Tough Love in LA: An Open Letter to King James & Respect for the Game

Photo credits: The Associated Press

Dear King James, what was up with the pseudo-cocky “I want my respect too” comment after winning it all?

Who do you feel is not respecting you? You’ve had your respect in the league since you made it to your first championship. Even though your Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the San Antonio Spurs, nobody who loved and knows the game of basketball could second guess the amount of heart you displayed.

You were so young putting it all out there on the court and made NBA veterans proud of you.

People who were not even Cavaliers fans respected you to the utmost for finally hanging a banner right in your home state later in your career. That meant to world to fans and I know it meant the world to you. You did it against a record-breaking Golden State Warriors team that everyone thought was unstoppable!

I respect you, Big Man. Respect from the ones who are worthy of it is all you need, Champ! People criticize you but they’ve done that to everybody who was an NBA great. I’m not too much older than you. However, I grew up loving this same game you love since the early 1980s.

However, the Lakers Organization had its respect years before you were even born, Champ! If you still feel like you haven’t gotten any respect after 17 years in the league at 35, then walk away as Michael Jordan did at 30. Make the world miss you.

With all due respect, Lakers Nation was hanging banners before you got there and they’ll hang more after you’re gone. You’re the 2020 Finals MVP and you earned it. But you won’t have the last word in history when it comes to a single franchise. Youngbloods all over the league are coming up on other teams so respect them too!

It’s not always about ourselves. This is a team sport. Dwayne Wade opened the door for your younger self in 2010 to hang banners at a franchise HE built! Your time to do the same is coming and you’re not getting any younger. Wade realized that at 35. Do you?

The game we love will always respect you. So respect the game, Champ. Keep your eyes on the NBA youngbloods the way veterans were watching you. Make them kings like you are. What would Magic Johnson do after winning his first title with the Lakers? Magic was instrumental in helping you become a part of the Lakers basketball dynasty.

All in all, my words come from a great place, which desires to see your success. I thank you for your hard work and perseverance through the tough LA Times. The great Kobe Bryant is no longer with us.

But I know his indelible spirit is shining down on you for helping the team he lived for. Black Mamba Forever! As a lifelong Laker fan who is blessed to cover sports in today’s digitized media, it’s an honor to see another legend hang a banner in the City of Angels.

Don’t mind the tough love, Champ. It comes with the territory. But a man who has made his mark the way you have is built for all terrains. Keep lifetime fans seeing your part in making the game better every year you’re here in the NBA.

However, we do hope you stay to hang as many more banners as you can in LA, Big Man.


The Biggest Virginia-Born Laker Fan on Earth