So the story in the absence of actual things to talk about was how LeBron James left the playoffs without saying the meaningless platitudes at the end. There's really only two reactions to have this.
1) What an awful spoiled rotten person he is. Boo! He should shake hands like the hockey players do at the end of everything, and the fact that he didn't means the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Hell in a handbasket!
This view is best shown by Michael Rosenberg at (where else for moralizing?) Fox Sports.
"It's hard for me to congratulate somebody after you just lose to them," he said.Oooh, playing the laid off card, Michael. Why not go all the way and say it's not as hard as starving to death in abject sub-Saharan poverty? Oh, right, because you're trying to fluff your mouth-breathing readers. Yawn.
I'm with you on that, LeBron. Absolutely, it is hard. Not as hard as, say, putting in 12-hour days at a manufacturing plant, and certainly not as hard as getting laid off from the aforementioned manufacturing plant, but it's hard.
2) Who on earth cares? I prefer my athlete to fight to the bitter end of life, the universe, and everything. His refusal to make the pleasantries means that he's just more real than all of these other phonies.
My reaction? Somewhere in the middle. It's not ideal to have the best player in the world look like a sorehead at the end of his playoffs. It's also not very important. As Charles Barkley said lo these twenty years ago, athletes are not (should not be) role models; when they are, that speaks to a long-term deadly failure on the part of the parents. Also, anyone that's idolizing James isn't doing it for his reaction at the end of a season.
Finally, there's this: people who really want to tear down James probably have other issues involved, most of them involving some need to tear down a guy. I don't get that. James isn't an NBA champion; that doesn't mean he isn't the best player in the world, or that the presence of a ring somehow speaks to some moral superiority on the part of the bearer.
In another two weeks, we're going to be calling either Lamar Odom or Rashard Lewis an NBA champion, as if they were an elite player without faults... when Odom is an erratic head case who is one positive marijuana test away from his career ending, and Lewis is an erratic (and wildly overpaid) head case who gives you nothing if his jumper isn't falling, and everything if it is. A ring on the finger doesn't change that for either of them.
Oh, and finally this: in another two days, not weeks, no one will give a damn about James being less than thrilled at the close of his playoff. And, well, a good rule of thumb to live your life is to try not to get bent out of shape by the stuff that isn't going to matter later. So, moving on...