Dwyane Wade

I’d rather watch 20 guys play than LeBron James

Can you tell I’m feeling lazy today? A LeBron James post a day after an all-you-can-eat-and-drink crab feed thrown by the Guardsmen last night (where I introduced my wife to Damon Bruce, who probably thinks I’m stalking him now). Probably not a coincidence that I’m feeling a little sluggish.

Yeah, real creative, BASG. A LeBron James post, huh? What’s next, a 2010 Brett Favre timeline?

If the 49ers and Raiders lose on Sunday, maybe.

But with LeBron and the Heat coming to town tonight, it seems like as good a time as any to announce why I, like so many of you, don’t care for the King James. And the reason is not because he left Cleveland, or that he has never won a championship, or “The Decision” (which 99.99% of the world agrees was truly wretched television, although I think the worst crime against humanity was the endless pre-decision interview with Jim Gray before finally announcing where his talents were to be taken).

I don’t like watching LeBron play because I just don’t like his game.

Don’t get me wrong, the idea of LeBron is tremendous. An tall, incredibly fast NFL linebacker with an affinity for passing, one-handed tomahawk dunks and blocking shots on unsuspecting opponents who thought they were on their way to breakaway layups/dunks. You have to admit, that sounds pretty cool. Magic mixed with Michael with a little Patrick Willis thrown in. Nothing wrong with that.

But after watching LeBron in person (and hit the game-winner over Ronny Turiaf) a year ago at Oracle, I know for sure what I figured going into that game: even though he’s probably going to go down as one of the top 10 players of all time, I’d rather watch 20 guys than LeBron.

Sacrilege? Maybe. While everyone overrates his villainous tendencies, even his biggest detractors act like it’s a given that he’s the most exciting guy to watch play, and his game just doesn’t do it for me like it does for most others, apparently. Yeah, sometimes LeBron takes over games to such a degrees that you can’t do anything but sit back and enjoy. The third quarter in Cleveland, for example. But usually, that previously mentioned IDEA of LeBron is more aesthetically pleasing than the actual thing. Here’s a few reasons why this hater’s hating.

1. His jumper

Ugly.

2. His favorite move

LeBron enjoys getting a head of steam, cradling the basketball in his right arm and charging through the lane, looking for contact like Jamal Lewis. It’s effective, I’ll give him that.

3. Effort

LeBron cruises through games. Not just unimportant ones, but playoff games if he’s frustrated (Game 5 against Boston, for example). I can understand a superstar throwing an on-court tantrum every now and then, but sometimes he looks like he just doesn’t care.

Right now I’d rather watch Kobe, Rose, Monta, Westbrook, Manu, Rondo, Love, Wade, Durant, Blake Griffin, Nash, Roy, Josh and J.R. Smith, Paul, Wall, Deron, Pau, Odom, hell even Joakim Noah than LeBron. To say all these guys are better players would be ridiculous — we didn’t all make such a big deal about LeBron’s free agency because he’s an ineffective player. This is just one fan’s opinion, built mostly upon loads of TV watching and attending that game last year where he went for 37/8/11 and I barely noticed.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe being nonplussed by what some would call a virtuoso performance means I’m prejudiced against the guy. Maybe after going home early with my buddy Carp to watch him play on ESPN when he was in high school raised my expectations too high. Whatever it is, my visceral reaction to what he does ON the court has never made me feel like I’m witnessing history.

I guess it’s part of being a fan of the NBA, where there are so many different ways to accumulate the same stats. My opinion is just that, an opinion. I may enjoy watching Durant, you might think he’s an overrated, ballhogging, defense-phobic beanpole. However, while I root against LeBron tonight, it won’t be because I’m mad at his narcissism or inability to read the room. It’s because I’m tired of watching him truck through defenders in the lane when he isn’t settling for ugly 22-foot jumpers.

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