Lebron James is too much of a "competitor" to shake hands with any guy who beats him. So, rather than hang around with those other less than competitive players on the Cavs and that other team, the one that beat him in the Eastern Conference Finals, he decided to act like a sore sport and walk off the court with nary a word of congratulations to anyone.
That was bad enough, but then on Sunday, when he had the chance for a mea culpa, he instead spewed some cheesy dribble about how it's not "natural" for such serious competitors as himself to do such things. It's not that he is a poor sport or anything but he doesn't feel he's obliged to offer congratulations to his opponents.
That sort of thing is for those superstars that aren't quite as super and a lesser level of "competitor" than King James. Guys like Bird and Russell or Magic and Wilt and MJ and Kobe and Duncan, etc... etc...
ordinary people who just play basketball for a living. Guys who can't play with the same passion and intensity and superior ability of a one-of-a-kind star like King James. Unlike those losers, James is a natural born winner and losing just doesn't sit well with him. Shaking hands with the team that just kicked your arse all over the court is for well... guys who are used to losing.
He might have won a lot of basketball games as a player but James has lot to learn about what it takes to be a real winner as a man. A lot of it has to do with how he handles those times when he is the loser. He lost a lot more than the series when the Magic defeated him and the Cavs... he lost a whole lot of respect from folks like me.
Don't get me wrong.. when he lost that series I know it must have hurt bad. I can understand his storming off the court angry and humbled and not wishing to talk at the moment. But he could have made up for that by acting like a man and apologizing for his less than gracious exit. Instead he offered up some self-serving pap about it being beneath him to do such offensive things like shake the hand of the victors.
It was a stupid and ill-considered attempt to
introduce some new concept in the realm of basketball that none of us
who love the sport ever understood or concieved before LBJ came
along to explain it to us. It's something new in sports life that we just never knew existed... sort of like the "crab dribble". A concept about sportsmanship that only LBJ
understands.. not those of us too ingnorant to know what a "poor sport"
James might think he's a "competitor" but not in my book. True competitors don't act like petulent children in the face of defeat like that. They appreciate the fact that the other teams have competitors as well. When they lose it's natural for them to shake hands and offer congratulations.
Lebron might think he's a competitor... But it's pretty clear he has no idea what the word means.
Because for all his incredible awesomeness, he wasn't much competition for the Magic on the court. And when it comes to acting like a good sport off the court... he just can't compete there either.