LeBron James must be watching too much soccer.
Or, he’s taking a night drama class at Cleveland State, and is bringing his homework to the NBA Finals court.
Whatever the case, the greatest basketball player on the planet has shown himself to be the most annoying hack actor in the game, as well. After every missed shot – and there’s going to be more than few when you’ve averaged 36 shots a game in the first two – he launches into his version of the death scene from Hamlet while trying to convince the officials that he has been mortally fouled.
James is doing more pleading and begging than a husband who forgot his wedding anniversary. More lobbying than Tony Podesta. And his habit of complaint seems to be getting worse the more the playoffs progress and the closer he gets to the championship he covets most.
Braves pitcher Alex Wood gets thrown out of a game for arguing balls and strikes. James plays on, without absorbing so much as a technical foul, while riding the refs like they were Grand Canyon mules.
The guy initiates a seismic amount of contact each time he isolates a defender and starts rooting his way toward the basket, and at the same time cries foul any time he is grazed by some over-matched defender. He might be a little more attuned to that Beatles verse: “And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” You get what you give, big fella.
Yes, he takes a beating. Yes, he is putting himself out there body and soul while trying to lift the underdog Cavs to a title. But does James really need to act as if it’s an affront to man and God whenever a Warrior dares to get in his way?
Those of us who are trying hard to appreciate what James is attempting here in this series, who want to warm ourselves by his competitive fire, may find that a tad bit more difficult with all his constant carping and moaning.
It’s just unseemly for a player of his stature. It gets in the way of his greatness, like the scratches on a Sinatra 45.
Leave the dramatic pleadings for relief to the less talented and to the players of soccer.