LeBron James has a son named Bryce Maximus.
That kid’s middle name can only be Maximus because his dad loves the movie “Gladiator.” (“Gladiator” is directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed “Prometheus.” Moving on….)
This fact makes me like LeBron more, but it’s irrelevant.
At a time when the NBA is experiencing a golden age of awesome young talent, LeBron James is by far the best player of them all. His size, speed, skills and mind for the game make the man a singular talent.
I’m happy and a little honored to be watching someone this good play so often and at such a high level.
That his son is named Maximus means nothing in relation to why I watch him, but it’s a fun thing to know.
LeBron’s exit from the Cleveland Cavaliers – he announced the move on a terrible live interview show called “The Decision” – left the sports world steaming. He now polls as one of the most hated professional athlete, alongside legendary horndog Tiger Woods.
LeBron didn’t understand at the time of “The Decision,” and still may not understand, why everyone got that angry. The answer is that sports fans lack rationality, that there is something unquantifiable and close to love that links us with our teams.
Here’s the thing about LeBron, though: He is so good he transcends fandom. Or should. To focus on his flaws – and they are many – is to miss the masterpiece before our eyes. We should be grateful to watch him right now, not mad about something stupid he did years ago.
Judge not. Spilled milk.
Tonight is the biggest game of LeBron’s life so far. Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7, against a Celtics team of proud warriors. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are future hall of famers at the end of their careers. They have won a championship together before, and are desperate for another. A loss tonight would probably put a figurative end to their glorious careers. Even if they keep playing, it won’t be for much longer and they aren’t likely to get this close to a title again.
LeBron is still questing after his first title, and every failed playoff run is another excuse for the army of reactionary sports haters to rain criticism like acid from the sky.
Tonight’s game, in other words, is about as heavy and important as they come in professional sports. If LeBron were not who he is, this would not be so.
It’s starting right now, as I type this. I hope LeBron wins. But it’s all right if he doesn’t.