By now, if you haven't seen it, you're under a rock. Let's face it, there's nothing more fun in today's society than pooping all over LeBron James. In this case, he's given us tons to poop on, as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog would say.
Let's give the poor guy some credit. He's going around the world on a "goodwill" tour to entertain people in foreign lands. Very nice of him. And yet, given the large percentage of the U.S. population waiting to pounce on him at any misstep (does he deserve to be called basketball's Tiger Woods?), he's in one of those situations he just can't win. If he plays at full speed and effort against the Taiwanese players, he's a bully. If he plays them at half-speed, as he was, he risks getting jammed on by one of the amped-up little dudes, which is exactly what happened.
In defense of LeBron, he was fine up to a point. Yeah, he probably shouldn't have done the slow, repetitive, metronome dribble that allowed his defender to time a steal, but maybe he underestimated his opponent (sound familiar, 2011 Finals?).
And yeah, maybe he should have run harder to chase down the fast break, so he could give himself a better chance to block the shot, but maybe he was still underestimating his opponent (hello again, 2011 Finals).
Maybe he shouldn't have done those things, but honestly, that's all more than exusable, and perhaps even expected. He's in a foreign country trying to give some folks a thrill, and dominating their little team all night wouldn't be the most gracious behavior. So he relaxes here and there, and lets them have their fun.
But not TOO much fun.
The most revealing part of this video is not what happens before this dunk, but what happens after it. Not sure if LeBron expected to get dunked on, but after it happened, and the crowd went berzerk, LeBron went into...not sure what to call it...maybe we can have a contest to name it...for now, let's call it "LeBron mode." This is what LeBron does in response to big moments. Oh sure, he put on a 38-point clinic when he made that regular season return to Cleveland and got booed incessantly, but he was playing a LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers team, and he had a long time to emotionally prepare himself for that game.
But in big moments, when something happens and you instantly need to react, LeBron shrinks. Take the simple few seconds after the dunk in this video. LeBron goes through the seven deadly sins in one trip down the floor (ok, maybe just five - not sure lust and gluttony were involved):
1.) (:19) Envy - "That little man just dunked on me. The crowd is going wild. I think they may like him better than I do. I wish I was him."
2.) (:22) Greed - "Give me that ball."
3.) (:25) Pride - "Watch me go behind my back, little man."
4.) (:27) Sloth - "Ok, kinda lost control of the ball, so, ah hell, I'll just travel with it and..."
5.) (:29) Wrath - "...toss it out bounds just to show you people I'm not really trying."
It is the reaction that damns LeBron in this video. It smacks of panic, an inability to process and handle the moment, and ego over logic (there you are again, 2011 Finals. Hi, how you been?).
And finally, to show that he is definitely, officially not trying, LeBron gives up an uncontested three after the turnover. So, even the Taiwanese version of LeBron quits when the going gets tough. Was the player shooting that three named Dirk?
P.S.: Notice how they put all the teeny, tiniest guys on LeBron's team to try to even things out. Don't the Taiwanese know that LeBron doesn't want to have to shoulder the load for the team? Where's D Wade?