LeBron James is no longer on the list of Top Hated Athletes of the Year. Amen! Apparently, after winning his championship, James silenced all the haters and nobody had anything else to say about the best basketball player on the planet.
This practically summarizes James' 2012 year. He was an NBA Champion, MVP and Olympic gold medalist at London 2012.
Maybe James' winning the championship wasn't even for the haters so when he went to London and represented the country, people finally realized that he was the real deal.
The thing that upset people about James' game was how he broke down in pressure situations. During the 2012 All-Star game, he could have ended it all, but decided to pass the ball inside of shooting. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant who are considered the greatest of the greatest would have never thought twice about shooting the ball to win the game.
If James wants to be the best, then he has to play like the best.
Never mind that he is a physical beast who can guard anybody on the floor, James had to add the final element to his game and that was closing out.
When the Heat were on the brink of elimination and Dwayne Wade was struggling, James finally stepped up and carried his team. When James was in the paint, there was no stopping him.
The Heat got past the New York Knicks, a very physical series against the Indiana Pacers and then finally closed out the Boston Celtics in four games.
Once in the Finals, they dropped their first meeting against the Oklahoma City Thunder and then brought it home winning the next four games.
For many fans, James was probably a lot of hype. They completely ignored his regular season stats and wanted championship rings to speak for themselves.
James had a chance to capture his first ring in 2011 against the Dallas Mavericks, but the Heat buckled down the stretch. Wade and James acted like lunatics in the locker room and joked about Dirk Nowitzki playing through illness. This added more fire to a crowd of people who hated James for moving to Miami and leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers out to dry.
It wasn't only people in Cleveland, it was fans in New York and Chicago. A lot of people and analysts felt it was a slap in the face for James to take an hour on ESPN just to announce where he would play.
At the same time, people forget he was only 25 years old at the time. It's not his fault he was sucked into all the hype. James has been in the limelight his entire life and it was a very poor decision by his public relations people.
Being hated affected his game and caused James to play angry and he admitted to being humbled after losing.
James has won another battle. He isn't no longer hated like the rest of these guys in sports right now.
Topping the list of the most hated athletes in sports are Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o and Tiger Woods.
Armstrong makes sense, but Te'o and Woods are probably not fair. What business is it that Woods cheated on his wife? Michael Kay stated it best on radio, your accountant cheats on his wife, but all you care about is the numbers he gets you. Let Tiger play, that's all people should care about.
Hopefully for James, he can get recognition for people the best player in the league. Bryant is soon to retire and he will have the league all to his own.