Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, like many of our nation's sportswriters, doesn't care for LeBron James. But Woj shows his distaste with a bit more pathos than that of the average hack. Here, in order of increasing floridness and delusion, are some choice LeBron-related quotes from November 2008 on.
On LeBron and backhanded compliments: "The ultimate frontrunner could still craft the ultimate comeback story." [6/10/11]
On LeBron and respiration: "LeBron is LeBron and this basketball season will yet be about him, about these Heat. But he let this team and himself breathe again. Just maybe, it's been the most important thing he's done there." [4/27/11]
On LeBron, boxing, industry, geology, and the Borg: "As puncher's chances go, that's all the Celtics have in this series. They no longer have the machinery to take on that monolith and LeBron James reminded them again Saturday night. Unless something's wrong, unless he has one hand tied behind his back, resistance remains a largely futile act." [5/10/10]
On LeBron and statements designed to look bad in eight months: "Maybe this is still D-Wade's city and franchise, but this is LeBron James' team now. King James doesn't do deferential." [10/6/10]
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On LeBron and less catchy Michael Jackson song titles: "James has used the words 'fail' and 'blame' a lot of times, but seldom in context of his own performances. His idea of accountability has always been his cronies and him nudging you in the direction of the guilty parties — his coach, GM, teammates — but never the global icon in the mirror." [3/6/11]
On LeBron and vows: "LeBron didn't promise to do different.
"LeBron promised to do better." [3/6/11]
On LeBron and A Decision: "No more flirting, no more indulging future teams and teammates and cities. No more talk about Madison Square Garden, no more about the Russian owner and Jay-Z headed for Brooklyn. Maybe it is all about the Cavs, all the time now. Only James can decide that." [11/12/09]
On LeBron, circuses, and funhouse mirrors: "Everything's changed, the circus has left town and Daniel Gibson happens to be one of the few faces left that's a reflection into the Cavaliers' yesterday, a link to LeBron and everything lost." [2/5/11]
On LeBron and witnessing an apparent mugging: "No, Orlando hadn't come to be witnesses to the MVP's championship chase. The Magic took his best shot, and ultimately left LeBron James in the middle of the floor, in the middle of May, bent over and bleeding." [5/21/09]
On LeBron and metamorphosis: "James has it in him to completely dominate these next two games, to transform himself from the maligned MVP into the triumphant conqueror of critics." [5/13/10]
On LeBron and the self: "This summer started with the worst of the NBA, the worst of its self-aggrandizement and self-adulation and maybe it's [sic] self-destruction." [9/11/10]
On LeBron and how to write easily and vaguely: "Always easier to blame some vague force, always easier to escape the responsibility. There you go, Coach Spo. There's your star. Enjoy him." [11/12/10]
On LeBron, dangerous places to dance, and the Borg again: "Past failures danced on beams in the rafters, dangled over them like the 17 Celtics championship banners. For James and Wade, resistance had been long been futile here." [5/10/11]
On LeBron and Kathy Bates: "Pat Riley was right: There's winning and there's misery. That's all that's left for LeBron James now. That's the NBA Finals for him." [5/31/11]
On LeBron and The Most Dangerous Game: "LeBron James made himself the biggest target in the sport. Sometimes, he loved everything that came with it. Sometimes, he hated it. Yet, that's been his life since his mid-teens, an odd, consuming normalcy for him. He brought his desire to be the every-day story of the sport to Miami, and yet the rest of the franchise struggled to find its way through that reality." [4/27/11]
On LeBron and questions: "Can I stay overnight to party in New Orleans after a preseason game?
"Can I play the clown in practice?
"Can I get out of playing point guard?
"No. No. No.
On LeBron, the moon landing, tunes, and boxing again: "Nothing makes these Cavs so alive, so dangerous, as the understanding that the MVP has taken the first, boldest step for them and appears unstoppable again. Everything else followed for the Cavs, everyone joined into the music with him and the Celtics never stood a chance. This was one of those nights when the bell sounded and LeBron James came out of his corner with haymakers and hell's fury." [5/7/10]
On LeBron and vandalism: "LeBron James had reached high in Madison Square Garden, and snatched that final rebound, snatched Kobe Bryant's name off the marquee lights, and finally, legs aching, disappeared into a New York night." [2/5/09]
On LeBron and slow claps: "For most of his basketball life, Pat Riley had watched the game's greatest talent destroy him in the final minutes of Eastern Conference playoff games. It was Michael Jordan who obliterated his championship chases with the New York Knicks. Now, these somber, silenced Bulls fans were pushing past the emperor of the Miami Heat in Section 120 of the United Center, trudging to the exits. LeBron James had gone pure M.J. in the final, furious minutes and one of those shiny championship rings of Riley's sparkled as he clapped in the gathering silence on Wednesday night." [5/18/11]
On LeBron and an athletic sea monster: "They could leave everything in place for Dwyane Wade except for the fact that the Miami Heat no longer belong to him. A force of nature showed on the shores of Biscayne Bay, grabbed the ball and never looked back." [10/6/10]
On LeBron and nonexistent things: "Demons? Bogeymen? For LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and these Heat, maybe they're finally facing them now." [5/16/11]
On LeBron, The Making Of: "From USA Basketball threatening to ban him from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to a behind-the-scenes diva act in Cleveland, his infomercial on his personal cable TV network had been the stunning culmination of a lifetime." [5/31/11]
On LeBron and stretching the premise: "No one can doubt LeBron James' ambitions. He wants to be the biggest mogul this sport's ever seen and he'll likely start with the molding of the next big star's career. As he chased that championship, that MVP, James made it his business to chase John Wall, too. Yes, this is ambition like no one's ever seen in the sport. And yet as James discovered, it's one thing to come into the NBA with hype and famous associations, but another to live up to it all." [4/13/10]
On LeBron, crappy construction metaphors, and crappy metaphor construction: "All his excuses have expired, all the artificial rehabilitating of his image is useless. Nothing else matters until LeBron James beats the Boston Celtics. He doesn't need to wait to beat them once Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are past their primes, and Doc Rivers is done coaching, and the Celtics aura has been reduced to the rubble of rebuilding." [5/1/11]
On LeBron and girth: "Oh, the uneasiness and irony would've been thick had Kyrie Irving been seduced so easily and let LeBron James' inner circle represent him." [5/17/11]
On LeBron and respiration again: "The Heat are on a tour to deliver humiliation. They don't want to win, but destroy. Here come LeBron James and Dwyane Wade down the floor together, devastating when they're running right, when the talk stops and this breathless talent takes the ball." [10/30/10]
On LeBron and cars void of matter: "Free agency was forever LeBron James' chase, the Championship of Me, and how fitting that he uses the most vacuous vehicle of our time — the "Larry King Show" — to upstage an NBA Finals rich with such history and substance. As the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers gather for a championship series to remind us of what built the league, what made it great, here's LeBron James with a public ode on LeBron James." [6/2/10]
On LeBron and kind of the exact opposite of danger, right?: "Dwyane Wade has reclaimed control of these Miami Heat, restored himself as the Alpha Dog, and LeBron James has never been closer to a championship ring. And this is why he'll have to grit his teeth and understand this was always going to be part of the perilous path of chasing a title with a champion who's been there, done that." [6/6/11]
On LeBron and imagined peripheral stalking: "When James was hosting parties in Vegas, Durant was practicing with Team USA in the afternoons and his own trainers in the evening. When the Miami Heat walked out on a smoke-filled stage in South Florida, preening, declaring themselves perhaps the greatest threesome since the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Durant watched it all out of the corner of his eye – "The Decision," the parties, the self-congratulations – and kept coming for them in the gymnasium, and now, here in Istanbul at the world championships." [9/11/10]
On LeBron and staggering timepieces: "The clock was lurching toward midnight and LeBron James lagged in the back of the procession marching through the concrete corridor and out of Quicken Loans Arena, out of what suddenly felt like a long ago and faraway place." [12/3/10]
On LeBron and the melting point of redemption: "He dropped to his knees, bowed his head and turned his eyes away from the pulsating lights and party music. Finally, LeBron James had beaten them. All alone on the floor, he looked like a man soaked in some sort of salvation." [5/12/11]
On LeBron and centaurs: "In so many ways, he's a young Alex Rodriguez, so insecure with himself and his MVP awards, so desperate to find validation in the courtship of free agency." [6/2/10]
On LeBron and #winning: "Nevertheless, James distanced himself in losing again, after a season in which he sold himself as all for one, and one for all. James had been an MVP until the very final moments of the basketball season, and then, he embarrassed himself and acted like a petulant kid. In a world where everyone in his life is too fearful or too dependent, LeBron James goes into the summer believing his own nonsense that he walked out of this season a winner." [6/1/09]
On LeBron, PBS fundraising, taxes, and the scientific method: After all, James made a summertime pledge of multiple NBA championships for the Miami Heat – perhaps six, even seven. So winning an Eastern Conference semifinal series shouldn't be too taxing of an assignment. This is merely a minimal expectation for the enormity of the Heat's experiment. [5/1/11]
On LeBron and Job or something: "No more excuses. Not now, not after this biblical bottoming out that pushes the Cleveland Cavaliers to the brink of an unthinkable collapse." [5/12/10]
On LeBron and more anthropomorphized timepieces: "Midnight came on Tuesday, the calendar turned and wouldn't you know it: June's here, and LeBron James and these Miami Heat are creeping closer to self-proclaimed and self-ordained championship destiny." [6/1/11]
On LeBron and Restoring America's Honor: "As much as ever, James needs to rely on an America that confuses victory with virtue. He just needs the ball in his hands and mere mortals crumbling beneath him." [10/1/10]
On LeBron and Kyra Sedgwick's replacement, coming this fall on TNT: "The Championship of Me became the Championship of Flee, because LeBron James doesn't believe he can be the centerpiece of a title team. He needed Dwyane Wade, a closer, far more than Wade needed him." [7/9/10]
On LeBron and sustenance: "He'll get over it fast because that enormous ego will be nourished with the courtship of his lifetime, his free agency, and perhaps the hardest part will come sometime in July when James has to make a choice, pick a team and play there. Only then, the wooing of LeBron James will be complete and you have to wonder: How will King James ever live without that?" [5/14/10]
On LeBron and another sea monster, this one with an order of injunction: "These Heat have obliterated the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls, obliterated Mark Cuban's prophecy. Now they come to Game 1 on Tuesday night on the shores of Biscayne Bay with an unmistakable mandate: Win it all, or watch the nation rejoice in their failure." [5/27/11]
On LeBron and the Beatles: "Detroit? Cleveland? Toronto? San Antonio? Hey, why not? This is the magical, mystical LeBron James Free Agency Tour. Clear your space, bow to the King and take him at his word that only the chance for multiple championships will influence his decision." [11/26/08]
On LeBron, another quixotic sea monster, and demolition: "Together, they crashed into the shores of Biscayne Bay like a tsunami, the way that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade believed basketball would unfold night after night. They thrust themselves out of the laser lights and hazy smoke with lob dunks and long 3-pointers, a destruction so devastating that it reduced a championship contender to rubble." [10/30/10]
On LeBron and another determined clock: "The giant steel doors soon shut and they could no longer see James. The clock on the wall had pushed past midnight — 12:01 a.m. — and that bus would soon roll to the airport, to where all those sneaker reps and handlers and superstar Heat teammates had always wanted to take the NBA's two-time MVP: up and out of Cleveland." [12/3/10]
On LeBron and fundamental forces of nature: "So, LeBron James made the shot of his life and Kobe delivered 41 points, just like magnets, pulling toward each other, toward a forever Finals." [5/24/09]
On LeBron and another order of injunction, but no sea monster: "The pleasantries and phoniness are long gone out of this burgeoning blood war, and there's just this unmistakable mandate for the Heat on the way into the All-Star break, on the way toward an inevitable Eastern Conference playoff showdown: Sooner or later, they'll need to stop flexing and fronting, come down off that stage and beat the Celtics on the basketball court." [2/13/11]
On LeBron and merchandise: "This time, the Cavs have delivered James the supporting cast to do it. No more excuses. James comes armed for the Lakers now. He comes with his legacy on the line, measured in one indisputable and defining way: Before he beats him in the NBA Store, LeBron James needs to beat Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals." [3/2/10]
On LeBron and standing: "In this information age, there's no match for the star power and storylines of this blood-war series. And for everyone considering this the last stand of the Celtics, rest assured: In a different way, this is a last stand for LeBron James, too." [5/1/11]
On LeBron and Thunderdome, Christmas Edition: "Christmas Day at Staples Center, and the battle between basketball's two biggest stars has never been framed with such a resounding, rigid narrative. Two worlds clashing now, two ways for everything to go in this sport. Suddenly, this is LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant for the future of the National Basketball Association." [12/24/10]
On LeBron and the Third Punic War or some shit: "This is everything the Miami Heat imagined when they gathered James and Wade and Chris Bosh together. They planned an Eastern Conference coup, the complete and utter destruction of the Boston Celtics that promised to clear a path to the NBA Finals." [5/4/11]
On LeBron and overestimation: "Now, LeBron goes and gets the biggest bully of all, Shaquille O'Neal, and brings him back to the gym for next season. The greatest storyline in the sport returns to relevance, with Shaquille O'Neal back in the chase for his fifth championship. Dwight and Stan, Kobe and Phil are waiting in the distance now, and Shaq is desperate to have the final word for them all.
"The hate fuels his fury, inspires his journey and the Cavaliers need to stoke it all within Shaq. Here Shaq comes to Cleveland, here comes hell to pay." [6/25/09]
On LeBron and a Fantastic Voyage: "Judgment promised to be harsh and swift had they let these Celtics climb back into the series, let the Celtics heap upon the Heat a bigger burden to try and topple them in these Eastern Conference semifinals. The Heat could win this series without ever winning in Boston, but they believed it was imperative to claim complete control and deliver a blow to the Celtics where they lived. They needed to dispose of the Celtics and needed to do it in the belly of this belligerent beast." [5/10/11]
On LeBron and eccentric Bond villain demands: "Free agency starts at midnight ET, and the first order of business will be a billionaire's presentation promising LeBron James nothing short of what he's always wanted: the world." [6/30/10]
On LeBron and good parenting: "No more running, LeBron. No more hiding. Finally, there's someone to confront James. There's someone who isn't held hostage, who isn't terrified of telling him, 'No.' Opening night, a sluggish loss to the Celtics, and none of it mattered so much in late October. Cleveland is long gone, and so needs to be the perpetual adolescence of that cocoon. He's under Old Man Riles' watch now, and that could change everything for LeBron James. That could complete him." [10/27/10]
On LeBron and mixed-metaphor zingers: "'I'm the ringleader,' he told King.
"Only, he has no rings.
"No shame." [6/2/10]
On LeBron and a confused, disappointed dad: "Stop strutting, stop preening, stop stomping away as an ungracious winner, a sore loser, and win something, LeBron." [5/12/10]
On LeBron and how annoying thematic repetition can be: "It was happening again. God, it was happening again here. Another championship season had come crashing down on Cleveland, cruel and criminal. The Cavaliers had unraveled and now there were some fans — speechless and ashen — marching up the stairs and disappearing to the exits. They weren't thinking about the possibility of LeBron James getting one final shot for redemption, but Michael Jordan and John Elway and every damn dagger ever delivered to this city's swollen sporting heart." [5/23/09]
On LeBron and nothingness: "Greatest talent to ever walk into this league, the self-proclaimed King, and now everyone gets a front-row, primetime seat for how it means to live without self-awareness, without restraint. The vacuous star for our vacuous times, live on Thursday night and fitting himself for a ring as the undisputed Champion of Me. All about ‘Bron and all about nothing." [7/7/10]
On LeBron and vindictive plebiscites: "The Championship of Me has come of age, come to its moment of truth, and LeBron James needs to rediscover something he's lost along the way in these NBA Finals. Referendum on his resolve, his resiliency, his greatness. All now, all coming for him." [6/8/11]
On LeBron and the lord of the sea monsters: "In all the ways that the smoke and blinking lights on that balmy July night would haunt LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, it had been someone else's vanity that had thrust them into a mid-summer's championship parade. Pat Riley lords over everything on the shores of Biscayne Bay, an emperor and a kingdom of his creation. When James saluted him in the hysteria of that evening, the old man smiled and nodded and let the ovation wash over him." [3/10/11]
On LeBron and rubbernecking: "What a spectacle, what a train wreck.
"What a shame." [7/9/10]
On LeBron and peyote: LeBron James is on the clock now, and Game 6 in Boston could be for his legacy in Cleveland. He has been prancing around the edges for too long now, angling for a transcendent existence he believed his brand could bring him. Only, it's all a mirage. It's all vapor until he does the heavy lifting that comes now, that comes in the shadows of Magic and Larry, Michael and Kobe. [5/12/10]
On LeBron and another vindictive plebiscite: "For now, the coronation of King James has stalled, replaced with the resurfacing referendum on his resolve, his resiliency, an acid test on his championship chase." [6/8/11]
On LeBron and bizarre monarchical tradition: "Had these Heat come to the Eastern Conference finals expecting a coronation, a victory lap on the resurrection of a jagged season, the Bulls were waiting in the shadows of a dark alley, waiting for the whistling Heat to come strutting around the corner and catch a 2x4 upside their heads." [5/16/11]
On LeBron and self-flagellation: "They had titles, and they would've mutilated themselves for public consumption. James is too cool, too stubborn and maybe too self-unaware. This is on me, they would've told you, and, I'll get us out of this. They would've made sure teammates and opponents, fans and enemies understood. They would've made sure the whole world understood: This isn't how an MVP plays in the playoffs. This isn't how he lets a legacy linger in limbo." [5/12/10]
On LeBron and Judgement Day: "For their personal demons, they treated this like some kind of Armageddon.
"And now, all those demons danced away, disappearing into the darkest reaches of the arena." [5/10/11]
On LeBron and eccentric orbits: "Greatness is demanded for a global icon. Greatness is the burden. Back to the brink for LeBron James, back to the dizzying, dumbfounding edge of his chaotic, careening planet." [6/10/11]
On LeBron and Judgement Day 2: Coming This Christmas: "LeBron James has embraced the villain role in a most unprecedented way, pushing away from his peers and aligning himself with David Stern, Dan Gilbert and the owners desperate to destroy the Players Association. He left the sport stunned on Christmas Eve, searching for an understanding of why he would go so far to undermine the union on the cusp of an apocalyptic collective bargaining brawl." [12/24/10]
On LeBron and the Matrix: "There's nothing real about James' world, and never has been. He's a prisoner of a life that his sycophants and enablers and our sporting culture has created for him. He's rich and talented and something of a tortured soul. He's the flawed superstar for these flawed times. He's a creation of a basketball breeding ground full of such twisted priorities and warped principles." [6/13/11]
On LeBron, more nothingness, and South Dakota: "The Championship of Me comes crashing into a primetime cable infomercial that LeBron James and his cronies have been working to make happen for months, a slow, cynical churning of manufactured drama that sports has never witnessed. As historic monuments go, this is the Rushmore of basketball hubris and narcissism. The vacuous star for our vacuous times. All about ‘Bron and all about nothing." [7/7/10]
On LeBron, ocular shrouding, and rubbernecking again: "They ended up with that split-screen of the King's jersey burned live on his infomercial, as this sad, lost robot sat in a leafy suburban gymnasium with children as props and the world watching, those empty eyes masking a lost, dazed LeBron James. This was the champagne shower for the Championship of Me, an exercise in self-aggrandizement and self-loathing that will have far-reaching implications for the NBA and James. What a spectacle, what a train wreck." [7/9/10]
On LeBron and more #winning: "Sometimes they've made it so easy for everyone to feel such dark, brooding emotion for them. Sometimes they've invited it, embraced it, considered it a companion on the championship chase. James is the epicenter, but here's something we always knew: Winning would change everything. Everything. It always does and it always will." [5/27/11]
On LeBron and fluid dynamics: "He's the deepest, darkest swirling vortex of insanity that modern sports has ever seen." [6/10/11]
On LeBron and knighthood: "'Beast!' Bieber exclaimed.
"'Yes sir!' James demurred.
"Yes sir, indeed." [12/18/10]