LeBron James is Hollywood. A prima donna. Style without the substance. A glory hog. Thin-skinned. Or so the detractors have said through the years. And some will never change their mind even if confronted with mountains of new evidence. But some may be willing to consider a new narrative gaining validity.
James is, in more than a few ways, the avatar of the working man. The aggrieved working man. Think about it.
He reports for duty every day. He works harder than everyone else. He accomplishes his assigned tasks on time and with care. Then he goes above and beyond. This is how a vast majority of cubicle warriors and blue-collar laborers also see themselves.
And most importantly, he must deal with the relative incompetence and poor performance of his co-workers. They slack on the job. They drop the ball. They foul up the most basic of responsibility.
Oh, and the boss is a clown.
For James, that manifests itself in the form of historic mental breakdowns (J.R. Smith), an unwillingness to share the load (Jordan Clarkson, Jeff Green), and shoddy management (Ty Lue). LeBron does sexier work than most of us, but it’s work all the same.
Yes, he’s handsomely compensated but that’s not the point. You try dealing with what he deals with. If that’s not enough, his reward for doing more than anyone else is to be constantly criticized and critiqued. Nothing is ever enough for the shareholders.
Most opinion on James is baked in at this point. That said, I’m a bit surprised he is not more popular with the older generations who have increasingly moved toward the cult of victimhood. It seems all of the traits James shares with Millennials are used as a springboard in the LBJ-MJ culture war while the others are ignored.
Look, I understand I’m making some generalizations here. And I don’t want to ruffle any feathers from my elders. The reality, however, is that the most telling factor in the James-or-Jordan question is the age of the fan. It’s a bit surprising, perhaps only to me, that there hasn’t been a bigger swing in LeBron’s direction due to perceived commonality.
Guess there’s still time with plenty of relatable aggravation ahead.