This is probably never going to stop. I’ve written this before, and I’ll say it once more, LeBron James never had a chance with the media. He had so much hype coming out of high school, that most people thought he could never live up to it. Instead, not only has LeBron lived up to it, he has so far exceeded it that he’s left little doubt to most as to who the best player in the game is. And all along the way he’s more or less done the right things and said the right things. He’s so conscious of his image that he’s almost overly cautious to say something that could be interpreted the wrong way. Because of all this, people have to invent drama and feign indignance in order to be critical of him to better serve their agenda.
If you don’t know who Tim Povtak is, he’s an NBA writer for FanHouse. Prior to joining FanHouse, he spent almost 30 years at the Orlando Sentinel. Evidently during that time he and Mike Bianchi spent some time rubbing off on each other. After writing an article last week titled “[Dwight] Howard Won’t Sit Like Kobe and LeBron”, he decided to follow that up with a completely irrational argument today. Povtak is saying that LeBron owes fans a “refund” for not playing against the Magic yesterday.
Ok, haha, sure, that’s funny enough as it is, but Povtak takes it even further, writing:
James, with the blessing of Coach Mike Brown, sat out his third consecutive game Sunday, not because he was hurt, but because he wanted to rest up for the playoffs.
Joe Hardhat, who paid a day’s wage three months ago to buy two good seats so his son could see his first Cavs game Sunday, deserves better treatment than this.
It’s arrogance at the NBA‘s worst.
It’s why James never will earn the respect that was once given to Michael Jordan. Maybe James should think again about that number change to honor him.
It’s why he just lost my vote for NBA Most Valuable Player. If he doesn’t think it’s important enough to play all 82 — or at least try — then he isn’t good enough to be the MVP.
You have to feel bad for people like Tim Povtak. When you so desperately need an excuse for justifying your vote for Dwight Howard for MVP that you have to start to nitpick and act self-righteous for something you think is the good of the game.
Can you imagine what the media would be saying about Mike Brown had he played LeBron yesterday and he would have rolled an ankle, or taken an elbow to the face like Chris Bosh did last week? He would be crucified. But instead, Povtak plays the 2010 Card on the situation,
If the Cavs weren’t so nervous about James bolting town in free agency this summer, maybe they would have reminded him. Instead Brown has treated the end of the regular season like exhibition games. He should know better.
So, I guess Mike Brown is worried about Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison, and Mo Williams leaving as well, huh? Please. By being so good all year long that the Cavaliers wrapped up the league’s best record with more than a week left in the season, the Cavaliers earned the right to prepare themselves for the postseason in the best way they see fit for themselves.
The Cavaliers don’t owe anything to Tim Povtak, to me, to the history of the game, to the fans, to anyone. Povtak thinks LeBron should play the first half of these games, and then sit. Just so the record book can have a hollow statistic that says 82 Games Played next to LeBron’s name? Who cares? All that is doing is putting on a magic show. The Cavaliers don’t care about such pretense, and neither does LeBron. I doubt he’s losing much sleep over losing Povtak’s MVP vote, too. All it does is make Povtak look like a curmudgeonly old fool.
We can debate all day whether all this rest is the right thing to do or not. It’s fair to question rest vs rust. I’d be lying if a part of me wasn’t hoping LeBron would play yesterday so he could either send a message to the Magic before the playoffs started or else learn a lesson on where the Cavs stand. But we don’t need national media members demanding refunds in our names. I promise you if you did a poll of Cavs fans if they’d rather see LeBron rest or see him risk injury and play in a meaningless game, they would pick option A.
The best part of this whole thing is that because Povtak couldn’t actually find a Cavs fan who was upset over LeBron not playing, he made up a stereotypical figure, “Joe Hardhat”. I think Joe Hardhat was at the game with Billy Bluecollar, Stanley Steelworker, Connie Constructionman, and Fabian Factoryworker. They all had to walk 8 miles barefoot in the snow just to get to the game, too, I bet.
Look, we all know Cleveland is a working man’s town. People from Cleveland wear their hard work as a badge of pride on their sleeves, as well they should. But that doesn’t make them idiots. Cleveland sports fans are passionate and generally knowledgeable sports fans. We all want the same thing, and that’s to see the Championship Drought lifted. And if it takes us having to go to a Cavs game only to see LeBron rest, then so be it. We want what’s best for the team and for the city, not what’s best for ourselves.
I am so sick of every little thing being a made up issue. In all of our discussions prior to this about whether LeBron should be resting or not, our conversations always revolved around strategy and what was best for the team in the long run. Not once did I hear anyone in Cleveland says that he somehow owed it to the fans to play just because they paid for a ticket. This was never an issue until a bitter writer with a massive platform at FanHouse made it into one. Povtak can keep his MVP vote, LeBron doesn’t need it. He’s got more than enough to go around.
Photo Credit: Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)