Lebron James. L.J. Lebron the Bomb. Or simply put, The Bron. Is it just me, or does he have a name that was born for stardom, let alone basketball deity? From MJ to Magic to Dr. J and to even The Bird, the appropriate moniker seems to predicate the inevitable destiny. Lebron already adorns magazine covers and has his own Nike contract, and have you seen this guy’s body? He’s supposedly 18 years old, but he either grew up eating a lot of spinach, or he’s the Danny Almonte of the NBA. Well, before I lose myself in the Lebron hype, let me take a moment to explain the title of this article. After all, isn’t the word “curse” too harsh of a label to put on a pre-adult with expectations heavier than the Milky Way? True, it’s not a nice stamp to put on such a young kid, but my hostility isn’t against this high school phenom; rather I have a word or two for The System.
At least Neo had the choice of either picking the red pill or the blue pill, but King (Lebron) James has no choice but to tumble down the rabbit hole. Yet, Lebron seems unwavered by this constant barrage of attention; in fact, he seems to be gaining steam as the roller coaster of the NBA ride becomes reality. Ah, but akin to all the “so called” Yankees and Lakers fans out there, the Lebron bandwagon is overstuffed with ESPN frat boys and trendy hoopsters. Lebron can play, don’t get me wrong, but just as his stardom appeared unavoidable, so does his demise.
With his arrival into “Cleave-or Leave-Land,” there will be a sudden surge of groupies, which will lead to a rapid increase in clubs and party related venues. This will not only add to the downfall of the pubescent Cavs team, but also open the gates to the debacle of our young Lebron. Barely a question has been raised about the godlike skills of King James with the exception of his jumper, which, by the way, is almost everyone’s weakness, unless your name is Steve Kerr. But has anyone ever wondered if Lebron can withstand the onslaught of temptations that will come with more force than a Shaquille O’ Neal slam? Seriously, think about it. Here is a kid who has no shame in flaunting his H2, delivering no look passes with more frequency than the local China Wok and carries fame with such arrogance that even Rickey Henderson is seen blushing. Not only is Lebron young, but throughout his rookie year, he will be egged on by his peers envious of such idolatry.
I hope for the best. Especially in the light of Kobe’s soap opera, there is, among fans and NBA pundits, an even hungrier desire for Lebron’s success. The latter sees things through the lenses of Benjamins and investments, while the former wants a new Jordan to lead the cavalry. I have no doubt that accolades will come to Mr. James, deservedly so and in great regularity. In all honesty, I would be surprised if he is not considered the most prolific player in the League by his second or third year. The object of my anxiety is not the possibility that Lebron will completely fail as a star or get caught up in some horrible mess, involving strip joints and insane amounts of money.
My greatest fear actually rests upon the shoulders of The System. The System is simply a word that attempts to define the whole methodology of quick corrupt consumption that is the NBA. The System is the wealthy NBA rulers, ranging from CEOs who couldn’t care less about Spalding, to the sponsors who see pursing the person more important than pursuing the person. The System is also the media who will sell out the player to sell the story. Sadly, this is where Lebron and his red pill have brought him. There will come a time when Lebron will look over to his counterpart, Carmelo, and wonder why their lives are so different. Though their paths were separated by a mere two picks, their lives engrained into The System however, is worlds apart.
The Curse of Lebron is one that can’t be blamed on this Ohio kid born with genes and an ability to play the game like Bobby Fischer on chess. The Curse is the fact that Lebron enters the League when media hype is higher than a Grateful Dead concert, and the money mongrels see more green than a New York St. Patrick’s parade. Not a good mix … not a good elixir for a young man to drink. So Lebron, here’s a little advice from someone who never knew fame and whose best basketball moment came against his 10-year-old cousin: Stay true to your mom, Ohio and Morpheus. The System will test you out, and depending upon your revenue and popularity, will either adore you as King James or leave you like Jesse James. Much like Neo in The Matrix, you have already decided to see how far the rabbit hole will go. Oracles all over will say contradicting prophecies over your life, but Mom, Ohio friendsters and Morpheus-like mentors will remain true to the end. Don’t let the hype and the grinches out there steal your joy.
Lebron, I haven’t necessarily made a clear-cut decision on where I stand with you, but I will tell you this” If at the end of my 25
year, you are still smiling, enjoying life, staying away from strip joints and loving the game that got you here, you will have officially broken the Curse that has sauntered in the League way too long. For all the Snow Whites, Cinderellas and Unbelievers who exist in the spectator world, we plead: “Lebron, do us proud. Break the Curse. Simply do it for ‘the love of the game.’” By the way, I’m 24. You got less than two years to accomplish this mission.
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