Remember the old Sara Lee cake commercial with that
song "Everybody doesn't like something, but nobody
doesn't like Sara Lee"?
My brother likes everybody, certainly doesn't hate anybody.
But Lebron James.
Gary Saunders is possibly the nicest, most mild-mannered human being you could meet, able to remain genuinely good-humored even when I call and wake him up at 3 in the morning. He's compassionate and kind - except when it comes to Lebron.
"I HATE LEBRON!" he bellows whenever we talk basketball. So strong is his disdain for James that one could easily assume that Lebron stole his prom date or something personal like that.
If that were the case, the dude must've stolen a lot of prom dates - because in the barbershop where I get my 'do done and on the courts where I play basketball and tennis, Lebron is loathed by almost as many dudes as he's loved by.
Their reasons for hating Lebron are nebulous and non-specific, suspiciously similar to the reasons some give for hating former President Obama: He's arrogant, they say, as though somebody could become the best basketball player in the world - or president - without being arrogant.
Do you really think Abraham Lincoln didn't have an ego? Or Michael Jordan?
I was indifferent to James for years: Sure, he was great, but he didn't inspire strong feelings pro or con - until I realized how many people, regardless of race or political leanings, loathe him for no reason they can articulate.
Do Lebron's teams knock yours out of the playoffs every year?
In that case, you've got a reason to be salty with him, even though you could still respect his game or the way he carries himself off the court.
This is, after all, a guy who has been in the national spotlight since he was 15 or 16 and has hardly made a misstep. One dude in the barbershop actually said he didn't like Lebron because he drove a Hummer in high school.
Sure, pal. Would you have liked him more if he'd driven a Yugo?
Are you among those who are still clutching your pearls and going "Shame" because he left Cleveland for Miami? Or Cleveland for L.A.?
Gee, what young millionaire wouldn't want to be in Miami or L.A.?
Whatever the reason for the brew of Bron haterade so many seem to sip, it was perhaps best summed up by another player who was beloved only by his immediate family and home fans, Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt was, as Lebron is, bigger, faster and better than everybody else.
"Nobody," Wilt astutely noted, "roots for Goliath."
If you find a player - or preacher, teacher or anyone else - who is beloved by everyone, toward whom no one can take offense, chances are they haven't said or done anything worthwhile.
After the president tweeted his thoughts on Lebron's intellect, Chamberlain's main on-court nemesis, Bill Russell, responded that being criticized by Trump "is the biggest compliment you can get."