It’s okay to be vocal about what you want or think you need when your current situation isn’t working out for you, but at the same time, it is important to remember to be careful about your approach.
Remember all those group assignments in grade school? Sometimes you had the freedom to choose your group, and you would be looking across the classroom at your friend, only to catch them looking back at you with validation: this is going to be fun. Most of the time, however, the teacher had pre-assigned groups for you. If you were lucky, you were put together with hard workers and people you got along with. It also depends on the type of person you were, if you could work with anybody and accomplish the task at hand and succeed. But group projects weren’t always fun — they were hard work, stressful and sometimes you didn’t get the grade you wanted.
That’s what LeBron James has been trying to express lately, just, in a passive-aggressive, offending his teammates, kind of way.
James and his Cavaliers (32-15) are losing to teams that they are favored to win against, and the team has been irritated, understandably. After losing three games back-to-back last week, the face of the Cavs franchise did not hold back: “We need an f—-ing playmaker.” He went on unintentionally blasted his teammates by saying, “it’s been a s—-ty 2017 so far, I’ll be 33 in the winter, and I ain’t got no time to waste.”
I not mad or upset at management cause Griff and staff have done a great job, I just feel we still need to improve in order to repeat…
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 24, 2017
if that's what we wanna do.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 24, 2017
Every basketball fan — specifically LeBron haters, and reporters had a field day examining James’ outrage.
Everyone’s disappointment in LeBron’s sudden outburst and choice of expression was laced with the same confusion: his team has the highest payroll. And anything LeBron wants, LeBron gets — so it seems. He’s a player feeling entitled enough to play the general manager role. We’re all witnesses, right?
He wanted superstar Andrew Wiggins and a Cavs first-round pick Anthony Bennett traded for Kevin Love. He wanted Waiters, Amundson and Kirk traded for J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. Then, he wanted Varejao traded for a draft pick. Was open about simply not liking David Blatt until he got fired, and wanted Tyronn Lue made for the head coach. Then, a trade for Kyle Korver — and told him to shot every time he got the ball. Okay…
So, why is everyone so surprised about LeBron telling the media what he wants to be done? It’s not the first time or the second.
Some Chicago Bulls players, like Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler, have been vocal with exasperation, but that’s another story. The point is, it happens, and LeBron isn’t the only one.
Retired-NBA star and analyst Charles Barkley called out James and the Cavs for needing to strengthen their roster with another playmaker to win a title again this year. Barkley did not hold back, in his typical fashion, by calling James, “Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above.” He then went on to say the Cavs have given Lebron “everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted Shumpert last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver. He’s the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete? He is an amazing player. They’re the defending champs.”
Barkley had a point, and he made it clear: if you have everyone on your team, who’s left? As an athlete, the fuel to compete never dies out.
Dallas Mavericks lifer Dirk Nowitzki threw shade at LeBron by saying in all his 18 years in the league, he never requested for other players or left. LeBron did both of those.
Kobe Bryant wanted help, but he never publicly said he needed a playmaker. Kobe knew if his Lakers needed a playmaker, he would fill that roll.
But this isn’t about Nowitzki or Bryant, or the Chicago Bulls. This is about LeBron having to reap what he sows.
Last night after the Cavs took another blow by the Mavs, he went right for Charles Barkley’s throat.
He went on to say he aware that Barkley “wanted to retire a long time ago, but he can’t he’s stuck up on that stage every week.”
He also informally told Barkley to pull up on him: “And if this makes him want to talk to me, the schedule’s out there,” James said. “He knows every road arena I’ll be in. Don’t just come up to me at All-Star and shake my hand and smile.”
I mean, wow.
Charles Barkley was not wrong, and neither was LeBron James.
James is not a child — he’s obviously frustrated, and he over-reacted.
Players that are secure don’t act out this way, and maybe it’s his shadow that will chase him forever. He’ll never be able to get rid of it, especially when the sun is setting and all the facts are laid out. “The Decision” he made in 2012 will forever be an insecurity, a bruise on his precious, easily damaged ego.
LeBron could avoid all of this scrutiny if he had these trade request and team building conversations with GM David Griffen, in private, instead of with the media.
Also, LeBron said he wouldn’t be disrespected, then went on to air out Barkley’s personal life, disrespecting him.. Barkley only called LeBron out strictly on basketball. This could get messy.