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I didn’t learn the word “domination” during a discussion of American slavery or the Roman Empire; it was when the two best basketball players in the neighborhood ended up on the same team. And, as I watched the Miami Heat beat the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals, that same memory jumped into my head.

The hatred for LeBron James—and by extension the Miami Heat—has a number of secondary causes. Miami is not a traditional basketball city, and the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh threatens to put “real” basketball towns like Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago on the backburner for years to come. Also, “The Decision,” ESPN’s one hour fellating of LeBron James, was one of the worst PR moves in sports history. During which Cleveland, one of the country’s most tortured sports towns, had to watch its only hope for basketball redemption leave for South Beach.

But these aren’t the reasons most sports bars in America are filled with profanity laden descriptions of LeBron and the Heat. In the 21st century, we don’t expect athletes to be loyal. We chide one player for being too sheepish while deriding another for his swagger. We accept athletes pretending they are bigger than the sport because we crave the spectacle, the moment when they can become slightly mythic. However, we learned the rules of sports (and life, for that matter) on the playground, and we can’t accept our heroes breaking those rules. We will always call Barry Bonds a cheat before we call him the Home Run King, and we will always remember that LeBron broke the sacred rule of keeping teams even.

As fans, we want to see our heroes defy the odds, defy gravity, but when they challenge our childhoods, we can’t allow them to be heroes anymore.

-Jason McCall

One Response to “#93 – Playground Heresy”

  1. Nice post. I normally would comment alot more though I’m just browsing on my little cellphone. I’ve book-marked this site and thus hope to return when I am home.

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