LeBron James Needs To Stop Answering Every Question That Reporters Ask Him
Hey, LeBron James: You realize that you do this to yourself, right? Like, you realize that you basically invite criticism to come to your front door. And then once it gets there? You invite it inside for coffee, fix it a sandwich, and let it watch TV. It tries to leave, but you insist that it stay for dinner. And then once it’s done eating? You insist that it spend the night. Because you’re LeBron James…and you love criticism.
You must love it. After all, why else do you continue to answer questions that reporters ask you with thoughts that just beg to be criticized? The most recent example: You were asked whether or not you’d ever return to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers, who you will face off against tonight as a member of the Miami Heat. Your answer, in so many words: “Of course! In fact, I not only think about it often, but I also am considering actually doing it sometime in the future. But, oh, by the way: I sure do love playing for Miami!”
And with that, you set off yet another round of media criticism. You’ve got people asking why you’d say you want to return to Cleveland one day. You’ve got others asking whether or not Cleveland would even want you back. And you’ve got Heat fans saying, “Wait, he’s already talking about leaving us now?” Once again, criticism has come a’ knockin’—and you let it right in.
My question: Why do you continue to do this? Why do you continue to allow reporters to paint you into a corner? Why do you walk directly into the traps that they set? On the one hand, I do appreciate that you’re honest with people. It’s not a crime to think about playing for Cleveland again one day. But, on the other, you have to know the kind of criticism you’re gonna face when you make some of the statements that you make. And yet, you continue to make them! I know you like the attention. But, how many times do you have to get burned before you tell a reporter to shove it when he or she asks you a question that could potentially lead to you being criticized?
Here’s an idea: Before you answer questions from reporters, stop and think about what response you might get for your answer. Really think about what you’re going to say. You’re LeBron James. We get the sense that reporters will wait all day long for you to answer a simple question. And then once you’ve thought about it and decided whether or not your answer will come under criticism, think about it again. Think about how the public will perceive it, how your teammates will take it, and how people might criticize you for it. And then? Tell the reporters you have to get back to practice but you’d be happy to give them an answer later after you’ve thought about their question some more.
Otherwise, the vicious cycle that you’re stuck in right now is going to continue. You’re going to continue to come under criticism. And there’s going to be no one to blame but yourself. So the next time criticism knocks, turn off the lights and pretend you’re not home. It’s the only way for you to keep your name out of the newspapers for all the wrong reasons.