Is LeBron James Really Any Different Than Cliff Lee?

Why all the hate?

I’m suggesting therapy for all you LeBron James and Miami Heat haters.

Let me get this straight: the guy took less money to go to a team he felt had a better chance of winning; he knew by going to this team he would dilute his individual legacy; and in playing for this team, he has completely subordinated his game to accommodate other high-profile teammates, meaning he is the opposite of the selfish NBA player. And you hate him….why?

OK, I get it. He had a TV show announcing his choice. And when the Heat administration announced his presence, they did it with a Broadway show fanfare, as he and Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh came out amidst the bright lights and confetti, raising their hands as if deity. But come on, give me a break.

After LeBron dissected the withering Boston Celtics in game four of their playoff series the other night, with 35 and 14 (and three assists and three steals), and a killer step-back three-pointer that gave the Heat the lead, I got an e-mail from a guy exhorting the fact that James turned the ball over on one of the possessions after that and that proved he’s not a clutch player.

You people need therapy.

LeBron James carried a Cleveland Cavaliers team with exactly NO OTHER players on it to an NBA final. He played with four mutts for most of Cavs’ career and somehow managed to lead them to 61 wins one year. I know that Michael Jordan is sainthood to most people, but when did Mike win without another great player on his team? I must have missed that season.

I hate to remind Phillies fans, but didn’t Cliff Lee kind of do the same thing LeBron James did? The Texas Rangers were begging and pleading for Lee to stay and help them get to the next level, a championship. Lee looked around and said to himself, ‘Ya know, the Phillies have a better chance of winning a World Series than the Texas Rangers. I’ll go there.” Any difference?

But Mike, you say, how does he have the audacity to do a television show to announce his free agent destination. OK, it was obnoxious. No more obnoxious, though, than any other NBA star player. That’s what these guys do: they bring attention to themselves. And guess who made them? We did. The fans, the media. We follow them on Twitter. We buy their endorsed products. We gobble up their highlights on SportsCenter.

After the Phillies won the 2008 World Series, Chase Utley used the F-word in front of thousands of kids. Because of that, do Phillies fans wish bad upon Chase when he steps into the batter’s box? Would Phillies fans think poorly about other baseball fans if they did that with Chase? But LeBron, oh man, because he had a television show, the haters have conditioned their brains not to enjoy the man’s greatness and find ways to reduce his value. That’s just ridiculous.

Get the therapy now, before the images of LeBron kissing the NBA championship trophy — just like Saint Mike — send you over the deep end and you go into a post pffice and shoot it up. Ya nitwits.

Random and Sudden Thoughts

1. I don’t know if you Flyers fans know how to count, but it’s now 36 years and counting since the Flyers have won a championships. There are only three teams in the NHL right now that have been in the league as long as the Flyers that have gone that long without winning: Boston, Toronto, and Los Angeles. “Mr.” Snider likes to fashion that his team is “always in the hunt.” But that “always in the hunt” rationale doesn’t work for the Eagles, why should it work for the Flyers?

2. According to reports, Mike Richards isn’t enamored with Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. Not for nothing, but who is Mike Richards to have problems with any coach? You ain’t a star yet, Skippy. Only stars can question a coach. How about we spend less time looking for college girls in Old City and concentrate a little more on being a captain.

3. This week represents a big block of the Phillies season, a block that could provide a window to their soul. The Phils have played almost .700 ball this year, but let’s face it, they’ve beaten some chumps. If they come out of these 20 games with a sub .500 record, it undoubtedly will be because of a lack of offense. That means either they have to get Domonic Brown back up here (provided he’s killing triple-A), or make a deal for another outfield bat. If they get through these 20 games with, say, at least a 12-8 mark, then don’t worry about it and just enjoy this pitching and defensive ride.

4. Most people would say that Lisa Hillary, Comcast SportsNet’s hockey reporter, is “cute.” But doesn’t she look a little like Chris Pronger?

5. A caller the other day told me the worst part about the Flyers being eliminated from the playoffs is that Jim Jackson now goes back to baseball play-by-play. I didn’t say it. A caller said it.