Mat MacDonald AKA The RookThe Rook is currently enrolled in Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A frequent contributor to all NBA and Raptors debates along with other sports. Witty, quick and never afraid of a challenge, Mat's here to talk hoops with you and dish out his two cents whenever!
LeBron James - What should you do?
On the eve of the NBA season and the eve of a new era in the NBA no one could have asked for a better present. Just when you thought all the hype was over about LeBron James and his image, boom...think again.
If you havenʼt checked the latest LeBron commercial, youʼre missing out. When I say missing out, youʼre oops I missed my high school graduation missing out. If you didnʼt miss your high school graduation, make your cousin, sister, brother, friend...hell, make anyone miss it. LeBron James and Nike just took another step out there and said, ʻHere I am!ʼ
A month ago people debated about LeBronʼs comments regarding race and how he believed some of the hate directed as his decision was based primarily on issues that have haunted some cultures for decades. James followed through with his comments by hitting up Twitter and re-tweeting all of your favorite racial slurs and comments shot his way. If you think he isnʼt making a list and checking it twice, then youʼve obviously missed out on LeBronʼs way of thinking this summer - this league is his.
Sure I could sit here and talk all about everything I hated during the summer and LeBronʼs decision. I could be one of those people that overkills the topic, and sure at times - like right now - I am without a doubt. But did you see LeBron James that night he went on national TV and announced heʼd be kicking back with Dwayne and Chris in South Beach? Did you see the glare he had in his eyes? Maybe not. Did you catch it when the scariest threesome since a Jenna Jamison flick was introduced in front of a rave-ish crowd in Miami? Did you see it? Maybe not. Did you ever see him fight back at all of those who said he did wrong, all of those who said he was a traitor, a villain, a foolish individual, a follower? Never. Now with this commercial, you get to see his true face.
Put yourselves in his shoes. Youʼre working and you want a bonus but your boss just wonʼt give it to you. You get perks here and there like the Jamisons and Williamsʼ cups of coffee, but you never get the big pay raise, you never get those Dwight Howard size raises. Until one day youʼre given an option; Come back and be in the same situation youʼve always been in and hopefully youʼll enjoy your time and something good will happen one day...or move on. Move on to something that you like, something that makes you wake up in the morning with a smile on your face. Sure, you wonʼt make the same type of money you made at your old job, but would you sacrifice that for more perks, bigger bonusʼ, more time off, more cups of Wade and Bosh? I donʼt know about you, but Iʼm with LeBron. I want a cup of D-Wade every day at work with a side of CB4, Iʼm tired of the Mo-doughnut and the Delonte disease.
Put yourselves in his shoes.
Now the bigger issue - and yes, itʼs an issue. Iʼll touch it, Iʼll talk all about it.
For DECADES race has been a part of all sport. Who are we kidding? Race has been a part of life forever. It doesnʼt matter what race you are, thereʼs somewhere in the world youʼre being ridiculed against and there are people everywhere you go that hold prejudice. That will never go away. Is that right? No way, but it happens.
I was lucky to grow up in a family that had racial diversity. When I was younger I didnʼt see it as a big deal at all, and as Iʼve grown older Iʼve seen it as a great learning tool and an amazing experience. Iʼve been on teams that certain players have been pulled out because of their race. Iʼve witnessed some of my best friends face the toughest adversity in the world because of their race.
So does race play a big factor in this?
Letʼs see. Would you have been upset if Troy Murphy decided he wanted to have a one hour special to tell the world where he was planning on playing? Probably not. I mean hell, no one wants to see his face on TV for longer then a minute but still, I wouldnʼt hate him for doing it. Did the Green Bay faithful get mad when Favre decided to come back in the NFL and play for the Jets? Sure, they were in shock for a bit because he was Mr. Packer, but when the season started, the Green Bay fans were Green Bay fans and the Jets fans were Favre fans. When Favre returned he was welcomed with open arms. Now does retiring and coming back in the game three times piss a few people off? Sure. Look at Jordan, look at Favre. Arguably the two most iconic figures in their sport over the past 15 years both did their retire-return routine and both were welcomed back with open arms.
So tell me again, why are you using the race card?
Some of the biggest figures in sport have been a different race than caucasian. In baseball Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Jackie Robinson, the list goes on and on. In the NFL players like Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, and Tony Gonzalez shaped the offensive game. And the NBA? Of course you have your Larry Birdʼs, John Stocktonʼs and Pistol Peteʼs. But could you argue and say that in the last 20 years the face of the NBA hasnʼt been someone of another race except caucasian? MJ, Vince, Shaq, Kobe, LeBron, Durant? The list goes on. So why are you really mad?
Are you mad that he left the city that he gave seven years of blood, sweat and tears to? Are you mad that he went on television to tell everyone at once? Are you mad that he didnʼt come to your city? Are you mad that heʼs added himself into one crazy picture in Miami? Are you made this decision could have ultimately saved the NBA? Or are you just using the race card because all of those reasons arenʼt really something you can be upset about?
Whatever you decided realize at the end of the day thereʼs millions and millions of people looking down on one man, staring at him, waiting for him to make his next move. Thereʼs never a moment off, a moment out of the spotlight that is LeBron James. It doesnʼt matter the color of his skin. None of that matters. Itʼs about what heʼs done on the court night in and night out. A two time MVP, soon to be a three time and soon to hopefully bring a ring to Miami.
So is there anything else? Just ask LeBron, he wants your input. Heʼll just ask you too, “What should I do?”
Shout out to Charles Barkley and everyone else for lighting the fire under LeBron that didnʼt need to be lit.
You said heʼs not a role model. You said heʼs a villain. You said he canʼt win it alone. You said he has no heart. You said heʼs lost his shot at being put above everyone else.
What will you say when he proves you wrong?
Buckle up, itʼs about to Heat up in the NBA