Not So Kingly Behavior
June 1, 2009 by admncc
Whether you play sports, have played sports, watch sports or could care less about sports, I think you’ll have an opinion about this. And rightfully so… An incident by Cleveland Cavaliers star, LeBron James, had the sports’ world divided today. Now you get to be the judge. Is he a fierce competitor and a “winner” (as he put it)? Or is he nothing more than a sore loser?
The Cavs lost the Eastern Conference Finals in six games to the Orlando Magic. The series ended this past Saturday with Orlando’s 103-90 victory. Whether you follow professional basketball or not, I’m sure you know who LeBron James is. He’s only one of the most famous athletes on the planet… But even with his name recognition, I’m not sure that his superstar status justifies King James’ actions.
After the Cavs lost, while the rest of the players from both teams were shaking hands (to congratulate each other on a good series), LeBron walked off the court, got showered, put on his headphones, walked to the team bus and skipped the post-game news conference. This was out of routine for several reasons. First, like I said above, typically at the end of a series, win or lose, the players congratulate each other. Second, LeBron is typically the main spokesman (to the media) for the Cavs after games. Third, it was the final game of the season – during which, the Cavs played very well. Fourth, it was a series the Cavs should have won.
As a fan, I realize losing frustrated him, as the Cavs were touted as possibly winning the NBA Finals this year. But instead, LeBron sourly left the court and his teammates to answer the media’s questions after the game.
However, on Sunday, LeBron made the following statements to the press:
- “I didn’t have much to say.”
- “One thing about me you’ve got to understand is it’s hard for me to congratulate anybody after you just lost to them.”
- “I’m a winner. That’s not being a poor sport or anything like that. When somebody beats you up, you’re not going to congratulate them for beating you up.”
That’s funny LeBron… What about when the Cavs swept the Pistons and Hawks earlier in the playoffs? The Cavs won those series pretty convincingly and he was out there shaking hands with everyone and congratulating them after those. In a few of those games, Cleveland blew-out the opposing team. I’d be willing to bet that some players on those teams were extremely disappointed, but yet they still shook hands and conducted press conferences at the end of the series.
Maybe he skipped the press conference because he didn’t want to hear the media ask him about next season – when his contract expires, or why management didn’t do a good job getting him the support on the bench that he needed, or why he was literally having to carry his team against Orlando. I can understand that, but leaving his teammates to hold the bag, I think, is poor sportsmanship.
Nobody wants their team to lose their superstar, but I don’t think LeBron did himself any favors (with the fans of Cleveland) with his behavior. His contract is up for renewal next year after all…
The bottom line is this – whether it is professional sports, recreation league softball or children’s t-ball, the unwritten rule in the end, is being a good sport. And when you’re a superstar, you sometimes have to suck it up and deal with tough situations. But whether you’re enjoying a victory or eating crow during a loss, you can’t abandon your team – and later chalk it up to being a “winner.” Sorry LeBron, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Good luck in NY or LA.