Home > Basketball > Wade and LeBron All Cough, No Class…

Wade and LeBron All Cough, No Class…

I like Dwayne Wade.  I mean, I think most people do.  He’s well spoken, well dressed, he’s done those great T-Mobile ADs with Barkely, and he’s been one of the five best players in basketball for the last five or six years.  Wade just seemed to have class.  LeBron?  Well, I’m a little less wild about LeBron.  I mean, I do think he’s the best player in the NBA, his last two games aside, but personally?  He seems a little narcissistic for my tastes.  I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t have a problem with James going to Miami, I mean it wasn’t the (cough) decision (cough) I would have made, but it was a perfectly within his rights as a human: to live and work with people he likes and in a city he enjoys.  It’s the same right the rest of us get and in his particular profession he’d earned it by serving out his first two contracts and becoming a free agent.  Yet, not telling the Cavs in advance was tacky and the Decision was, well… the Decision was a little like this picture:

A Rod Kissing Mirror

Photo: Details Magazine

Everything James does seems a little too polished, a little too conscious of how it will be received – which of course makes it all the more ironic when it’s received negatively.  Still, despite my reservations about him, I’ve been vaguely cheering for the Heat all season, simply because I’ve found the vitriol around what he did to be disproportionate to the crime.  We want our athletes to sacrifice their personal stats and money to pursue championships, except that we don’t.  We don’t seem to care when our athletes drink and drive, or abuse their wives, or get in barroom brawls, but heaven forbid they take their talents to South Beach.  I don’t know, it just seemed unnecessary that they be villified in every arena and have sportswriters basically drooling for the opportunity to anoint first Kevin Durant, then Derrick Rose as the anti-LeBron.

On top of that, I found all the “Alpha-Dog” rhetoric, that you couldn’t win with both Wade and James to be a little silly.  I mean, do you really think that Larry Bird and Magic Johnson wouldn’t have figured out a way to make their talents work together?  James and Wade are both unselfish players capable of scoring in bunches, while also controlling the games with their playmaking.  So, to think that they couldn’t play together is just asinine.  All the crunch-time stuff is just silly as well… when they lose some regular season games, it seems like a really big deal who the crunch time finisher will be, but when they’re wiping out Chicago in successive fourth quarters that narrative falls by the wayside.  Now, as they lose to Dallas, it becomes a story again.

It’s like saying Peyton Manning doesn’t have what it takes to win the big game… oops, until he does.  Same for that guy having a special moment with himself in the above picture, he’s not clutch, right up until the moment he has a .976 OPS as his team wins the World Series.

It’s a tired storyline and so once Phoenix’s season ended (sometime around Thanksgiving), I started vaguely hoping that Miami would win.  I mean, I didn’t have any great heart behind it that conviction.  The Heat losing wouldn’t have sent me into a tailspin of self loathing like after Jennifer Jones’ team lost the 2011 Scott’s Tournament of Hearts, but… you know, if they won it would (temporarily) end the nonsense.

So, for most of six months that’s been reason enough to cheer for the Heat.  In the finals, against a Mavs team whom I’d really like to see win, I’ve largely felt neutral.  Dirk deserves a title, and certainly him winning one would eliminate some of those same tired narratives that surround him (great scorer, not great player; soft European, etc.).  Plus, it’d be so sweet to see David Stern handing over the trophy to Mark Cuban… I’d probably be cheering for the Mavs against any other Eastern Conference team, but deep down I’ve felt a pull for the Heat…

But god, those boys sure aren’t making cheering for them easy:

Wade, who referred to Nowitzki’s sinus infection Thursday as “the fun-loving story of him being sick,” claimed Saturday that he didn’t pretend to cough.

“I actually did cough,” Wade said. “And with the cameras being right there, we made a joke out of it because we knew you guys were going to blow it up. You did exactly what we knew.

“We never said Dirk’s name. I think he’s not the only one in the world who can get sick or have a cough. We just had fun with the cameras being right in our face about the blowup of the incident, and it held to be true. You blew it up.”

Really Dwayne?  Really?  It’s the media’s fault that you and LeBron were being asses?  Really?  Stop, just stop… You guys are clearly making fun of him, while you know full well that a camera crew is filming you.  Whatever did you think was going to happen?  Don’t blame the media for doing “exactly what we knew.”  That’s asinine.  If you cough and that’s it, just  a cough, then guess what?  Everybody’s going to assume you were clearing your throat, but that’s not what happened.  You ask, “did you all hear me cough?  I’m sick.”  While you and LeBron cackle like catty 14 year old girls.  LeBron, then followed suit, which sort of seems like his go to move right now.

I might have ignored the initial incident, it was as Dirk said, “childish,” but what really annoys me is Wade’s reaction.  Rather than saying, “yes that was dumb and we apologize to Dirk who played a great game while sick”, Wade blames the media, proclaims that they did it only because they knew the media would make a big deal of it, and thinks it’s not his fault.

It just makes him seem so petulant, juvenile, and – yes – classless.  And that’s been the problem with the Heat all season long, a complete lack of class.  From “the Decision,” to their pep rally, to all of their chest pounding “poor me” press conferences, they’ve lacked any semblance of humility, graciousness, or class.  Making fun of Dirk being sick shouldn’t have surprised me, and it didn’t, not really, but it was disappointing.

And silly as it might sound, it was just enough, the proverbial straw on the camels back, to ensure that at tip off tonight, I’ll be hoping that the big German drops 40 on the Heat’s “sick” superstars.

(and yes, I actually did drop a curling reference into the middle of an NBA finals post.  That’s right, it’s how I roll…)

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