With his Miami Heat now down 2-1 to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, LeBron James is facing criticism from all sides once again.
This go-round it’s from UFC and mixed martial arts fighter Chael Sonnen.
During an appearance on Showtime’s “The Jim Rome Show”, the 36-year-old specifically targeted James, and questioned why an NBA title is considered a world championship, as originally pointed out by Yahoo!Sports.
"I think LeBron's a dork," Sonnen said. "He won one world championship, and that was in the Olympic Games. It's so aggravating to hear a title be called a 'world champion' when it's only done in America. It's not a global event where the whole world can participate. You didn't win a world title. You won a national title."
Sonnen followed that up with: “LeBron James is a nerd.”
Giving no explanation other than two simple declarative statements, Sonnen actually got wild applause from the studio audience, a sign that James’s image may be taking another slide.
The discussion began when Rome asked his panel why James has become beloved again, considering he was one of the most hated athletes in the world after he left the Cleveland Cavaliers for Miami in 2010.
James hadn’t won a title at that point, and left Cleveland via a nationally televised program called “The Decision”, giving no heads up to Cavaliers officials, especially owner Dan Gilbert. Cleveland fans, as well as basketball fans around the country, called the show arrogant and disrespectful to the city that nutured James while he grew into a superstar.
Three years later, and James has captured an NBA title, and led Team USA to the 2012 gold medal in London. His image has certainly done a complete 180-degree turn, and Rome did say he understood that winning heals many wounds.
It’s unclear why Sonnen has it out for James or the NBA, and if he should even speak up considering he’s been knocked out in his last two fights. Sonnen suffered to TKOs, the first at the hands of Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight crown back in July, and the most recent one to Jon Jones in the first round of a light heavyweight championship bout in April.