The picture above is important. This moment is from the time period where my dislike for LeBron James turned into hate. But let’s start at the beginning of the dislike, and build up to these 2017 NBA Finals and how they can change how I feel about Bron Bron forever.

The Early Days

I’ve disliked LeBron for almost 10 years now. I was raised a Lakers fan by my late father who chose to like the Lakers during the 80s. It was a great time to love the Lakers for him and coincidentally I was born at another amazing time to love the Lakers, watching Shaq and Kobe 3-peat in 2000-2002 and Kobe win rings 4 and 5 in 2009/2010. Once LeBron burst onto the scene in 2003, the media and NBA fans slowly turned it into Kobe vs. LeBron, saying LeBron was quickly rising and would overthrow Kobe as the undisputed best player in the league. This INFURIATED me. How’s this dude just going to come in the league and almost immediately be deemed the best over Kobe who literally won 3 championships right away in his early twenties.

A funny story of this initial dislike for LeBron happened around 2008-2010, when LeBron came to my hometown of Bloomington, IL for an appearance at the State Farm headquarters since they were his biggest endorser at the time. My little brother, Mike, who was about 10 years old at the time, didn’t like LeBron just as much as me and my dad. My mom worked at State Farm and pulled some strings to allow both of us to go to the event, and as LeBron was leaving my brother ran up to him and said “Hey LeBron!”, got his attention, then said “Go Lakers!”. The crowd laughed and LeBron just shook his head and laughed. The McHenrys got to give LeBron a little shit and I actually don’t think my dad was ever more proud of my little brother than when he heard about it.

Feeling the Hate

I always disliked LeBron a little but Kobe was still winning championships around that time and LeBron and his shitty Cavs at the time were having trouble even getting to the Finals let alone winning one. I didn’t really have much reason to hate the guy. But then it happened. The Decision.

The dude had a goddamn televised special about his FREE AGENCY DECISION. And of course he made himself look like a super nice guy by raising a bunch of money for charity through it but that was all just to mask the fact that he was doing the most despicable publicized move in NBA history. 2 years later after he abandoned his hometown and sold his soul to the devil, he wins his first championship with the Heat which led to the featured image above. Somewhere between The Decision and his first championship, it happened. I had began to HATE LeBron James.

Ever since then he has just become unbearable to me, mostly through his attempts to be Cool LeBron. Cool LeBron is a term coined by the boys at Barstool Sports and it’s a perfect term for LeBron’s constant attempts to make himself look cool and nice in the public while actually being an asshole dweeb. His teammates are always talking about how he’s such a goofball and the biggest jokester they’ve ever played with. Reminds me a whole lot of Shaquille O’Neal, but would Shaq ever say something as lame and dramatic as “I’m chasing a ghost. The ghost played in Chicago.” No he wouldn’t. And LeBron was real cool sipping that beer courtside in the game against the Raptors. But he wasn’t cool with Great Lakes, the company that made the beer he grabbed, using the image as an advertisement because of their past beer that was released when he left Cleveland, called Quitness. Apparently someone wasn’t a big ole’ jokester and goofball when that happened. Another instance of LeBron just being the lamest guy ever is him not being cool with Draymond Green calling him a “bitch” because he’s “a family man”. Like…what? As Draymond said to LeBron in response to his family man comment…”you’re still a bitch.” You can’t be Cool Guy LeBron and at the same time can’t handle minor NBA trash talk like the word “bitch”. Sure I’m being a little dramatic but the guy is just so lame to me.

Current Situation

I obviously didn’t write this blog just to hate on LeBron (even though I could write one of those everyday). I’m feeling something going on in my heart. I definitely still hate him at this current moment, there’s no doubt about that. All I need to do is think about everything I said above, paired with things like his flopping and his annoying fan base, and because of these things I might always hate him. But between last year’s playoffs and this year’s playoffs, I’m actually starting to respect him.

Now I’m not saying I never respected him before. I’ve known since he won his first championship in 2012 that he’s the best basketball player alive, hell, he was probably the best player way before that. But what I mean is that my respect for him might soon outweigh my hate for him, and that’s a weird thing for me to think about.

These NBA Finals

So here we are. You can talk about different story lines like KD getting his first ring, Steph and the other Warriors trying to get revenge, or even Kyrie further cementing his status as one of the best point guards of recent memory. But these Finals are really about one thing…LeBron. He wins and he has his 4th ring at the age of 32, while Michael Jordan won his 4th ring at the age of 33. LeBron has already passed MJ or is on pace to pass him in every statistical category (just recently passed him in playoff points). So with a 4th ring this year, can LeBron win two more or even three more to pass MJ in rings by the end of his career? If I had to bet on it, I’d say yes. And would he even be considered the greatest of all-time with only 5 rings? I’d say that would be fair.

But MJ comparisons aside, can you imagine how important and impressive it would be for LeBron to beat these Warriors? This is a completely healthy super team that added a 7-foot, top 5 NBA player in Kevin Durant primarily to BEAT LEBRON. If LeBron beats them it’d be the biggest “fuck you” to the Warriors and the rest of the NBA EVER. But, LeBron could lose and that would bring his Finals record down to 3-5. It would also force him to go back to the drawing board since these Warriors are definitely sticking together.

So with everything being said, me and my boy Bron Bron’s relationship is in a weird place, a sort of “crossroads”, if you will. I’m a huge hater, I know this and I’m not afraid to admit it. At the same time I’m a huge fan of the game of basketball. I love it. You can only hate a goddamn basketball beast of a human for so long with him crushing your soul every chance he can get. Eventually, you just have to appreciate the fact that you’re watching (POSSIBLY) the greatest basketball player of all-time. With that being said, I’m not ready to call him the GOAT if he wins number 4. But if he does win number 4 over these next two weeks, then I will learn to admire and appreciate LeBron more. Who knows, someday I might even…can’t believe I’m saying this…LIKE him.

But if he loses…and I smell blood…well then I’ll basically be like Alex Jones from InfoWars in the clip below.