In an appearance on Wednesday night's edition of "Primetime" on CNN, LeBron James replied that he thought race was a factor in the backlash to his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency for the Miami Heat.
"I think so, at times," he told CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien. "It's always, you know, a race factor."
A recent release of Q Scores, a polling system that measures popularity, appeared to support the notion.
Among non-blacks, James' negative Q rating went from 24 percent to 44 after his free-agency announcement. However, among blacks, his negative Q Score slipped just from 14 percent to 15 percent.
This, kids, is a lesson in life. When you don't venture outside of you inner circle… when you surround yourself with yes-men and lackeys who do nothing but tell you you're the best… you say stupid things like this.
Because if LeBron had someone, anyone, in his camp that could look at him and just tell him the truth… and IF LeBron could, pardon the line, handle the truth… then he'd realize WHY he's being criticized.
A true friend… or at least an objective advisor… could tell LeBron that his leaving Cleveland isn't the bulk of the criticism of him. As Doc Rivers put it yesterday, the guy spent 7 years in a city and it just didn't work out. It happens in sports and in life. How many people get divorced in that amount of time? And while we would all like to see the fairytale of the hometown kid staying with his local team forever and helping them win a title… he's not obligated to do that. And that's fine. He earned the right to be a free agent, and he exercised it.
But what LeBron, and the NBA's version of Farnsworth Bentley, Maverick Carter, STILL fail to recognize is the public spectacle equated to not only ripping that sports fairytale to shreds, but it spit in the faces of all those fans who publicly begged him to stay. They set up a scenario where people begged for something, and he publicly embarrassed them for it.
And somehow LeBron and his team don't quite get why people are pissed? It's the exact same formula Vince McMahon used to create one of the greatest wrestling villains of all time.
Oh… what's that? You desperately want something? Here, let me drag you up on stage… get your hopes up real high in front of all these people… and then not give it to you. Now, get out of my sight.
So here's the message to LeBron and Maverick Carter: People aren't pissed off at you because of your race. People are pissed off at you because you're the NBA's version of Ted DiBiase now. And when you go on TV and even intimate in passing that race might have played a role in what happened… you look even worse… because you're blaming the people who are pissed for being that way.
Suck it up you idiots and admit that you blew the whole thing. Don't tell us you raised $3 million for the Boys and Girls clubs because you can probably raise more than that in your sleep by doing a couple of offseason charity events. Tell the world that you got swept up in the hysteria of it all, you went way overboard and that it was the wrong thing to do, and now all you care about is playing basketball.
Every time you guys open your mouths, you look worse. Stop blaming everyone but yourselves. Pay attention to what's happening out there.
Of course, LeBron will never do that. He's too insecure to do it. He needs to be surrounded by people who will tell him how great he is and how he's never wrong. It's a shame.