Allow me to begin with a disclaimer. I really don’t like LeBron James. Not one little bit. Call me a hater or even someone who does not appreciate greatness. So for me to say a nice thing about the man is not easy. Secondly, I believe that almost everyone who hates LeBron now will stop in the next few years. Should LBJ play his cards right, he could become one of the more loved stars in the league. (This, however, excludes people from Cleveland; they will always hate LeBron James.) As for the rest of America, the hate will eventually stop.
At the beginning of this year LeBron stopped giving people reasons to hate him. At the beginning of the season LeBron hate was at an all time high, as people were still celebrating Miami’s epic collapse in the Finals, and still suffering from the sting of the decision and that God-awful ego-fest that was the welcome party. He accepted the role of villain and made the entire season his personal campaign to prove people wrong. He made fun of Dirk’s cold, bumped coach Spoelstra, whined about every call, became flopper-in-chief, and generally just acted like a jerk. In turn the NBA community hated his guts. I noticed, the analysts noticed, other fans noticed, and it seems as though LeBron James did too. During the lockout, apparently he had more time to sit down and look at himself.Once the season started, he was just a kid from Cleveland happy to play basketball at such a high level. He said all the right things, never had any incidents with Coach Spoelstra, and even got a ring out of it all. His first season with the Heat, LeBron was a jerk. He then chokes in the Finals as rings jokes are thrown around more and more every day.
The next season, he acts thoughtfully, then proceeds to win his first ring. Regardless if this is karma or not, LeBron James will earn, if nothing else, the love of fans in places other than Miami. Looking back at other hated players, none of them are quite like LeBron James. Dennis Rodman was hated because he was dirty throughout his entire career. He consistently threw in an elbow if he knew he wouldn’t be caught by a ref. People make the same argument for Kevin Garnett. The thing about LeBron is, his hate was ignited by a decision, then fed from his actions and words. However, he seems to have stopped acting in such a way that attracts hate. Eventually, and regardless of his ring-count, LeBron James will not be the most hated man in the NBA.