous with your fabulous self on board? No?
Sorry for the bait and switch. I really can’t defend LeBron James. It’s not always whether you win or lose the game, but how you play it. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.
Maybe LeBron believes his own hype, or maybe he’s getting bad advice. His PR folks should have known that a premature “King James” coronation would rub people the wrong way. (The fact that it’s a biblical reference makes it even worse.) His big media launch when he left Cleveland earned him love in Miami, but the opposite emotion everywhere else.
After Dallas defeated Miami in this year’s NBA Finals, we ironically got our lesson in humility from the loudest loudmouth owner in sports, Mark Cuban. When asked how it feels to be a winner, he pointed the microphone at his coach and players and said “Ask them.” You could argue that Cuban’s “humility” is as calculated as LeBron’s flash and fanfare… and I don’t care. It was cool.
It may be hard to be humble when you’re so great, but it’s easier for fans to identify with those who let results do ALL the talking. A little humility goes a long way.