June 13, 2011

LeBron And Wade: A Double Standard

     I understand ESPN has never been a fortress of journalistic integrity, but they've reached a new low with the way they're bashing LeBron James while putting Dwyane Wade on a pedestal.  And it's annoying me so much that I'm going to go right to the examples because I can't come up with a better sentence to put here.

     By now you've probably seen or heard about the video of Wade and James mocking Dirk Nowitzki's Game 4 sinus infection.  The criticism has been strong and unending.  Today I heard some random ESPN guy say that LeBron needs to "just shut up" and "maybe he'd be funnier if he could score in the 4th quarter".  First of all, I don't know how the ability to put a ball through a net makes someone better at insults.  Secondly, why is no one emphasizing the fact that Wade started it?  He's the one that turned a random cough into a "Look at me, I'm sick" joke.  LeBron just went along with it because he and Dwyane are friends.  If he had told Wade to knock it off, everyone would be talking about chemistry issues between the two.
     It's not just the cough video.  LeBron has a reputation for being immature, though the only thing I can think of that he did this year is the often-cited preseason celebration, where he promised Heat fans "not five, not six, not seven" championships.  What else was he supposed to say?  "Well, hopefully we win the title this year, but if we don't we still have a few more years together to possibly win one"?  Of course you tell your fans you're going to get them a bunch of titles for them!
     Meanwhile, we seem to have forgotten a couple of gems from Wade, namely the Heat losing/World Trade Center comparison from before the season and the downright whiny "This is what everyone wants" when the Heat were losing a lot mid-season.  (Both of which are valid in my book, but the media usually hates that kind of thing.)  If anyone on the Heat is immature, it's Dwyane Wade.

     One of the staples of LeBron criticism is his lack of crunch-time fortitude.  Look at this year's Finals:  James only scored 11 points in the first five 4th quarters.  But in the Conference Finals it was LeBron who took over late in the game while Wade struggled.  If this was any other team, the two would be lauded as good teammates who are willing to defer to the hot hand.  When LeBron is involved, though, all of his great moments are forgotten and Wade is said to be carrying the team.

     Could this be the reason Dwyane Wade gets a free pass on everything?  Because he got a ring in one of the least respected NBA Finals ever?  Even if the Heat win a championship in the next few years, somehow it won't count for James because he asked for Wade's help.  Why wasn't Wade criticized for recruiting James and Bosh to come play with him?  If Wade wants to be one of the best ever, then he should be trying to win by himself, right?  Speaking of that, why does LeBron always get compared to Michael Jordan when Wade is one ring closer?  It is because LeBron is better and Wade has no shot at becoming that legendary?  Then why is Wade considered the star of the Heat?
     None of this makes any sense to me.

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