LeBron James Finally Beloved by National Sports Media Once Again

Riptide has had ESPN on and off of mute all morning. The TV listings say it's just regular ol' SportsCenter, but as far as we can tell "The LeBron James Blow Job Marathon" would be just as apt a title. In fact, the TV talking heads, newspaper writers and bloggers have finally completed a total about face: they all love LeBron James once again. It's a new narrative that has been slowly emerging through out these playoffs, but it appears the rest of America has decided its finally OK to love LeBron James once again. 

ESPN has never quite given itself over to total LeBron hate (they were co-conspirators of The Decision after all), and there's always been those lone, brave figures outside of Miami dashing off "Leave LeBron alone" screeds. But it seems that the "LeBron is pretty cool after all" narrative has arrived. 

Ever since the Boston series, blogs like Deadspin have been revving up the new narrative. They declared, with snark fully aimed at LeBron-haters, "LeBron James is Finally Good at Basketball." 

They also decried the whole "basketball hero industry" that put James under such a magnifying glass in the first place. 

ESPN's hipster little web brother, Grantland, explained yesterday

"Why You Should Root for LeBron."

This morning, in the site's staff-wide Game 5 recap, write Shane Ryan struggled with this new narrative before accepting it. "It's not a debate that can be won or lost,"

he wrote

. "I leave open the possibility that I'm mistaken -- that I wrongly associate winning with more intrinsic qualities -- yet I reserve my right to believe. I think I saw it in LeBron, that coming of age that someone like me is bound to crave." 

Even the site's editor, Bill Simmons, Boston sports fan in chief, declared during these Finals, "if you can't appreciate what LeBron James is doing right now, you need to start following another sport. It's one of the greatest night-to-night athletic feats we have ever witnessed."

The narrative even snuck into straight-forward game recaps.

"At that moment, James was no longer the antihero of 'The Decision,' or the faltering star who crumbled in the 2011 finals, or the solo act who could not deliver a title to Cleveland, his home state team," declared The New York Times. "He was, at long last, a champion, proving himself worthy of the label by averaging 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists in the Heat's five-game triumph."

"Best player in the game. Best team in the league," came over the AP wires. "And now, NBA champion."

LeBron has redeemed himself, goes the new story line. The King has his crown, and it's time everyone get over their irrational hate.

Then again, there are a few people out there who will still tell you he's a cocksucker. Can't please everybody.

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