Why LeBron’s Ego Deserves a Pass

by June 22, 2009

LeBron James

by Ryne Nelson

Reporters couldn’t find LeBron after Game 6 in Orlando, but paparazzi had no trouble finding LeBron James in the Mediterranean last week. Now don’t get crazy. Don’t jump straight to the comments to banter about how LeBron is feeling himself too much.

LeBron is not humble. But let’s break the hate down to see where it’s coming from: He wears the two-three and a “Chosen 1” tat. He’s turned chalk into Nike ad campaigns. He speaks in third person. He wasn’t there for his team when it mattered most.

Is all this really a problem? And are LeBron’s laconic reminders, like this “Check my $tats” tee, going too far? Some may see it as blatant egocentrism—”LeBron James Ego Tour Rolls On” as TMZ headlined it—but it’s just part of being a competitor. Sports build arrogance, and when your life is centered around winning and losing, ego is bred and spread. Every great player in history has been full of himself, and it’s lunacy to believe Hall of Fame players come without ego.

Remember this iconic Wilt image? Who doesn’t. How about this book about Michael Jordan’s selfishness and arrogance? Kobe Bryant, possibly the most appreciated basketball player at the moment, was hated for his arrogance from the moment he held a press conference to announce he was going to the L out of high school.

And let’s just say it wasn’t Derek Fisher who was the only one wearing a different tee at the Lakers’ championship parade.

Hating a player’s ego is wack. People always want it both ways. People hate Duncan because he’s too humble. How is KG’s ego all of a sudden too much when he’s been the same player his entire career?

The facts are plain. LeBron is arrogant like all superstar athletes. He doesn’t have a ring yet. But he is the best bball player in the world, and his stats and awards all back him up. No hooper has achieved the individual success LeBron has by age 24.

Of course, you can check some of LeBron’s other “$tats” as well. And $40 million this past year isn’t looking too bad.