(for just $20, you can show the world which side you’re on)

A few days after Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert professed to zero regrets over the fuck-off-and-die missive he aimed at the departing LeBron James last June, ESPN.com’s Vincent Thomas notes that LBJ’s negative Q rating amongst African-Americans is largely unchanged since “The Decision”.   Citing black support for such figures as Barry Bonds, Allen Iverson and Michael Vick, Thomas argues, “as America hates LeBron more and more, Black America’s collective hug embraces LeBron tighter and tighter. It’s called black protectionism.”

if folks just said, “Eh, I don’t really like the guy — I think he’s kind of a jerk,” the black protectionism probably wouldn’t be so strong. But there are yahoos in Cleveland burning his jersey, brewing smarmy beer called “Quitness,” and putting up ingrate billboards. Frothy-mouthed Cavs owner Dan Gilbert made like Syndrome from “The Incredibles,” sending out a maniac missive, stopping just short of calling down evil upon LeBron. Even NBA legends — mostly black men, coincidentally — got in on the action. Charles Barkley called LeBron’s free agency choice a “punk move.” It seems everybody and their mothers have weighed in to let LeBron know just how much they don’t like him.

And for what? Why? Because “The Decision” was annoying and self-indulgent? I’m sorry, but Brett Favre was nowhere to be found on The Q Scores Co.’s top 10 most disliked list. And, dig this: America dislikes LeBron more than it dislikes Ben Roethlisberger. That’s just not deserved. So, you know what? Enter the ride-or-die black community.

“The more LeBron is vilified,” Russell-Brown said, “the more the community will respond. Protectionism comes in as a tempering.”

During a recent airport terminal walk-thru, Vincent claims to have spotted as many as 6 black men donning James’ no. 6 Miami jersey, a fashion statement the author claims is akin to, “screw the rest of these folks, LeBron, I’m riding with you, homeboy.”  As opposed to, say, “I’m a sickening front-runner and my Yankees/Duke/Cowboys swag is in the wash”.