Will: LeBron can't win until he wins

Only one way to silence his critics

By Will Manso - Sports Director

MIAMI - It's just about that time of the season again to have someone criticize LeBron James.  Actually, it's been so quiet of late, we have two cases of people ripping the Heat forward.

First off, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins.  He wasn't happy about a tweet James made last week, so Perkins says LeBron is just always looking for attention.  Of course, he failed to mention Blake Griffin's monster dunk over him was the talk of the NBA and Twitter.  Plenty of athletes, including NBA players, tweeted about the spectacular play that was shown over and over on highlight shows.  Yet, Perkins decides to strike back at LeBron.  Even worse, he did it a week after LeBron made the tweet,

Next up is Larry Bird.  Yes, the NBA Hall-of-Famer and Pacers executive.  He claims he'd rather play with Kobe Bryant, instead of James.  He also added that LeBron would be "more fun" to play with, but Bryant is someone you win with.

It's hard to argue that, since Kobe has 5 rings.  We all know LeBron has yet to win a title.  Again, it would be nice to point out that Kobe has had significantly more talent around him during his career then James.  Then again, these little facts never seem to matter when it comes to LeBron.

If I'm coming across as someone trying to defend a local player in James, well, trust me, that's not the point.  I cover James, but I can't say I truly know him.  I've talked to plenty of people who do know him.  I spent a few days in his hometown of Akron, Ohio and met many of his childhood friends.  They described a guy who's always been in the spotlight.  James has always been considered the next "great" player.  Problem is, while his stats have been amazing, he has yet to win a championship.  Because of that, he's an easy target.

LeBron could probably help himself a little by avoiding that spotlight, but then again, it's hard to do that after over a decade of constant attention.

If Joel Anthony tweets about that Griffin dunk, no one cares.  When LeBron does it, he's just an attention seeking egomaniac.

I have no doubt that James does have a big ego, but is he much different than most NBA stars?  I saw Kobe first-hand hamming it up for the cameras after a Lakers loss in Miami last season.  He spent over an hour shooting after the game, and reporters, like me, ate up every moment as a showcase of what makes Bryant so great.

If LeBron did that, it'd be perceived as James looking for attention again.  Damned if you do and damned if you don't.  That pretty much summarizes life as LeBron James.

They only thing he can to do to change that perception is to win an NBA championship.  He's got Miami off to a great start, while having an MVP-type first half of the season.  He's doing everything he can to finally get that missing piece on his resume, and all everyone wants to talk about is a tweet and comparisons to Kobe.

Again, I'm not here to defend LeBron.  I'm just here to point out the obvious; until he wins an NBA title, LeBron James is the easiest target to criticize in sports.

Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.