If LeBron James really wants to be taken seriously as a heel, he's going to have spend a little more time watching pro wrestling and a little less time at the TweetDeck.
I mean, he's trying to be as obnoxious as he can manage in his new role as The Man Who Jilted The Hero's Cape, but his heart clearly isn't in it. I mean, he had a chance Tuesday night in the aftermath of Cleveland's preposterous 112-57 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles, and here's what he brought:
|Would Hulk Hogan use Twitter to tweak his opponents? No way. (Getty Images)|
Well, that won't do at all. True villains don't tweet their disdain –- never have, never will. That's the high-tech equivalent of a nine-year-old in the back window of the school bus flipping off the car behind him.
It is clear that James has some say-so to the Cavaliers, owner Dan Gilbert and the fans he left behind. Fine. Everyone gets to judge their own sensitivities their own way.
And he certainly had his day when the Miami Heat went to Cleveland, clowning them fairly consistently as great players do when the opponent is overmatched.
But when he decided to pile on via thumbs as the Cavs were being obliterated by the Lakers, he ended up looking smaller than he meant to.
One, he didn't help the Lakers. Two, the Cavs are plenty horrible anyway -- Manny Harris became the record-holder in the plus-minus era with a minus-57. And he played 41 minutes. Three, he didn't really break any news here.
But if he wants to put the boot in, and he clearly does, he needs to put the boot in. He needs to be the villain in the most villainous way possible in these more civilized times.
What he does is go to the morning shootaround and hold the chat with the writers and mike jockeys and talk two coats and smack with primer. Dog the Cavs from Gilbert on down to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Make light of Harris' new record. You know, talk the junk.
Either that, or he should be above the fray and say nothing about a team that is light years behind his own, so bad it may end up 50 games behind at season's end.
But tweeting? And then invoking the Deity? Please.
I mean, God may see everything, but there's a lot He/She/It doesn't give a whole hell of a lot about (pun intended). The Cleveland Cavaliers are on that list, right below "Is there too much processed sugar in pudding?"
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So now his tweet is smack without effort (bad form), and it assumes facts not in evidence (God caring), and karma is not so much a bitch as it is a construct of human beings and therefore neither good nor bad.
He is right that it's not right to wish bad on anyone, but the rules of public engagement clearly spell out the ways in which one can show disapproval.
And it isn't with your damn thumbs, 'Bron.
You tweet directions to your club. You give shout-outs to your friends. You praise your favorite team and dog your best friend's favorite team. You review movies, restaurants, members of the opposite sex.
But you don't advance your place as Public Enemy No. 1 with a tweet. It's too small a weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.
In short, the world of public opprobrium works just like every other career. If LeBron James wants to talk it, he has to walk it, and in this case, he needs to study at the feet of wrestling's greatest heels -- Bobby "the Brain" Heenan, Larry Zbyszko, Triple-H, whoever. Maybe wearing a mask would help.
Just put down the phone, 'Bron. If you have to say it, say it with shouts and points and arm-waves and maybe a little bit of spittle forming at the corners of your mouth, and close in on the camera lens. Little tiny tap-tap-taps from the privacy of the back room at the club, the front room of the house, or the hotel room are simply beneath you.
And one other thing -- leave God out of it. If He/She/It really is paying attention, He/She/It is going to show us all how bitchy karma can get. Don't go asking for it, unless you're ready to pay full retail.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.com.