The Case Study of Lebron James: Does Success Bring the Worst Out of People?

One of the sayings I love is the one which says, “Money and success don’t change you; it shows the world more of who you already are”.  Can the same thing come from seeing someone else have success? People love to cheer for the underdog but what about when the underdog becomes the Top Dog? Is there still love for the person when they have finally reached success? We as a society seem to love to build people up and then on the other hand tear them down when they get high. This guest post this week is from Mark Anthony Harris( @darcwonn) of one that attacks this idea when it comes to one Lebron James.


Lebron James is presently one of the most disliked figures in basketball and sports altogether.

People can say what they want about it, but they know it is true. From blog posts, to Facebook commentary, to even Photoshop induced pictorials, Lebron James has been ridiculed. Some of it is fair, yet so much of it is unwarranted. For a man that was ordained “King James” without even winning a NBA championship, people became irritated. With the incessant hype beasts either praising him or throwing rocks at his “throne”, he stayed in public eye. Yet, he finally won his coveted championship by being the leader on the Miami Heat. In turn, one would think that some of the hate would subside now that he “lived up to the hype”.

Newsflash: people still hate the man. Some say success ends all criticisms. I haven’t found that to be true in this case, though.

Then it dawned on me: success can bring the worst out of people. Whether the success is deserved or not should be considered. Still, that aspect can sadly become irrelevant. When you have people so willing to harp on any/every aspect to tear down another’s character to the point of nigh-defamation, one should begin to be at least slightly concerned. It leaves me awestruck to witness people tear others down because that person is successful. In truth, I am starting to see that some people don’t want others to win.

But why is that?

Well, one reason is the sake of competition. For so many people, it is all about survival of the fittest. When they are applauding a successful person’s fall from grace, it is the elation towards replacing them (maybe). Now, the likelihood (on average) of replacing that person may not even be that great. Still, self-serving individuals look forward to someone else’s failure to add to their rate of success.

Another reason is just pure jealousy/envy. Many people look at themselves as disasters. Also, people feel that they should be “doing better” while someone else is “getting all of the fame and fortune”. These feelings turn into pure resentment. That resentment can evolve into jealousy and envy. Thus, some hate the successful because they want to make themselves feel better about their failures.

Then there is one unique group that some don’t always consider: those that are left behind. We all know the type: they were once down with someone who ended up being successful. Once that success is reached, the successful leave their friends/families/former business partners behind. This is more than just simple resentment and jealousy. This is something way more personal. This is the feeling of abandonment.

Big K.R.I.T. said it best on “Don’t Let Me Down”: But I can’t fault them for their feelings ‘cause I know the score/its hard to celebrate for others when you dying poor.

While there are reasons for people to hate those that are successful, in the end someone still loses. It could be the successful, the failure, or both. At some point, people need to realize that success and failure is a measure of expectations. Other times, they need to start focusing on their own and ignore others. Still, one should never hate another because of the latter’s success, deserving or not. In the end, too much focus is given on disliking others when it should be spent on improving their plight.

‘Nuff said and ‘Nuff respect!!

Make sure you check out this week’s episode of the “Straight Outta Lo Cash” Radio Show. This week’s show “Give Lebron James A Break like Neil Carter”.You can also subscribe to the show on I-Tunes or listen on your Android, I-Phone, I-Pad or Black berry of Stitcher Radio.

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27 responses to “The Case Study of Lebron James: Does Success Bring the Worst Out of People?

  1. Envy indeed brings out the worst in people. I think that with success of those envied, the ones envying only become more resolved in their hatred. This is what the LeBron saga reveals. Not only is he a great talent, but he’s like Chicken George…working to buy his freedom. Rather than buying into the shitstem which says he must be like Mike, in persona and attitude towards competition, he decided (w/ D. Wade & Bosh) to chart a different course. Rather than applaud his tough “Decision,” fans jumped on the owners’ (i.e. Massa’s) bandwagon, and became agents of Massa’s vitriol. Such a shame…it must be reiterated, as Marley said: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery…”

    • Jabriel: I agree with the majority of what you say. I didn’t understand the madness behind his decision…unless you lived in/are a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Otherwise, he made the smart decision.

      • Word…it was definitely his decision to make. And after seeing the words of Dan Gilbert, I can’t blame him at all for making it. He owed Cleveland nothing more than he had already given them.

        I can understand Cleveland fans being broken hearted…not upset. They acted as though the Negro had run off to a Free State. Lol

  2. I see what you are saying in this post BUT lebron James is a punk ass dude and their is very good reasons why people hate on him “The Decision”. The way he left Cleveland, dancing around, and talking shit. He is a ho ass dude simply but good post

    • So, he’s a hoe ass dude for making a decision that was his to make? Or the fact that ESPN made it into a big fiasco by broadcasting it while he donated the proceeds to a charity of his choice? I’m not defending his decision on any grounds. But wasn’t that HIS decision to make? He owed Cleveland nothing.

  3. I very much appreciate the post’s call for us to engage in a higher level of thinking and to focus more on self-improvement. I think fair and useful critiques of Lebron are still needed and beneficial, including those that center on how he has handled his success prior to winning a championship and post-championship. Good job!

    • And I’m all for the critical observations of how he handles his situation. Critique the man. Hell, I know I have. There have been many times when he “lost interest” or “became distant” while he was on the court. Personally, I wouldn’t have even done a broadcast show to announce anything.

      But a lot of his criticism has to do with silly stuff (his decision to leave and team up with people that could play) that holds NO barring on his ability to play. People are complaining about him doing what is actually LEGAL in the league: taking advantage of free agency. Screw that.

    • I feel that. But a lot of his accolades were earned. Maybe not his nickname (King James?), but everything else was earned. He worked for much of what he has acquired. He has too many detractors to NOT work for what he has.

      Therefore, this article was NOT written for those like you. LOL!

  4. The truth is success is something that media outlets attempt to neatly package and sell to the masses. The aim is to provide a fantasy just out of reach in order to keep people purchasing the next product or buying into the belief system that just might make them the next “Big Thing”.

    Reality is, the carrot that is dangled is often times never truly there in the first place. The rented cars, the company or label purchased homes, the borrowed jewelry, nothing more than smoke and mirrors to create an image that millions find desirable.

    There is no such thing as over night success. LeBron is the product of years of sacrifice financial investment, and hard work. But all we’re shown is the result. If people truly knew what it took to become famous and maintain relevance in the public eye, they’d think twice about chasing the dragon…

  5. Great Post…..but IMO, I think there’s too much distraction, interest, attraction and attention being paid to Mr. James….why do you ask? First, I believe there are a far MORE important people who could serve as a better example….we all know what it is…when we hear, “Oh, they’re worth how much? Oh, they MUST be with the illuminati, or the occult.” Really? But NO ONE accuses Warren Buffet or Bill Gates of being associated with it.

    Second, I really don’t give a damn about Lebron James. At the end of the day…I’ve got TOO many things on my big plate….plus, there are other things, we as a people need to handle…the sky may not be falling…but we’re not riding high either……..

    One Love,


    • I mean, that’s always going to be the case because he’s a polarizing figure. Polarizing figures will always grab a headline or two. But, I’m not getting into any other figure because I wanted someone that is CONSTANTLY criticized regardless…..good, bad, or indifferent. The only other person I would have chosen is Barack O’Bama if we wanted to take it there.

      And I understand that you don’t give a damn about the man. Personally, nor do I. But his example setting makes for worthwhile conversation when we are talking about people disliking someone for the sake of disliking them. And yes, there are other issues that should be handled. But how can we handle other issues when we sit up here and put energy into another man’s achievements/lackthereof?


      • ahhh…..LJ is NOT a polarizing figure…….that word is very rooted in and associated with opposing views in POLITICS. This is not poIitics. Herman Cain is polarizing. But, I’m not opposing you, @darcwonn. To me, this thing with Lebron is just simply a classic “Crabs In a Barrel” thang….and I REFUSE to get caught up in it…….

        • “Polarizing” is a word. It can be used however it shall be used. It doesn’t have to be political in nature. It is USUALLY political in nature, but it doesn’t have to be. Therefore, we can say that people are usually divided about him: either love or loathe. There are others that don’t care….which will always be around. Otherwise, people love or loathe the man.

          And I’m not feeding into it, either. I’m stating what “is” and “isn’t”.

    • A critical exploration of Lebron allows for us to identify those “far more important people” you refer to. Additionally, a critical exploration of Lebron enables us to see valuable things as a people we should and should not do. Therefore, Lebron should not be simply ignored.

      • A critical exploration of Lebron? Are you serious?

        Sounds like a critical obsession…wit’ dat dude….that’s cray fam…..

        • The post offers us a critical exploration of Lebron to give us something substantive we can take away from his experience. Therefore, there’s nothing crazy about that, except for to not acknowledge that this is what the post does. Yes, there are many people obsessed with Lebron. However, this presents us with a great opportunity to assess the positives and negatives about such an “obsession.” Any person’s life is worthy of a critical exploration.

        • Yes, a critical exploration. Anybody in the public eye deserves a critical exploration. Hell, people NOT publicly known/famous/infamous can serve as great examples of what to do and what not to do. You can learn something from anybody. If you don’t learn anything, at least you can find confirmation in what you already understand.

  6. Pingback: How Do You Know You Lack Emotional Intelligence? | Wealthy Money·

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