Growing up, I was taught to not like Lebron. It was just an unspoken thing in my household, that we did not support or like Lebron James. I have tried sticking to that idea, that Lebron is a crybaby, not as good as he thinks he is, and anything else that I could find as a way to not support him. As time has gone on, and I started following the NBA by myself and not just through my dad's ideas, I have started to watch him more, and realize that some of those ideas I have had of him are false.
Lebron James is a Four-Time Champion
Lebron James started with the Cleveland Cavaliers, then went to the Miami Heat, back to Cleveland, and now to the Los Angeles Lakers. Throughout his career, he has been to the postseason 14 times, an all-star 16 times, and the finals 10 times. He also has four MVP awards, four Finals MVP awards, three All-Star MVPs, and rookie of the year (he has more awards, but these are the most important in my eyes). All of this alone tells me that Lebron James is a very solid player. Although he has strong teams helping him to get to this point, he is almost always the center of attention and everyone notices him first. He makes great plays and moves that help him to shine as a star, and the fact that he started playing so young, makes him stand out even more.
His Statement After Winning His Fourth Championship
On October 11th, 2020, Lebron James won his fourth title and his fourth Finals MVP award. This alone is something that stands out as amazing in my eyes. While giving his speech, Lebron said "I want my damn respect too." (exact quote is at 1:55) This part has stuck with me since I heard it, which I am sure is what Lebron was wanting to happen by saying this. So, my mind then keeps asking the question; does Lebron have that respect?
One Way to Look at the Demand
The first reason that he may have cried out for respect is because he did not win the regular-season MVP award after having another good season (25.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 10.2 APG). Which, I think is a little bit of a crybaby standpoint. I understand that he feels frustration and annoyance in not winning the award. But you have to look at the winner of the award, Giannis Antetokunmpo's season (29.5 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 5.6 APG), and understand that it was his time to win the award.
Another thing that I noticed when rewatching the video of Lebron getting his award was when commissioner Adam Silver said that there is going to be an award named after Lebron someday. That just alone tells everyone how much of an impact that Lebron has made on the game and how well known he is. Which tells us that he certainly does have respect.
Everyone knows the name "Lebron James", everyone knows that he is one of the best to ever play the game. Not winning one season MVP does not seem like a good reason to ask for his respect.
Another Way to Look at it
Now, one way that could be a more positive matter could be through the team. The Lakers organization has not won a championship since 2010, which is a ten-year gap between the two wins. People could have started to lose hope in the idea that the Lakers were a competing team. So, maybe Lebron was trying to tell people that the organization of the Los Angeles Lakers was back and that the program deserves all the respect that may come with the sport.
A Completely Different Take
Another way that may be a bit of a stretch, is Lebron demanding for the respect of black people in America. The entire second half of the season was based on the players making a stand and calling for action. It was a chance for them to use their platform to raise awareness and start the path of fixing America. Lebron may not have thought about that sort of take, but I think that it is one that could be looked at. Throughout the season, he would take his time with the media to discuss the necessities of giving all the black people respect and talked about the people who had lost their lives due to police officers. Now, he also did mention the organization needing their respect, so this idea is most likely not true. But in my ears, hearing Lebron cry out for his respect, could be taken in a way that he is demanding for the respect of all black people in America.
All in all, I think that Lebron has the respect of many people. Even people who may critique his game, are people who respect him in some way. Of course, everyone is going to have people who do not support or like him, but that is just how the world works. Lebron James is a name known world wide, he has done so many things that make him a great athlete and a great person as well. Although I do not think I could see myself saying I am his biggest fan, I have a lot more respect and admiration for him due to his game and his personality off the court.