Today marks the 5 year anniversary of one of the most talked about moments in sports called, ‘The Decision”. LeBron James decided to ‘take his talents to South Beach‘ to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to become part of the Miami Heat.
The choice to go to Miami turned out to be a great decision for LeBron. He went on to participate in four straight NBA Finals, in which he won two, and he also brought home the MVP award two times, making a total of four in his collection. Following his first title, James quickly became the face of the NBA, and in most eyes, the best player in the league. However, no matter how much he won or how he won, the hate followed right behind it.
Depending on what type of fan you were, that determined how you felt about LeBron’s decision. Miami Heat fans were obviously ecstatic about LeBron’s choice. They knew what they were getting in LeBron, a leader on the court that could do it all and make his teammates better in the process.
Cleveland Cavalier fans on the other hand….not so much. James was born and raised in Akron, Ohio and ever since graduating high school, he was always pronounced KING. Seeing the hometown kid leave was devastating for Cleveland fans, so devastating that they felt the King stabbed them in the back, leaving fans heartbroken and angry, which led to burnt LeBron jerseys and the defacing of his brand.
Many casual NBA fans had mixed feelings about the decision. Some didn’t care, but for others, it left a sour taste in their mouth. It wasn’t about where he went or that he left, it was about how he left. The interview came off as cocky and arrogant which changed the way people viewed LeBron James. He quickly became the villain and according to Bleacher Report’s Top 10 Hated Athletes in 2010 James was tied with Michael Vick for number 1. That one hour sit down on ESPN caused the whole world to turn on him, but I know looking back now, LeBron would have definitely second guessed that decision (no pun intended).
Off the court, it’s safe to say that if James didn’t do that interview, he wouldn’t be criticized the way he is. People love to make fun of LeBron and critique him for the smallest things, even when there’s really nothing to nitpick at. From the condescending posters, to the hilarious memes, these things have all derived from the hate that LeBron has endured, and from here on out, it may never end.