6 Reasons Why LeBron James Is Fuming Right Now

Washington Wizards v/s Miami Heat December 18, 2010

What does LeBron James, point forward and engine behind the two-time NBA Champion Miami Heat, have to complain about? He’s a four-time MVP, he holds most of the “youngest player ever to” records, he’s making $232,530 for every game he plays this year, and he’s indisputably the best basketball player on the planet. Even if you’re a Cavs fan who still won’t forget The Decision.

But things aren’t all great in the wide world of LBJ. After all, he’s one of the most scrutinized athletes on the planet, with everything that he says put under a microscope. There have been general rumblings — mostly from fans who have no real evidence — of PED use during that time he won Finals MVP and gave a speech about making it to the NBA after coming from nothing, which inspired a New York Times study and op-ed about poverty and the NBA. It’s the oversaturation effect that sets in with every fan after a while. If LeBron ever does another cell phone commercial it will be too soon.

So, casting our minds down towards South Beach, we plumbed the depths of discourse to deliver six things that has LeBron James fuming right now, at this very moment.

Source: rmTip21 via Flickr

Source: rmTip21 via Flickr

1. Sleeved Jerseys

This seems pretty petty, right? All NBA players hate the sleeved jerseys. Some of them have even gone on the record saying so. They’re ugly, they’re unhelpful, and they sell like hot cakes, according to Deadspin’s Drew Magary, who explained the phenomenon thusly. “NBA players look great in sleeveless jerseys because NBA players are world class athletes. The rest of us are not. You get really self-conscious really quickly when you’re standing there in a basketball jersey.”

Interestingly, while the league as a whole doesn’t seem to be bothered by the NBA, at least not as far as shooting percentages are concerned, LeBron has played worse with his shoulders covered. “The Heat have worn the jerseys twice, and he wore one in the All-Star Game,” wrote the New York Times. “In those three games, James combined to go 24 for 54 (44.4 percent) from the field, which is well below the 58.3 percent he has shot in a traditional jersey. Even worse, he is 0 for 14 from 3-point range in sleeves.”

The Heat are done wearing sleeved jerseys for the rest of the season, but as they become more and more prevalent in the league (remember, only the Warriors had worn them this time last year), expect James’ performance to suffer. After the Times piece was published, unconfirmed reports from multiple sources surfaced, illustrating that the rest of the league has begun pushing for exclusively sleeved jerseys in the playoffs.

Source: DudeK1337 via Wikipedia Commons

Source: DudeK1337 via Wikipedia Commons

2. The idea that Durant could win MVP

LeBron James seems like a pretty nice dude. Kevin Durant seems like a pretty nice dude, too, though his niceness comes off as a calculated marketing decision designed to sell him as the good guy to unassuming fans. Anyway, Durant’s almost certainly the best shooter in the league today, and his Oklahoma City Thunder are tied for second place in the entire NBA (San Antonio is in first as of this writing.) He’s a great player who deserves MVP consideration.

That’s only if the vote is not going to LeBron James. The push for KD’s MVP-ship comes from his totally absurd January, where he put the Thunder on his back and carried them as his co-star Russell Westbrook sat out with an injury. It’s true, Durant was playing great basketball. There’s a lot of uncertainty about what exactly the MVP award should be given for — sometimes it’s awarded to the most invaluable player on a team (à la Steve Nash), sometimes its awarded to the best player in the league (LeBron circa 2011), and sometimes its awarded to a good player who’s neither of those (see: Robinson, David.)

That would be a Kevin Durant 2014 MVP award vote. He’s not the best player in the league — although he’s certainly top 3 — and he’s not the most indespensible, either. If he decided to take a sabbatical for the last month of the season, the Thunder would be able to coast just fine until he came back for the playoffs. Dirk Nowitzki’s more invaluable than Kevin Durant. Lame as it is, LeBron should probably win the 2014 MVP award, and Durant’s not really in the same conversation at all.

3. Dominique Wilkins underplayed his epic game

Earlier this year, LeBron had an astonishing game against the Charlotte Bobcats, putting up 61 points in a performance that would take a place with his best games of all time. Everyone fell over themselves with excitement. At the end of the day, regardless of team affiliation, most people watch games hoping for a performance like James delivered against the ‘Cats. Everyone, that is, aside from the Human Highlight Reel, Dominique Wilkins.

Wilkins, who now does color commentary for the Atlanta Hawks, was ostensibly trying to shine more attention on the other aspects of the game — Al Jefferson’s 38 points, the lack of defense on Charlotte’s end, etc. — by pointing out that when he was playing (in the good old days), the best teams would have players like Larry Bird for alpha dogs to deal with on defense. After all, Deron Williams dropped 55 on more or less the same Bobcats squad last year and no one said anything, because, you know, it’s the Bobcats.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Dempsy, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Matt Dempsy, licensed through Flickr via Creative Commons

4. The All-Star Break isn’t long enough

According to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, LeBron was one of the players who met with him during the All-Star festivities in New Orleans and discussed a possible extension of the All-Star Break. The new Commish, who officially took over from David Stern on February 1, has already drawn praise for his willingness to explore new ideas like sleeved jerseys that he, like every other functional basketball fan, dislikes.

“One of the issues LeBron raised is a break,” Silver told ESPN. “A guy like LeBron, All-Star Weekend is not a break for him in any way. He’s going around the clock with a combination of things the league is asking him to do, personal commitments, and I think it makes sense if we can work in the schedule a few days so the All-Stars can get a break as well.”

A player like James, who has given his summers to the Olympic teams since 2004 and has missed no more than seven games a season since entering into the league in 2003, could probably use a longer break. LeBron’s far from alone with that idea — everyone from former head coach George Karl in 2012, to Shane Battier in 2008, to sports writer Jack McCollum all the way back in 1991 have posited the idea at various times in the league’s history.

5. The NBA took away his Batman mask

They did it to Kyrie Irving, they did it to Kobe Bryant, and when LeBron James donned a black mask, they made him ditch it after one game.  James, who would appeal the NBA’s decision, said that it “didn’t make sense” to him, although he did swap to a clear mask at the League’s request, just like Kyrie and Kobe. The rationale behind the clear masks has never been properly explained to anyone.

“We know that if LeBron changes his clothes, that’s going to be a big deal,” Heat Forward Chris Bosh said to ESPN. “So whatever he does, that’s going to garner a lot of attention. It was a story, and now they said he can’t wear [the black mask] anymore, so that’s that.”

LeBron would eventually ditch his clear mask in a blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He was definitely playing better with the fancy carbon fiber face-protector. Is the League trying to keep LeBron from playing to his full potential?

Source: Keith Allison via Flickr

Source: Keith Allison via Flickr

6. He’s probably yelling at Mario Chalmers right now

Yelling is a stressful thing. According to LivingHealthy360, “Yelling is done by creating a much more powerful than normal thrust from the diaphragm in addition to straining the throat, the resulting force of which is much too strong for the tissues of the throat to process as they normally would. Over time, this can cause bleeding, lesions, or even scarring which actually can have a very negative effect on the voice as time progresses.”

Now imagine that you’re LeBron James, point forward and workhorse behind the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, and you’ve got to deal with Mario Chalmers. Chalmers is a target for yelling — there’s a Tumblr dedicated to Gifs of people doing just that, and he was described by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Most Yelled At Man’ in the NBA.

Imagine you’re LeBron James, and Chalmers has missed another defensive assignment. Imagine you’re LeBron James and you know that you can’t yell at anyone else, because they might actually get upset, because they’re not Mario Chalmers. Then imagine you have to see almost Mario Chalmers every day during the season. You’d be fuming, too — and reaching for a throat lozenge.

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet: