Why Hating Michael Made Me Love LeBron
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As the NBA Finals draw to a conclusion, LeBron James continues to be a walking triple-double with a mash unit that could have problems beating a pick up squad from 4th and Lombard. The Nike ad campaign reminds us, “We are all witnesses,” and that is not false advertising. Now everyone has a visceral hot take on who is better, Michael or LeBron? I am not here to argue for LeBron (because I would and you would have to agree with my rationale), but rather show a glimpse into the psyche of a kid raised on all four Philly sports teams and his misguided hate towards Michael Jordan lead to an allegiance to LeBron James.
Growing up in South Jersey as a Sixers fan and massive Charles Barkley fan (I still have the starter jacket to prove it), year after year I watched Michael Jordan and the Bulls eliminate the Sixers from the playoffs and put a damper on my summer. I couldn’t understand on how my friends could cheer for a person who kept beating our team, from our city, and send Barkley to the golf course. I rallied around Sir Charles and would forge arguments on how Barkley was superior to Jordan (which I actually believed at the time) and would point out that Jordan was constantly traveling and getting preferential treatment from the referees. My hatred towards Jordan escalated as my allegiance to the Round Mound followed him out west to the desert and was solidified in the 1993 Finals, Suns vs Bulls. Bulls in six – MJ Finals MVP, but I still believed Barkley was better and my hatred of Jordan blinded me to the greatness that he was displaying. Only after he was a Wizard did I understand how amazing a player Jordan really was. I won’t romanticize him like many tend to do, but he truly was a once in a generation athlete and that is what we are witnessing in LeBron James.
LeBron will go on to set more records, win more championships, and add to his legend and I for one will be pulling for greatness as I get a second chance to be a witness.