Is LeBron James the Celtics' biggest rival today?

First, let me preface this post by saying I am not a LeBron hater. In fact, I was always a fan especially after I saw highlights of his play from high school.

The downloading revolution had just begun and this was my first introduction to "King James" on the Kazaa file sharing network. I was literally jumping out of my seat I was so blown away by this high school kid's talent (This is why I think the Andrew Wiggins comparisons are ludicrous but that's a topic for another day).

Although LeBron was a rival at Cleveland, I still was a fan just because I'm a fan of basketball and appreciate the game. In fact, D-Wade was my favorite player that didn't wear a Celtic jersey for a very long time. These days I have a basketball crush on the Pacers' Paul George and, of course, the Rockets James Harden (Arizona State University's own).

My first real negativity toward LeBron, like many people's, came after "The Decision."

I was in Orange County visiting my old friend Rob Cavanaugh. The friendship persisted even through some recent contentiousness due to Rob being a Laker fan. Anyhow, I stepped off the plane and was walking through the terminal with Rob when I stopped to look up at a television in one of the bars. There was LeBron: "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat."

How could one of the greatest talents the game has ever seen go and team up with another superstar instead of creating a legacy all his own with, let's say, The Knicks? Or, as sentimental as it might have seemed, be loyal to his home and the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Soon thereafter, I was even more annoyed, with what I like to call "The Dance Party USA way" - The Heat organization introduced him, Chris Bosh and D-Wade.

Here are some of LeBron's other news items from recent years:

- The far too premature comparisons to Michael Jordan.

- Anyone even insinuating that he might already be the greatest small forward of all time - greater than "Larry Legend?" (And that's even if the Heat do win it all this year, which I do not believe they will. My pick for this season is The Indiana Pacers).

- Him having a DJ in his room 24 hours a day at The Olympics.

- Everyone being so impressed with his dunk on Jason Terry. That was not dunking on someone. This highlight of KJ dunking on Hakeem "The Dream" Olajawon is someone getting dunked on.

- His calling out KG and Paul Pierce saying they needed to apologize to Ray Allen even though the circumstances were entirely different.

- LeBron getting dunked on by Jonas Valanciunas (Truthfully, by definition I don't even really think LeBron got "dunked on" by Valanciunas. Although he did get "posterized" as did Terry and there's a difference).

- Then, even after that happening, still having his own personal dance party that same night against The Raptors.

- Finally, LeBron getting lit up by the Green Monster last night in Miami.

In truth, even though I've been annoyed by the above, I still do not hate LeBron. He is the greatest player in the game right now and last season was clutch enough in the playoffs to take a step in the direction of being mentioned in the same conversation with the all-time greats.

Photo provided courtesy of

Follow Clint on Twitter @coolhandc