Ever since the "Decision", we have listened to friends, family, the media, and pretty much everyone not a Heat fan, rant about the hideous nature of Lebron James. Of course then came the "pre-championship" party with bold predictions (even for my taste) about the number of rings the big three might retire with.
At any rate, these three events seemed to culminate in a national coronation of Lebron (and the Heat) as the "evil empire". We were told that only the scum of the earth would do such a thing to the poor downtrodden souls in Cleveland, and that only an egotistical snob would dare parade out onstage with his new playmates, as if he had already won a championship.
So, the branding seemed to stick. Darth Vader and Lebron were interchangeable villains. Wade and Bosh were seen as either hapless clowns, or whining children grasping on to Lebron's..er, I mean Vader's cape.
The reality is, it is the fans and media that have spent the last two years in deep hatred for Lebron, that are actually on the path to the "dark side", and here's why...
FEAR...plain and simple.
Sure, people can tell themselves whatever they want if it helps them justify their "hatred". However, I believe that all the aforementioned dynamics, are just an excuse to mask the real fear of Lebron James, and what his success might mean for their own team's chances of winning a title. Of course Lebron and the Miami Heat could collapse on itself and never win another, but I doubt it.
Yoda said it best, "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering". If there was ever a description that sums up the varying emotions that the "haters" have had to work through the last two years, this is it.
Of course, Lebron could have simply let his decision to come to Miami leak through his agent, showed up on the first day of team practice, and don his Heat jersey with a whimper. Fine, maybe that's what he should have done. However, the truth? The truth is, the real basketball fans from every other team (not the average NBA bystander that shows up for the hyperbolic stories and drama) knew exactly what this meant in the real world of basketball. Forget the hype, and whatever they want to tell you. What they really felt when they heard those resounding, and much maligned words "I've decided to take my talents to South Beach", was fear.
Fear of what James' talents combined with two of the other top five 2003 draft picks would look like. Of course the rest of the nation thought James should stay in Cleveland. He's much safer on a team that goes from 61 wins to 63 losses in a single year without him. In short, they got their britches twisted because they knew of the impending doom this might mean for their team.
A quick reminder: The Bulls won 55 games their first year after Jordan's first retirement.
I imagine most fans will never admit to this, but deep down, they know the awful truth. Without "the decision" and the fireworks, and the bold predictions, they would just have to stick to hating Lebron for the only reason that matters...the fear of losing.
In the end, for all the vitriolic fans that seethed with maniacal glee, every time Lebron missed a jump shot, or a freethrow, or lost a regular season game, or maybe even won, but missed some arbitrary record in the process, Yoda could not have been more right.
And now? All the fear, all the hate, and all the anger, has lead to the inevitable..suffering.