The Man with the Gladiator Tattoo

The Man with the Gladiator Tattoo
May 29, 2012, 7:42 pm
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Like most NBA superstars or really, most NBA players not named Ray Allen or Greg Stiemsma LeBron James sports a ridiculous number of tattoos.

He has Chosen 1 inked across his back. His arms feature a lion head, the words "Beast" and "Hold My Own" as well as homages to both his sons, his mother and his hometown of Akron. He has Witness running down his right leg, History on his left leg, Family on his right rib cage, and L and J on his left and right triceps. He also has a dragon on his chest, and a picture of Dan Gilbert on his butt crack. And that's not all. But for the sake of this post, I'm only going to mention one more.

It's the tattoo prominently and fittingly on display in the image of LeBron taunting KG down the stretch of last night's game; the second in a two-part tat that extends across LeBron's biceps and reads: "What we do in life echoes in eternity."

It's a quote from Gladiator, LeBron's favorite movie, and really couldn't be more perfect when you consider the round the clock talk of LeBron's legacy and his uncanny ability to screw everything up.

Take for example, the incident in question:

Now, I'm not about to lecture LeBron for big timing Garnett, because the truth is that if KG did the same thing to LeBron, it would have been the highlight of the season. I would have watched it on loop all afternoon and not stopped until my eyes started bleeding. We all would have loved it.

When you deliver a beating like the Heat did to the C's last night, and you have the kind of history that these teams do, a reaction like LeBron's is fair game. Anything is. So he wants to act like that? All the power to him.

My only question is: Why would he want to? Given everything we know about LeBron. His unquestionable reputation as one of the game's greatest frontrunners and most formidable chokers. The fact that as recently as last week, he was right back in that all-to-familiar place aka, on the game's biggest stage, standing in the corner with his tail between his legs and terrified to touch the ball. Why make things harder than they have to be? How is it possible for one guy to have such a ridiculous lack of foresight and self-awareness and not realize that something like this will only make his next choke job that much more pathetic. That much more satisfying for the haters. And only cloud eternity's memory of what he accomplishes in his basketball life.

Who knows? I guess that's just LeBron. Part of what makes him so great, and certainly part of what makes him such a flawed and unbelievably unlikable character.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine