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updated: 6/12/2012 12:48 AM

LeBron neither evil nor Jordan

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  • The nationwide hatred toward Miami Heat forward LeBron James seems a bit over the top, says Barry Rozner.

      The nationwide hatred toward Miami Heat forward LeBron James seems a bit over the top, says Barry Rozner.
    Associated Press

 
 

It's easy to see why Bulls fans dislike LeBron James.

Celtics fans certainly feel the same way.

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But the level of hatred directed toward James around the rest of the basketball world is baffling.

Not only do I not hate James, I find myself rooting for him to grab that elusive NBA title.

The only thing I hate about him is that he's not more driven to win, that he doesn't seem to need it, and that he'd rather not have the ball when it matters most.

What it boils down to is I hate that he's not Michael Jordan, because James had a chance to be the greatest of all time if he cared to be.

But I don't hate LeBron James.

On the contrary, he's the best player in the world and a physical specimen perhaps unmatched in NBA history.

He can guard any position on the court, can play the point as well as he plays small or power forward, and at 6-feet-8, 260 pounds, he can start the break, run the break or finish the break as well as anyone in the game.

LeBron James is an absolute freak.

But he'll never be Michael Jordan because he doesn't need to be. For some of us it's hard to understand and even more difficult to accept, but the reality is not every person is born and bred to win the way Jordan was. Not every human possesses that gene.

It's disappointing, but no reason to hate.

The "Decision" was foolish at best and disturbing at worst, but the end result was a free agent played by the rules and chose to play with his buddies in Miami.

Deal with it.

If there's another grand reason to dislike James, maybe it's that most people are just angry he didn't pick their NBA city.

That's also too flippin' bad.

James doesn't have to be -- he can't be -- all that the NBA wants him to be, whether it's humble, a winner or a closer.

He's paid to play basketball, and it's darn enjoyable watching him take teams apart when he decides to take over a game.

Here's hoping that in the NBA Finals he finds within him that desire to win it all.

Jordan played in six Finals, won all of them and took home the MVP each time.

LeBron James is already 0-for-2 and has been known to disappear in the very same moments when Jordan became larger than life.

We already know James will never be Michael Jordan.

But the best player in the world ought to be able to win at least one title.

Jorge Soler

After passing on Yoenis Cespedes, this was the Cubs' last big chance to overspend internationally. So Theo Epstein had to sign Jorge Soler, even if it meant going far beyond what they wanted at $30 million and more than other clubs were willing to pay.

Bulls facility

There's rumors around town that the Blackhawks will join the Bulls in building a new practice facility downtown, but the Hawks say there's nothing to it and they're happy at Johnny's West.

Anthony Rizzo

Based on his short stint with San Diego last year, if the Cubs call up Anthony Rizzo after June 22, Rizzo will be short a full year of service, and the Cubs will still have Rizzo for six more years after this season. So keep in mind that date for Rizzo, who hit his 19th and 20th home runs Sunday for Iowa (AAA).

Chris Sale

At 8-2 with a 2.05 ERA and a major-league leading WHIP of 0.92, it's no surprise that Chris Sale is the current leader for the A.L. Cy Young Award based on ESPN's Cy Young predictor.

R.A. Dickey

The Mets' R.A. Dickey leads the N.L. Cy predictor at 9-4, with a 2.44 ERA and a ridiculous WHIP of 1.44 for a knuckleballer. No knuckleball pitcher has ever won the Cy Young.

The White Sox' Wilbur Wood finished a close second to Gaylord Perry in 1972 when Wood went 24-17 with a 2.51 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 20 complete games and 8 shutouts in 49 starts (376 innings pitched). Perry went 24-16 with a 1.92 ERA in 40 starts, 342 innings and a WHIP of 0.97.

In 1969, Phil Niekro (23-13) finished a distant second to Tom Seaver (25-7). In the final days of that season, Niekro started three games in seven days and won all three as the Braves won the division.

Sox starters

A six-man rotation sounds like a great way to protect the arms of Jake Peavy and Chris Sale, but with John Danks on the disabled list, and Phil Humber and Gavin Floyd pitching poorly, they don't currently possess five, let alone six legit arms.

Isiah Thomas Award

To Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, for walking off the court without shaking hands in the waning moments of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The quote

Forgive him if you've heard this before, but this was the Marlins' Carlos Zambrano after leaving Saturday's game with a back injury: "I learned something today. I learned it's not about being a hero. It's about being smart. Even if you've been in the big leagues for 11 years, you learn something every day."

Just wondering

Emailer Dan Marich, on the Tommy Lasorda news: "Is a 'mild' heart attack one that doesn't happen to you?"

Best headline

Sportspickle.com: "Justin Blackmon admits he has struggled with depression and alcohol abuse since being drafted by the Jaguars."

And finally …

Omaha World-Herald's Brad Dickson: "Manny Ramirez said, 'God didn't bring me to Oakland to fail.' Actually, if God sent you to Oakland, I believe that's a sign you're being punished."

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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