Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Official: LeBron has Lost His Mind

I'm a 35 (soon to be 36) year old middle class suburb-dwelling white male. I was raised in the suburbs, went to school in the suburbs, and went to college. I cannot speak of racism from a personal standpoint, nor do I have the right. I am, however, a fairly intelligent, reasonable, and logical person. Therefore, I can confidently dispute Lebron James' and Maverick Carter's latest Decision - to play the race card in response to the bitter and angry reaction to LRMR's infamous spectacle, "The Decision".

I'm not naive in thinking that racism doesn't exist, even in the reality of mega-superstardom. That there aren't some who can't stand Lebron because of the color of his skin. That he, his mother, and friends didn't face it growing up in Akron. Those people were racists before "The Decision" and they will be racists long after the sting of "The Decision" simmers. But to say race played a significant role in people's REACTION to "The Decision"? Really?

Was race a factor when Lebron was arguably the most beloved athlete on the planet? Was race a factor when millions bought his jersey. Was race a factor when arenas sold out just see him? Or when he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a teen? Or when Dan Gilbert gave him and his entourage free reign and jobs within the organization? Or in the summer of 2010 when 6 organizations came to HIS hometown to beg him to play for their organization? See, you can't have it both ways. People didn't just wake up the day after "The Decision" and become racist.

The most unfortunate part of the latest Lebron blunder is that people who carelessly throw around the race card (or any other serious social/economical/political issue) like he and Maverick did, wind up making a mockery of the cause.

Lebron - the poor black kid, raised alone by his mom on the streets of Akron... who has also been coddled and fawned over since he was 14. Who's had more privileges bestowed upon him by the time he's 25 than most people will ever have in their lifetime.

The transformation from hero to villain is remarkable. Lebron is like the sheltered, quiet kid who goes to college and finally let's loose. He's the kid that was never allowed to have sweets and is now old enough to binge at will. He's the rebellious teen. No more mister nice guy.

In the most shocking heel turn since Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach, Lebron not only seems to be playing the heel role, he's the main eventer. Little did he know, when he decided to play for the Heat, he'd be the world champion at generating it.

Race didn't have much to do with the REACTION to "The Decision". Being a coy, disrespectful, self-indulgent, ego-maniac who cut the nuts off of his hometown? Now that may have played a role just a little. Playing the race card is as empty as "The Decision" itself.

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