Blog Entry

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:58 pm
Posted by Royce Young

It's a new season for LeBron James. And thank heavens, because he doesn't want to do last year over again.

It started with "The Decision," a decision he now regrets. But it ended with him watching the Mavericks party on his home floor as he turned in what can only be described as a disappointing NBA Finals performance.

He's heard all the jokes, the slams, the rips over the past few months. A season lost to a lockout would've been bad for everyone, but especially for LeBron who would've had the bad taste of Game 6 in his mouth for a lot longer, something he called one of the "worst times of my life."

But last season, and everything that came with it, was a big learning experience for the self-appointed king. He's in a reflective spirit right now and looking back, he'd love to change a lot. One thing that definitely comes to mind is his embrace of the so-called "villain" role.

"It basically turned me into somebody I wasn't," LeBron said in an interview on SportsCenter. "You start to hear 'the villain,' now you have to be the villain, you know, and I started to buy into it. I started to play the game of basketball at a level, or at a mind state that I've never played at before ... meaning, angry. And that's mentally. That's not the way I play the game of basketball."

LeBron's not saying he didn't have fun last season, but the pressure of his decision and the spotlight on his team was a lot to handle. Even when he and his teammates tried to have fun, it didn't work. For instance, Dwyane Wade mocking Dirk Nowitzki's illness during The Finals was seen more as immature and stupid rather than light and fun.

In Cleveland, LeBron was notoriously carefree. His team was really good, so that helped, but there were the pre-game antics from his team posing for pretend pictures to handshake routines that went on for so long that they almost delayed games to dancing while the game was going on. In Cleveland, LeBron was home, he was himself. It was fun.

"I got to this point by playing this game a certain way, [I'm] getting back to loving the game and having fun with the game," LeBron said. "I play the game fun, joyful, and I let my game do all of the talking and I got away from that. That's what I lost last year. Going through my first seven years in the NBA I was always the liked one and to be on the other side -- they call it the dark side or the villain or whatever they call it -- it was definitely challenging for myself. It was a situation I had never been in before, and it took awhile, it took a long time to adjust to it."

LeBron's admitted before that "The Decision" was a bad call and that if he could do things over, he wouldn't have a one-hour special announcing his destination.

"The fact of having the whole TV special and people getting the opportunity to watch me make a decision on where I'm going to play; I would probably change that," he said. "Because I can see now if the shoe was on the other foot and I was a fan and I was very passionate about one player and he decided to leave, I would be upset too by the way that he handled it."

Self-awareness has often been the No. 1 thing that LeBron lacked last season in Miami. He never seemed to have understood why people were angry with his actions or why people all of a sudden were booing him. It never made sense to him, while it made perfect sense to everyone else. But it sounds like he's getting it now. It sounds like he's starting to see the world as something that doesn't revolve around LeBron. Which is how you start to rehabilitate your image. You've got to tear yourself down and build it back up.

For LeBron, the 2011-12 season is important for a lot of reasons. He wants that title desperately, but it also sounds like he wants to find himself again. Which in this case, might be all he should be looking for.
Category: NBA

Since: Sep 15, 2007
Posted on: December 8, 2011 8:56 am

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

My comment was in reply to

Since: Sep 15, 2007
Posted on: December 8, 2011 8:55 am

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

Apparently not and I doubt you guys will ever do.

Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:59 pm

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

I don't believe Lebron can ever be "the good guy" again. Everything about his leaving Cleveland and going to Miami was sinister, from the televised decision to the preseason celebration to everything he said during the season. Sure, he can get back to playing "carefree" and become more humble, but I don't think it will change his image. He can't change the fact that he ditched his team in a city that loved him more than any athlete in the history of Ohio, and paraded it around in a self righteous and frankly despicable way at that. To me, nothing he does from this point forward matters because of the manner in which he left his team and his home state. Even if he wins multiple championships. I do think the move was good for the NBA, and as a Hawks fan I will watch the Heat every chance I get, but I don't believe he will ever be able to drop the role of villain in the NBA. Even though I will always root against Lebron, I will always respect his game and watch him every chance I get.

Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:18 pm

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

Little late LeQuit. Stay in Miami. Stop with the half-assed apologies. You quit, and you choked. We've moved on. Next.

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 9:01 pm

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

It is amazing how people that hate the NBA find their way to these boards and comment.  Actually it is nothing short of incredible.

 i think Lebron apologizing to Cleveland verbally has to be done in the correct way if at all.  There must have been some ego at work when he made the decision to do "The Decision" if he now feels that he was wrong. If so then he should apologize for that.  I still think that raising 1 million? for the children was a noble result of doing the 1 hour announcement.

If he is saying that he strung Cleveland along and he knew long before that he was leaving, then he needs to apologize to management as well.

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 7:00 pm

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

If he wants to be "a good guy" then he has to realise the repercusions of what he says and does before he says or does something. As such at the very least he should apologise to Cleveland for how he left them - he was entitled to play where he wanted I'll grant anyone, but he did the whole thing in a very unclassy and tactless manner.Also if he doesn't want to be the "villain" then he has to learn when to keep his trap shut.

Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:05 pm

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

LetsGoBears:  You are partly correct.  He has to go back to Cleveland and he has to apologize for being a tool for the past several years.

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 5:18 pm

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

Respect is earned.  It isn't a right.  Lebron will find that it takes a lot more effort to get some of that respect back than it did to destroy it.  He needs to realize that actions speak louder than words.  Do your talking on the court.  What is more important?  Winning championships?  Or being the highest paid player of all-time in the NBA (his words, btw)?  

Lebron is a kid who hasn't grown up yet.  He loves the lime-light.  He loves the attention and the adoration.  No one can argue that he is a great basketball player.  But, the only thing holding him back, is himself.

How much does he work on his game?  Does he put in the hours because he loves the game of basketball?  Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kobe...they all do this.  They play for the love of the game and for the challenges of being in those positions of succeed/fail.  Lebron doesn't do this.  He shys away from taking the risks.  How often do you see the ball in his hands during the 4th quarter when the game is on the line?  Someone mentioned that you could run a 2-hour video on Kobe's last-second/clutch shots, and you could do a 30-second video on Lebron's. 

Change begins with yourself.  If Lebron is serious, then he needs to begin with himself.  His actions will ultimately earn back the respect that he has lost with the fan-base, when he figures out what is important to him.  If fame and money are his motivating factors, then he may find that his career and life are but empty shells.  If he is looking for something a bit deeper, then he might find some positive results from that change of mind and change of heart.

In any case, it isn't about being "good" or "bad" but it is about Who You Are.     &

Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2011 4:35 pm

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

The only way LeBron can be the "good guy" again is if he goes back to Cleveland.

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:12 pm

LeBron wants to be the good guy again

Just be yourself! Best advice you can give any young man.

Before some idiots jump all over me, what I mean by that is that he shouldn't let handlers. friends, media consultants push him to do things. Be himself. The same ESPN that offered him the Decision show, are also making money off of using him as the bad guy. Be yourself and you don't have to worry about all this smack.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or