Finish the Job, LeBron: Go Heel
As an astute sports fan, I’m disheartened by the most recent round of LeBron James bashing/emasculation. No one is booed more heavily and lustily than Bron: an entire state celebrates his “failure.” Sure, there are a million reasons to rightfully hate him, but the sad thing is, the harder he tries, the more people loathe him. Well, here at the Deuce we don’t do problems, we do solutions. It’s time for the King to take a page out of the old WWE book and embrace the hate. It’s time for Bron to turn heel.
A million years ago, back when the WWE was still watchable, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a young wrestler with all the microphone skills in the world. He won matches soundly with a killer-look: his dagger-like sideburns inspired many a fraternity bro. Nonetheless, The Rock was still overshadowed by the brasher (and whiter) “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. No matter what ploy WWE writers came up with for the Great One, he still was hated and generally thought of as a gigantic, easily unnerved wuss (sound familiar?). Eventually, Vince McMahon got wise. He realized he had an uber-talented guy in his prime with unprecedented mike skills being wasted on an unsympathetic crowd. Thus, McMahon decided to make The Rock a “heel,” or a bad guy. Anytime Stone Cold needed a chair to the head, The Rock got the call. Anytime a weak crowd needed a jolt, The Rock came out and humiliated them. Instead of people hating The Rock, they found him hilarious, bold, brash, and utterly enjoyable to watch. They loved him so much as the bad guy the WWE had no choice but to eventually turn him back as a “good guy.”
LeBron needs to realize he is “The Rock” to Dwayne Wade’s “Stone Cold.” Notice how the day after perhaps one of the biggest disappointments in his career, Wade’s been left utterly blameless by the same critics who are CRUSHING LeBron? A dominating force who will undoubtedly go down in NBA history as one of the greatest players of all-time, Bron-Bron’s career is overshadowed (and invariably affected) by the negative press he receives. If I’m Bron’s agent (and dammit I should be), I give LeBron the Ben Affleck speech from “Boiler Room.” He needs to walk around South Beach like he’s packing heat in his pants. He needs to hit on Hannah Storm, tell the fans from Boston they are lousy drunks, publicly ask Big Baby Davis the last time he saw Little Baby, then spit in the face of any fan that dares question his testicular fortitude. LeBron should preen like a pompous ass when he racks up triple doubles and act like an even bigger one when he doesn’t. He should refer to opponents with derogatory nicknames like “She-Mac,” the “Velvet Poop,” and “DeShawn Stevenson.”
Anytime a reporter calls him out, Bron should confront them in the locker room, question their sexuality then stuff their mouths with Big Z’s unwashed tube socks. Instead of throwing chalk up in the air, he needs to throw chalk at fans. Especially when he’s in Cleveland.
Next fall, LeBron and the Heat are opening up their season against a rejuvenated Bulls team in Chicago. First quarter, LeBron gets tangled up under the basket with Joakim Noah. Noah gets chesty, the refs call jump ball, and during the ensuing break in action, Bron stares down Noah, subsequently delivering a forearm shiver followed up by an epic “People’s Elbow.” Stu Jackson probably doesn’t have the cajones to suspend him for longer than 20 games, which still leaves him enough time to come back and get in shape for the playoffs. It also lets the world know “Le-Rock” is no longer some dude you can mess with: push him around and he might tweak. What does he care? That $115 mil is guaranteed, baby!
Of course, in a team sport, “Le-Rock” would have to respect his teammates — The Rock only belittled lesser opponents and was usually respectful to the big timers he wasn’t feuding with. Similarly, guys like Wade and Chris Bosh are off-limits, but if Mario Chalmers starts taking too many shots, Le-Rock should call him out. If an argument ensues, then Chalmers deserves the Big Z treatment. The fact that former teammates dare say a negative word about him (cough, Mo Williams, cough) ought to guarantee a press conference littered with derogatory terms, Le-Rock bottoms, and ultimately end in a fracas (with whomever).
Beyond the hilarity that would ensue from James actually doing this, I think it would work. For a guy who has hit rock bottom (no pun intended), his openness and sensitivity makes him appear more vulnerable and more human. The more human and realistic we make our sports stars, the more we want to tear them down. Our society is one built to love the irrepressible asshat. Like the girlfriend who never learns her lesson, or the father who continually forgives his delinquent son, we love that guy- he’s the SOB we always wanted to be. He may never be as popular or beloved as Michael Jordan, but I think Le-Rock the pompous ass could come pretty damn close.
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