Let's say a rival company offers you more money to do the same thing you're doing for your current employer. You jump ship, right? That's what Julius Peppers did in in 2010. Now Carolina fans plan to get revenge by saying the word, "Boo," to a giant man making millions of dollars. Yeah. That'll hurt.
Columnists desperate to fill newspaper space with something other than the status of Jay Cutler's brain shards suggest Peppers is Carolina's LeBron James. Poppycock. We have an impressive list with numbers to refute this claim.
1. Peppers is Han Solo. LeBron is C-3PO. Han Solo is all, like, "I want money and I don't care about your princess." That's cool. That's Julius Peppers. Peppers got paid. And he's knocking heads like Han did in the final Death Star battle (after he got paid, mind you). LeBron was all panicky about his dire situation in Cleveland, practically whining about how the odds of him winning a championship were 725 to 1. The Celtics came up and blew him apart. Then he needed Chewbacca to put him back together so he was somewhat useful. For the purposes of this argument, Dwayne Wade is Chewbacca. Without Wade-bacca, LeBron is just a pile of golden pieces that can't do anything except fail to meet his potential.
2. Peppers was never a puppet. LeBron is a Nike creation. Whether he's acting like an old version of himself or being a puppet, he's just there to sell shoes. Does Julius Peppers even have endorsements? There's no giant billboard of Julius Peppers outside Soldier Field. Julius Peppers is a man. He's a man who eats quarterbacks. Then he goes home. When LeBron's done passing up winning shots so Anderson Varejao can jack 'em off the rim, he goes immediately to a Nike soundstage where he struts around in a jester cap. You can't escape the LeBron media quicksand. Peppers doesn't need the hype.
3. Julius Peppers plays defense. LeBron, not so much.
4. Peppers didn't hold the country hostage in a live, prime-time, one-hour special. Good grief. LeBron's over-the-top spectacle was everything that's wrong with sports. Cleveland was like a guy asking his girl to marry him on the jumbotron. LeBron was like that girl dissing that guy so the whole arena explodes in laughter. If LeBron wanted to sneak out the back door, that's fine. When Peppers left, he just left. No prime-time special. No sweaty, gremlin-like Jim Gray breathlessly waiting for an answer. Peppers just made an announcement. It's business with Pep. It's show business with LeBron.