Columnists, Sports

Indirect Kick: Please stop raving about LeBron James, ESPN

LeBron James ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring this season. PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

While watching the sports highlights on ESPN the other day, I witnessed something horrifying. OK, I witnessed two horrifying things. The first was a Liverpool win, but the second was even worse.

Liverpool’s Christian Benteke scored a goal and celebrated in his typical fashion. But ESPN, in typical ESPN fashion, felt compelled to bring in LeBron James. Even during a five minute segment where James wasn’t the topic, it somehow tied him into European soccer highlights.

We all know that ESPN talks about two things on its shows: the New England Patriots and their cheating ways, and LeBron James. We are talking about the Worldwide Leader in Sports here. All it discusses are false accusations, and the second most overrated player in the history of basketball (sorry Christian Laettner).

I’ve always been confused as to why everybody is obsessed with LeBron James. There’s no denying he’s good, because well, he is very good. But to consider him as one of the best players ever — that’s downright insulting.

Granted, he was the No. 1 overall pick out of high school in 2003, which is impressive. He has also been to six NBA Finals, yet has only won twice. James is not the greatest of all time.

For starters, the NBA caters to this man. If I ever have an hour long special to reveal where I wanted play basketball, someone needs to slap some sense into me because it would take two seconds for me to say “backyard,” just like it would take James the same amount of time to utter “Miami.”

Now, I understand it was for endorsements and sponsorship money, but really? Michael Jordan didn’t have a special every time he came out of retirement and then again every time he decided to come back. It’s just not necessary.

Statistically speaking, James is fifth in the league in scoring. Wow, fifth isn’t even good enough for Jackie Moon and the Flint Tropics, but for James, it might as well be No. 1. Aside from being a whopping ninth in the league in assists, James is not even in the Top 10 for double-doubles.

Defensively, James is nowhere. He isn’t among the league’s top five in any defensive category. Back in the day, players were admired for going all out on defense. Larry Bird once laid out face first for a loose ball, knocked himself out, and then came back in the game minutes later.

If that happened to James, he would never do such a thing, yet he would be worshiped, given a special MVP trophy and the refs would stop the game until he could play again. But back in Bird’s time, that was what players were expected to do for a loose ball.

Even Stephen Curry, a true MVP, has been known to give it his all. Last year, during the Western Conference Finals, Curry fell on his head while looking to block a shot. He was called for a foul on the play and, despite being concussed, Curry came back to play and scored 23 points in the losing effort.

Now if that were James, it would have been a Flagrant II foul on the other team and a five-game suspension without pay. And what a way to segue to the final point: James as a crybaby.

Whenever James is allegedly fouled, which is a lot apparently, he will go over to the ref and discuss the play for the next three possessions instead of hustling back into the play. Same thing goes for when he commits a foul.

And yet still people call him the greatest basketball player ever. Well, here is where I prove you wrong.

At age 30, Larry Bird averaged 28.1 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, 7.6 assists per game and shot 52.2 percent from the field. James at age 30? 25.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 7.4 APG and a 48.8 field goal percentage. But he’s still the best there ever was right?

So for all you advocates of James out there, please do us all a favor and stop trying to lie to yourself. He’s good, but there are plenty just like him who have played, currently play, or will play in the NBA.

As for ESPN, I’m counting down the days until James retires and it can actually start talking about sports again.

More Articles

Daniel Shulman is a sophomore at Boston University majoring in Journalism through the College of Communication. A native of Stoughton, Dan is a sports fanatic who loves everything Boston sports related. He is currently a Sports Hawk at the Boston Globe in the High School sports department. He is also a statistician for both Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Men’s Ice Hockey. Aside from writing, Dan has an interest in music, movies and cooking.


  1. Well figures you’re from Boston. LBJ is not the greatest but he Is great. For a player with a shaky perimeter game and so-so from the charity stripe 5th in the league in scoring is pretty damn sold seeing as everyone else is known for their offensive game. And if you’re gonna talk about defending steph curry is nowhere to be found on that end of the floor, now do they talk about the man too much why of course that’s a given.

  2. Man a LBJ hater at its finest. Still talking about the decision… When will people stop using that as an excuse to degrade Lebron as a player. He’s will be one of the greatest to play when he’s done. Not the greatest, but one of them. They maybe mentioned Lebton when talking about soccer because he owns a stake in Liverpool. His career speaks for itself in all honesty. I’ll stop there.

  3. This is the most inaccurate and biased article I’ve ever read.

    A. ESPN mentioned LeBron with Liverpool soccer because he owns part of the team.

    B. Going to six straight NBA Finals has done by no one except LeBron. Give the man some credit for that.

    C. “The Decision” has nothing to do with his accomplishments on the court. Why are you including this?

    D. LeBron is fifth in scoring, but they are 17 games into the year. Why are you drawing conclusions about his scoring when the season is 82 games long? More importantly, the Cavs have the best record in the Eastern Conference. Where is that stat in your article?

    E. LeBron was voted to All-NBA Defensive 1st team in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and the 2nd team in 2014. How can you say he is “nowhere” on defense?

    F. LeBron went right from high school to the NBA. This is his 13th season at age 30. Larry Bird played 13 seasons in the NBA AFTER 4 years of college and averaged 20.2 points per game that year.