Thursday, December 2, 2010

Youth Sports: Lebron James Bumped Off His Pedestal

I grew up watching the NBA. I loved watching the '70's Knicks / Lakers rivalry. I once drew a life size picture of Wilt Chamberlain that I cut out and hung on my wall. It was the first FatHead ever. Unfortunately, at 8 years old I did not see the huge business opportunity.

I became a 76ers fan when my dad bought Sixers season tickets in 1976, Dr. J's first year with the team. We had 14th row center-court seats from 1976 to 1990. Over the years, I saw the circus act shots of Dr. J, I witnessed Michael Jordan score his 10,000 point and his 15,000 point and I was awed as a shattered backboard rained down on Darryl Dawkins

I watched some great professional basketball over the years and loved it. Sadly, I do not watch NBA basketball anymore. I don't like the prima donnas or overly tattooed thugs who play the game now. And I am glad to say, my kids do not watch NBA basketball either.

On November 27, 2010, Lebron James, arguably the best player in the world, gave me just another reason to avoid the NBA when he intentionally bumped into his coach Eric Spoelstra. It was a bush league, disrespectful move. But perhaps the worst thing about the incident was that the coach did nothing about it. He down played it in interviews after the fact. You can tell in the video he was pissed off until he turned around and saw who bumped him, the supposed best player in the game who cannot win a championship. 

Crazy Youth Sports Coach Series

I see this all the time on youth sports fields and courts. The best players get away with disrespectful behavior much more readily than the bench players. Coaches put winning ahead of discipline. Coaches want to keep their stars happy to keep them from bolting to another team. Ironically, it is the lack of discipline and poor team chemistry that leads to losing and nothing makes a star leave a team more than losing. 

The Main Point

I agree with Charles Barkley who famously said that he was not a role model. Barkley wanted parents and teachers to quit looking to him to raise their kids and instead be role models themselves. As a former fan of Pete Rose, Roger Clemons and Brett Farve, I could not agree more. Add Lebron to the mix. I had already added him to the list this summer for the way he handled his free agency. And lets add Eric Spoelstra to the list of coaches we do not want to emulate. He is toast.


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