Last week, LeBron James changed the world when he chose not to sign with the Knicks and Nets. Then he changed the world some more when he attended a wedding! Somewhere near the end of his world changing week, he was burned to shreds in an open letter by Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert, who called him "heartless" and "narcissistic." And now the Reverend Jesse Jackson has stepped in to defend defenseless LeBron from Gilbert: "He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His feelings of betrayal personify a slave-master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave," said Jackson to the AP.
Jackson took umbrage with Gilbert's harsh language, calling it "mean, arrogant and presumptuous," and most all, un-businesslike: "LeBron is not a child, nor is he bound to play on Gilbert's plantation and be demeaned. He has been a model citizen and has inspired the children of Akron, Cleveland, the state of Ohio and the United States." Of course, the good people of Ohio disagree just a bit: Bill Simmons at ESPN dedicated his entire mailbag this week to LeBron grievances, including Paul from Akron, Ohio, who laid out the state of LeBron's home state: "Since the announcement, there has been NOTHING else on local TV. I am dead serious. The NEWS has not broadcast ANYTHING OTHER THAN REACTION TO LEBRON. No shootings, no robberies, no sex scandals, nothing. It is LITERALLY the ONLY news. An hour and a half of news, and going strong, of just LeBron."
But beyond the hyperbole, the Times makes a compelling argument for which sports figure LeBron most resembles now, A-Rod: "Like Rodriguez, James grew up without a father to guide him. Like Rodriguez, James was anointed as the future of his sport as a teenager, then largely lived up to the hype. Like Rodriguez, James became a free agent at 25 after playing seven years for his first team without winning a championship." And like A-Rod, he may never be as beloved again, or the face of a franchise, but he may get the championship ring he so desperately desires.