The Miami Heat won a championship last night.
For the next couple weeks, each segment of television on ESPN will probably begin with something about LeBron James. Yes, that includes their “NFL Live” program, which continues to fancy the idea of him playing tight end for the Cleveland Browns.
A couple weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on the Heat when I said it was good for the game if they failed.
Last night, they failed to… fail.
So the question every sports fan is now dealing with is pretty simple: does a ring change your opinion of LeBron or the Heat experience?
For me, the answer is a deflated no.
The best comparison I can make to the championship’s impact on LeBron’s image with fans is when Alex Rodriguez joined the New York Yankees and finally was a member of a title team. Like LeBron, ARod has been the best thing to happen to his sport since he was a teenager, and has done everything to back up that hype in the box scores throughout his career. The only part of his resume that was empty was the jewelry box.
Since ARod won his first championship, how has the world viewed him as a baseball player?
There was the steroid issue for ARod, which didn’t help him. But, ultimately, sentiment has transitioned from hate to apathy. The taunts of opposing fans have changed from “Ha ha, he has no rings” to “He’s a great player. Who cares.”
Now, there really isn’t a leg for haters to stand on, so they just don’t care.
Will the world continue to burn LeBron jerseys, or will he meet the same care-free fate that ARod has enjoyed? We’ll see.