What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Do yourself a huge favor; just stop talking. Everytime you open your mouth, you say something that needs later “clarification.” Just stop talking until you learn how to talk to the media without shooting yourself in the foot.
Sports fans love to make comparisons, and right now they love to compare you to Michael Jordan. They want you to “Be Like Mike;” there’s a host of reasons why that is not a good comparison. In many ways, the “Mike” you are most like is Mike Tyson.
Stop and think about it.
Just shy of a year ago, you made your “Decision.” Since then, your public persona has swirled down the drain. In that year, you went from a loved and respected sports figure to one that has his character questioned and is now arguably the most hated figure in all of sports. In other words, it is clear you have no idea how you are perceived by others.
You obviously care about your image. You admitted “The Decision” special was an ill-conceived idea, but only after you blamed racism as the cause for the hate-laced response from your former fans in Cleveland. You don’t want to be hated and you don’t understand why you are hated largely because you have absolutely no self-awareness.
Unlike Mike Tyson, I don’t think you are the sort of guy who is going to end up in prison, nor do I think you will encounter the same type of problems that befell him. But you both have factors in common that caused you to take a precipitous fall in the public relations arena.
You both were on the tops of your respective sporting world until one lynch-pin event changed the entire dynamic. With Tyson, it was Buster Douglas; and with you it was “The Decision.”
The reason why I’m saying this is it is clear to most of us people who have “our same lives with the same problems” clearly see you don’t understand the impact “The Decision” had. See, many of us aren’t as dumb as you believe we may be. Like any other rich person, we know you have a cast of cronies and sycophants who largely dictate your off-the-court actions. You are deluding yourself if you believe we can’t see that.
While Tyson had a similar cast of characters telling him there was no reason he needed to take Buster Douglas seriously, he did so at his own peril. If you don’t fix the problem “The Decision” created, you run the risk of suffering the same decline.
After the Douglas fight, Tyson was never the same. While he did regain the heavyweight belt in 1996, it was after that night in Tokyo when Tyson’s legal problems began, when his financial problem began, and let’s not forget about the “Ear Incident.”
Forget about “The Decision” for a minute.
Even more seriously than “The Decision” is the fact that twice now you’ve been called a “quitter.” Nothing will destroy your reputation faster than getting tagged as a guy who quits on his team. First there was Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals last year. Then there was what happened with CBS columnist Gregg Doyel during this year’s NBA Finals.
American sports fans hate two things – excessively dirty cheaters and quitters. Tyson spent a long time as a pariah after the “Ear” incident, and by letting the “quitter” tag get hung on you, the risk exists that you end up on the same level of derision. Last season, you let Bill Simmons accuse you of quitting against Boston, then you cried in the floor after beating the Celtics this year.
Worse yet, Doyel accused you of fading against the Mavericks. Granted, you didn’t let him get away with calling you out by asking you point blank if you were a choke-artist in big moments; you backed him down decisively. After that, I thought for sure you were going to single-handedly sodomize the entire Mavericks’ team and make their wives hold your headband while you did it.
You barely managed 8 points. By the cry-job and doing virtually nothing on the floor to disprove Doyel’s assertion, you are making these two guys look right because you’ve done nothing to prove him wrong.
You can’t be the greatest player in the game if you can’t stand up for yourself by taking your game to the next level when it matters. Forget about the fact you have to prove a couple of reporters wrong, you have to show a sporting fan public you are worthy of their granting you the “Greatest” label.
Make no mistake; those same people for whom you showed such disdain with that stupid comment you made after Game 6 are the ones who who make such determinations because they are the fans. Granted, you may have had a legitimate point, perhaps we all do need to go back to our own daily problems. Of course, we could all just do that by deciding not to buy the jerseys, hats, keychains, posters and tickets that pay your salary. Maybe we could just all decide that our everyday problems include not spending our collective dime to listen to you hide behind your big-ticket lifestyle as a reason why you seem to fold faster than Superman on laundry day when the heat is on (pun quasi-intended).
Let me guess, you meant the haters, right? For purposes of full disclosure, I will admit I’m one of them. I openly cheered against you all season long because I thought it was a complete slap in the face to sports fans everywhere the way you, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh raised yourself on a hoist, complete with pyrotechnic display into an arena of screaming fans, all of whom were decked out in their new Heat jerseys and willing to swallow your promises of a perpetual stream of NBA titles between now and the end of time.
But so far, all you’ve delivered on is a bunch excuses. Failing to deliver on such promises to a fan base eager to see your supposed dominance…well, you might as well have bitten off their collective ear.
If you want to fix this, you need to make a couple of distinct changes.As I mentioned before, they all revolve around how you deal with people.
First of all, stop being a crybaby when you lose. This is a country whose biggest movie icon ever is John Wayne…this is a country where “crybaby” plays about as well threatening to eat people’s children does.
Secondly, forget about what your “posse” tells you. Look in the mirror every morning and say to yourself “today, I’m going to do something to make people like me.” The best way to do that is to DO (not say, but DO) something which makes the aforementioned people “who need to go back to their lives” believe that you understand they are the ones who pay for your current lifestyle. Stop charging $500,000 for people to meet you at a South Beach birthday party and go build a “Habitat for Humanity” house. I don’t mean write a check for one…go pound some nails.
More importantly, play basketball like it is the most important thing in the world to you. America wants heroes who not only are the tops at what they do, but who give a damn about what they do. Play basketball in the same way John Wayne made movies…be the biggest badass imaginable, and back it up with the talent you have to get away with it.
The loss to Buster Douglas was when all of Tyson’s problems started. “The Decision” is your equivalent. You have the chance to use that lynch-pin moment as a learning opportunity or you can let it define you.