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King James no hero/Paul Peterson

June 15, 2011
By Paul Peterson - For the Gazette , The Daily Mining Gazette

If anything was proven by LeBron James in the recent NBA Finals, it was that he couldn't even begin to carry Michael Jordan's jockstrap.

In the end, he couldn't even carry Dirk Nowitzki's supporter.

The self-annointed savior of the professional game proved by his classless behavior during - and after - the series against the Dallas Mavericks that he has much to learn about being a true role model.

Once considered the darling of the masses after he left high school to join the pros, James has dropped faster in the opinion polls than Richard Nixon did after the Watergate scandal. Or Milli Vanilli after they were found to be lip-syncing their music.

King James' downfall began after his much-promoted (and ESPN deserves severe criticism for its participation) decision to join the Miami Heat last summer. James dissed his loyal fans in Cleveland by proclaiming on national TV that he was "taking his talents to South Beach."

He was joined on stage in Miami by fellow free agent Chris Bosh and already present Heat superstar Dwyane Wade in a shameless display of self-promotion. Promises of numerous Miami championships were made on that forgettable evening.

Now, the Heat have nothing to show except a second-place showing against a Dallas team that displayed the kind of grit and determination a true champion must possess.

Nowitzki and Dallas veteran guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd showed what hard work and carrying out the basics can accomplish.

I believe that sports fans in this country went through a period where they were taken in by glitz and glitter of some players.

By that, I mean many came to believe that fancy dunks in basketball and showboating touchdown celebrations in football were acceptable. In short, hot-dogging was in vogue.

The electronic media was equally seduced by it all, flooding its air time with excessive coverage of all the antics.

But the worm began to turn ... ever so slowly ... when it came out a few years ago that some of our greatest heroes were using illegal drugs to boost their performances on the field.

Baseball heroes like Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and Roger Clemens were implicated in the steroid scandal. Even Mark McGwire, who seemed like a rare humble hero, was caught.

All of the above players are going to have a hard time making it into the Hall of Fame because of their indiscretions.

A poll taken on the day of the final game of the NBA Finals showed that fans in something like 46 states wanted the Mavericks to win the title. Not because they liked Dallas that much, but because they disliked King James and his antics.

And the best headline the day after the finals came in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It simply read: "Mavs take their talents to South Beach."



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