As LeBron James moves so to does the ire of Washington Wizards fans. Oftentimes it is difficult to separate a fan's disdain for a team as an entity and those players who labor for the hated rivals. Washington Redskins fans, for example, hate the Dallas Cowboys whether Tony Romo is quarterbacking the team or Troy Aikman. It doesn't matter who suit up in the blue and white, they are going to be booed lustily by Redskins fans no matter their previous affiliations or accomplishments. Mother Teresa could suit up as a kicker for the Cowboys and she could still expect to get an earful from the FedEx faithful.
LeBron James transcends this locality of dislike. Wizards fans have a long history of malice towards the self-anointed "Chosen One," as he feuded his way towards evicting the Wizards from the playoffs on what seems like eighteen occasions. Now that James has "taken his talents to South Beach," the Miami Heat have become a fixture of dislike in the Sauron-like eye of Wizards fans. What was once an annoying team that beat us regularly due to flopping of Dwyane Wade and egregious fouls of Udonis Haslem has become a true enemy due to the arrival of James and follow-the-leader lemming Chris Bosh. James former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have been relegated to the dustbin of history, another Eastern Conference bottom feeder who stand in the way of the Wizards making a push for the 8th seed.
It should also be remembered that Wizards fans were first in disliking LeBron James. While the mainstream media and casual fans were oohing and aahing over James' play and competitiveness, we were pointing to his sulking demeanor and over the top theatrics. Things like the "crab-dribble" or "touching the lip to make sure its not bleeding" drove us crazy from the outset, it has taken the creation of a super team to make the rest of the country aware of of how annoying James can be. Watch - James has now probably put me on his "mental checklist."
That is why a victory over the Miami Heat is not just a desire but a necessity for Washington Wizards fans. LeBron James is the Penguins, Cowboys and Duke all rolled into one bandwagon following package. A victory tonight is a start to a new rivalry. I hope DeShawn Stevenson is watching.