First off, let’s take a quick poll. After we put our daughter to bed, my wife and I watched the basketball game together. One of us watched the game quietly, while the other one spewed comments like this:
“Fuck you, LeBron!”
“LeBron, you’re such a pussy. Are you going to cry if you get cramps again?? You make me sick!”
“You’re a bitch, LeBron! You’re a punk ass, bitch ass, ho ass, bitch!”
Here’s the question: Who do you think said those things? The black 6’2 guy who was the captain of his college basketball team and a die-hard NBA fan? Or the half-Japanese, half-white 5’3 woman who was a former High School cheerleader? Wait for it…
Gold stars to those of you who guessed Mommy Doin’ Work. The woman hates LeBron James. Yes, I know that hate is a really strong word – but I don’t have another word in my lexicon that equates to “hate x 100.” As the game progressed and it became evident that LeBron would win his first NBA championship, I dropped six seemingly innocuous words that ended up being the equivalent to the damage inflicted from a pipe bomb.
“I wouldn’t mind if LeBron wins.”
If looks could kill – my wife would’ve killed me, brought me back to life briefly by applying a 10,000 volt shock to my heart, and then killed me again by applying the same voltage to my testicles. She glared at me, stormed out of the living room, and stayed in the bedroom for the remainder of the evening.
I know there are some of you reading this who aren’t basketball fans or sports fans. I also know there are some of you who don’t know the difference between LeBron James and Rick James. I get it, and that’s cool. Just know that I’m here to cater to you folks as well. Let me break this down in a way that all of us can understand. Here’s why a lot of people (including Mommy Doin’ Work) hate LeBron James.
Let’s say there was a woman named…um, Cleveland. Cleveland is not very good-looking, but she’s very nice and extremely loyal. She’s had her heart broken by so many men that she can hardly keep track of them, but finally she met the perfect man named LeBron James. LeBron and Cleveland had a great relationship – and she loved him more than she’s ever loved a man before. As the relationship progressed, LeBron became extremely popular across the country. Whenever he would travel on business, women would hit on him left and right and would ask why he’s wasting his time with a woman like Cleveland. Unfazed, LeBron would always say that he was in love and made it clear that his heart was with Cleveland because she always loved and supported him.
The crossroads came when LeBron wanted children. As much as they tried, Cleveland just couldn’t get pregnant. Knowing that he wasn’t getting any younger, LeBron became visibly frustrated and asked her to visit the doctor to get checked out, but she kept stalling and making excuses not to go. Cleveland begged for patience, and urged him not to give up on her – and finally after another year without a viable pregnancy, he said, “Cleveland, I need to take some time to decide what I’m going to do about our future. When I’m ready, I’ll conduct a press conference on national TV to announce my choice, and I’m going to call it ‘The Decision.’” Cleveland barked at her longtime love incredulously, “What?? Why can’t we just work this out privately? Does this have to be aired on television??” LeBron smiled and held Cleveland’s hand, “It’s going to be OK, honey. The proceeds from the television event will go to the Boys & Girls Club. That will make it all worthwhile.” And then he walks away.
Cleveland was an emotional wreck for about a week. She couldn’t eat, she couldn’t sleep, and she wondered why LeBron would put her through so much pain. Maybe she should’ve gone to the doctor like he asked, but it was too late now. She did have a little bit of confidence believing that he was way too good of a guy to make a fool out of her on national television, and deep down she felt he was going to announce to the whole world that they’ll keep trying for a baby for as long as it takes.
The date of “The Decision” finally arrived, and LeBron was going to announce to the world if he was going to continue his relationship with Cleveland or move on. He got on stage, looked straight into the camera and said, “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach! Miami is my new girlfriend!” At that point, a ridiculously good-looking woman appears on stage and starts making out with LeBron in front of America. Cleveland watches the whole thing go down on her living room couch, and is absolutely devastated. Why didn’t he just tell her privately and in person? Who gets on national TV and does that sort of thing?? But wait, it gets worse.
About a week later, LeBron and Miami appeared on national TV again, and he was asked how many children they’re planning to have together. He boasts, “not one baby, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…” and the crowd erupts in joyous laughter. Cleveland cannot believe what she’s seeing and hearing. She knows that she isn’t remotely as good-looking as Miami, but she LOVED LeBron like no other. What type of man plans to have multiple children with some chick he just met? What type of man breaks a fragile woman’s heart in front of America? Those questions haunted Cleveland, and in a matter of weeks she gained 50 lbs, became a meth addict, lost her job, and has never been the same since. So, boys and girls – that’s why people hate LeBron James.
Oh, I forgot to mention that LeBron and Miami just had their first baby last night, which spiraled Cleveland deeper into the abyss wondering if she’ll ever have children of her own.
Returning back to last night, it didn’t take a genius to determine how Mommy Doin’ Work felt about all of this. “Great example you’re giving our daughter by supporting an egotistical, self-important douchebag!” While I slept on the couch, I took some time to reflect on the fact that I probably won’t get laid for at least a month. I also took some time to think about how LeBron’s experience could make me a better parent and person if I searched for the hidden nuggets embedded in his actions. So without further ado, here’s the list.
#1 Don’t be afraid to ask for help: LeBron left Cleveland because he desperately wanted a baby…err, a NBA Championship. He knew he wouldn’t get one in Cleveland, so he left to join forces with more talented people to help him reach his ultimate goal. I don’t have a problem with that. What? Did you expect him to win a championship as the only competent player on Cleveland’s roster? Michael Jordan didn’t get championships by himself and Steve Jobs didn’t create Apple by himself – they all needed help. Sometimes Mommy Doin’ Work and Daddy Doin’ Work need some downtime from the parenting thing, and it’s totally OK to ask for friends and family to lend a hand. Doing so will make us better parents in the long run.
#2 Don’t be a jerk: I know LeBron haters don’t have any issues with him leaving Cleveland, they have issues with how he left Cleveland. The self-aggrandizing press conference and the prediction of multiple championships are as impossible to defend as he is on the basketball court – so I won’t even try. Confidence is cool, even a little cockiness can be endearing at times, but nobody like arrogance. LeBron bought into his own hype a little too much, and I’ve learned how nasty the public’s perception can be when that happens.
#3 Own your mistakes: It took a while, but LeBron did recognize if he could do “The Decision” over again he would have. The LeBron haters say, “It took him over a year to apologize! He only felt bad when people starting crushing him all over the media.” Right. Here’s how I would respond to that: Do you remember all of the stupid shit you did when you were in your mid-20′s? How quick were you to apologize for all of it? Just because the guy is a household name doesn’t mean that he’s immune to the same judgment errors we had to deal with growing up. Young people are hard-headed, and sometimes they have to learn the hard way. I highly doubt he’ll ever make a mistake of this magnitude again, but if he does I’m sure he will own it much quicker. His experience showed me how bad it looks when people don’t admit when they’re wrong (especially when they’re clearly wrong).
#4 Surround yourself with the right people: Going back to “The Decision,” LeBron was surrounded by sycophants who sold him on the idea that a 60-minute press conference on national TV to shit on the city that supported and loved him since he was in middle school was a good idea. I’ve always been a firm believer that the quality of your life is directly correlated to the quality of the company you keep, and LeBron’s “decision” reminds me of that every day.
#5 It takes years to build your reputation, but it takes a moment to ruin it: I think of another transcendent athlete who shares LeBron’s December 28th birthday: Tiger Woods. Both of these guys could go down in the history books as the best to ever compete in their respective sports, and they each had one incident that changed everything. For LeBron, it was “The Decision” – for Tiger, it was his ex-wife Elin allegedly taking a golf club to his SUV and to his face. Both were on top of the list of most beloved athletes in the world prior to their unfortunate events and now they’re villains of the highest order. Here’s the difference between the two: I honestly believe that LeBron is a guy with a good heart who made a couple of bad “decisions.” He’s never gotten in trouble with the law, he’s dated the same woman since high school, he is active in the community, and his teammates, peers, and coaches absolutely love him. Tiger, on the other hand, (allegedly) cheated on his wife with porn stars, strippers, and other assorted skanks while she was pregnant, he fired his longtime friend/caddy without any notice, and very few of his peers like or respect him anymore. But Mommy Doin’ Work openly rooted for Tiger during the U.S. Open and vehemently rooted against LeBron during the NBA Finals. And that makes sense, how exactly? In any case, LeBron taught me that some people will sit around just waiting for you to screw up – and they will never forgive you once it happens.
#6 Speak properly: The next time you listen to a LeBron James interview, have a drinking game with your buddies where you take a shot of liquor every time he says “we was” in a sentence (for example, “we was ready to play tonight,” or “we was hungry to bring the championship to Miami”). You’ll be face down in a puddle of your own piss and vomit within 15 minutes, trust me. So, LeBron has taught me not to speak like an idiot. Actually, I was taught that in 3rd Grade. Moving right along…
#7 Handle the Haters: It doesn’t matter if you’re a blogger or a baller, if you’re good at what you do – “haters gonna hate.” I’ve been a sports fan all of my life and I don’t think I’ve seen someone endure the amount of hatred LeBron has endured. Hell, I live under the same roof with the president of his hate club, so I get to hear it firsthand. Through it all, he’s shown an uncanny ability to filter all of the noise out and focus on the task at hand – which was winning a NBA Championship. Now the haters will have to find something else to criticize (and they always will).
#8 Believe in yourself: True greatness is believing in your abilities when everyone (including alleged “experts”) tells you that you’re not smart enough, not tough enough, not experienced enough, or not good enough to succeed in a certain field. I’ve heard that so many times as a new blogger that I can’t begin to count them – but LeBron has demonstrated an unflappable self-confidence that helped him to deliver one of the best individual performances in NBA playoff history while winning his first championship in the process. I truly admire that, and he’s the gold standard of mental toughness in my book.
So in closing, I would like to thank LeBron for teaching me some life lessons that will make me a better parent and person. I shared my list with Mommy Doin’ Work to see if that would sway her opinion and she responded with, “Get the hell out of here with that bullshit.”
She’ll come around eventually.