A while back, we wrote a brief bit on LeBron James, asking when the backlash would start. Maybe it's about now.
Michael Kruse usually writes with a strange combination of boyish enthusiasm and world-weariness, but he comes across as being pretty disgusted with a kid who has taken to calling himself "King James," and who seems to enjoy jerking people around. If this is the great LeBron, can we please have Michael back? Or even Isiah?
Kruse correctly points out that the system is designed to produce results, but (cranky old-timer warning - there's an in-our-day speech coming) in our day, athletes had to earn their arrogance. Muhammad Ali was a guy who talked a lot before he won much, but he backed everything up. Charles Barkley talked a lot - and still does - but it's generally entertaining, and when he's not throwing people through windows, good-natured. Bird, Jordan, and Johnson all talked a lot of smack, but generally speaking, they talked after they had done something.
No high schooler, no matter how great he is, has done anything yet. From all accounts, James is a one-in-a-million athletic talent, but it doesn't take long to start remembering how many of those screwed up, and it usually came down to hubris or ego. Raymond Lewis. Marvin Barnes. The Helicopter. Connie Hawkins. Phil Ford. David Thompson. John Lucas and Jennifer Capriati are two of the few who managed to recover from self-inflicted disasters.
At the very least, his handlers should sit him down and tell him he's going to lose millions in endorsements if his arrogance isn't somewhat tempered.
On the other hand, here's a more typical article about the rising star.