Heat Strokes, Game 31: King Of Kings

FreeDarko's Bethlehem Shoals, a regular contributor to NBA FanHouse and co-author of The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History (visit the FreeDarko store, too!), is keeping a game-by-game diary of the Heat's season — the one you're pretending not to care about.



Results: Heat 95, Suns 83
Record: 22-9

If you like cable news, the Christmas Wars are between the evil pagan forces who want to take the Christ out of Christmas, and those who remember the holiday's true meaning. In NBA circles, it's about going after LeBron James with an ax.

The day of trees and fat men isn't even here yet, and already, James has raised his villain index to heights unmatched since the Decision itself. He doesn't like playing on Christmas; ever-eager Dwight Howard reminds us all that a Christmas Day game means your team matters. If Howard, who once suggested a cross be added to the league's logo, can swallow his piety, then surely James can stop bitching about not getting the day off. His kids are probably robots, anyway. Note: Phil Jackson has voiced similar objections, but he has rings! And, to boot, is probably doing it out of some cranky hippie principle. That is better than LeBron's selfishness.

But his Bron-ness wasn't done yet. In a move so vile it was probably cooked up by a demented marketing team — James is now the Caesar of basketball, and it's beginning to suit him — LeBron advocated contraction. Right before that most charitable of holiday, the NBA's corporate megalith suggested casting dozens of his peers out on the streets, penniless. Fewer teams make for a more competitive league, he said, as if seeking a far-flung rationale for this summer's actions. Yet LeBron fails to grasp, or refuses to acknowledge, that merely reducing the number of teams is not enough. Nearly as important is player fidelity, something LeBron James knows a thing or two about flouting. If he really wants to return the league's glory days of quality product, player immobility is as important as contraction. James, who exploited these freedoms as few athletes have, can't very well question a player's right to choose.

Even if, you know, he is right about the world being a better place if Kevin Love got to put in meaningful work, instead of toiling for a lunatic on an irrelevant team that yours truly will still watch at least once a week.

This holiday season, LeBron wants the Heat be seen as good and pure. Instead, he has come off as more conniving and megalomaniacal than ever. That is not the meaning of Christmas. That's not the kind of athlete we want to watch excel as we open presents and roast leaves around the hamburger fire. Let the Lakers vanquish him, so we may all be free. Let the Heat be exposed for the cabal they are. And may his team once again taste the ashen sadness of a losing streak that lasts a thousand games, so that next Christmas, LeBron James will wish he was forced to give up his free time.

Please Santa, if you really do fly above us and keep watch, let this man go down in flames on Our Savior's Birthday. Some get it, some don't. LeBron James wants us to live in darkness and for this, he must be stopped. If it can't happen on Christmas, then it may be too late. He has gone out of his way to defile this holiday, to use it as a vehicle for his own selfish ambition and monumental sloth. Strike him down, I say. Because, at the end of the day, Christmas is about smiting those who fear not its power.

THE CURSE OF CHRISTMAS IS UPON YOU! IT WILL KILL YOU WHILE YOU SLEEP!

(written by a Jew)

Bethlehem Shoals is a founding member of FreeDarko.com. He also writes The Works column for NBA FanHouse (read the Christmas column!) You can buy The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History and lots of other stuff at the FreeDarko store.