Just Keep Digging that Hole, LeBron
Will LeBron James ever learn?
Miami Heat forward, LeBron James has once again made sports fans everywhere shake their heads in disappointment. As I’m sure ESPN has already informed you, LeBron James recently tweeted a comment regarding LA Clipper Blake Giffin’s dunk over Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins:
“Dunk of the Year! @blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!!! Wow! I guess I'm No. 2 now. Move over #6”
Being a huge Celtics fan, I admit to being slightly biased since I will forever admire Perkins for the role he played in the Celtics winning the 2008 NBA championship title. That being said, stepping outside my Celtics pride, I have to agree with Perkins’ reaction to LeBron’s tweet:
"You don't see Kobe (Bryant) tweeting. You don't see Michael Jordan tweeting. If you're an elite player, plays like that don't excite you. At the end of the day, the guys who are playing for the right reasons who are trying to win championships are not worrying about one play. They also are not tweeting about themselves talking about going down to No. 2. I just feel (James) is always looking for attention and he wants the world to like him."
Being that LeBron went from one of the most beloved athletes in sports to one of the most despised after declaring he’s taking his “talents to South Beach,” you would expect that he’s learned his lesson and try to appear humble in the public limelight. Unfortunately for LeBron, his reaction to Perkin’s comments proved otherwise:
“I would never apologize to anything like that when I’m connecting with my fans. Did I call him out? I mean, did you read the tweet? Did I call him out? I can see why he may have felt embarrassed. I don't think I was the only one to react to the unbelievable play by Blake and that's what it was all about…I’m an easy target… You could be watching cartoons with your kids and you don't like it, you say, 'Blame it on LeBron.' If you go to the grocery store and they don't have the milk that you like, you just say, 'It's LeBron's fault.'”
After listening to these comments over and over again, I could only come up with one conclusion: LeBron just doesn’t get it. Like any athlete, celebrity, politician or company in the public eye, anything you do or say in a public forum, such as Twitter, will be scrutinized. With LeBron, this is even truer due to his already negative reputation. That being said, my advice for LeBron would involve the popular saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Could he have congratulated Griffin on his dunk? Sure. Should he have called out another player while bragging about his own flashy dunk against the Bulls at the same time? Absolutely not.
This brings me to my next point, if LeBron wants to be respected as a professional, he has to act like one. He needs to be accountable for his actions and stop publically blaming others for his poor choices. LeBron made the decision to turn his back on his home-team on national television, and LeBron tweeted the negative comment. Now, LeBron is going to have to accept the consequences. Especially since no one likes hearing a multi-millionaire complain that he has a tough life and people are out to get him.
What Lebron really needs, other than a championship ring, is to take a PR 101 crash course. He needs to learn that it’s important for spokespeople to be thoughtful while speaking to the media, and in today’s social media centric world the same holds true for social networks. He should take pointers from fellow athletes such as Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce who uses his Twitter handle to promote The Truth Fund, an organization founded by Pierce that provides educational and life-enriching opportunities for under-served youth, or from his teammate, Dwayne Wade who uses his Twitter handle as a means to interact with fans by answering their questions or commenting on their tweets. Both athletes hold themselves accountable, don’t comment on how talented they are and never point fingers if something doesn’t go their way. They focus on wins and not how much attention they get – maybe this is why they’ve won a championship and LeBron hasn’t.
What do you think? Will LeBron James ever learn?