September 14, 2014

LeBronaplooza ends... but not quietly

Posted 7/13/10

Well, after weeks of building anticipation and keeping basketball fans across the nation on pins and needles, LeBron James finally decided where he will be playing for the foreseeable future.

James decided to grab his swim trunks and his flip-flops and head to South Beach to play in Miami with Dewayne Wade and Chris Bosh, and leave behind the state of Ohio where he was born, raised and became a superstar.

Sportscasters and basketball fans across the nation have been killing the “King” since his one-hour drama, “The Decision,” aired on ESPN Thursday.

Many in Cleveland have been left asking, “Why? What will we do now?” Not to mention the burning of James’ uniform in city streets.

As a dedicated lifelong Lakers fan, there are few basketball fans in the world that dislike James as much as I do. So I will stick up for him only out of respect. Personally, I think that James needs a guy like Wade to carry him. But what great player doesn’t?

Remember when John Paxon bailed out Michael Jordan’s Bulls drilling a three to defeat the Phoenix Suns in game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals? Or more recently, when Ron Artest bailed out Kobe Bryant this year in the conference finals against those same Suns.

I have two thoughts on this whole situation that I would like to share with you.

First, when I heard this announcement I thought, “Why is this guy doing this?” Sure, great athletes sometimes leave to play where they can win, like Alex Rodriguez going to the Yankees or when Shaquille O’Neal went to the Lakers, but come on. By hitching himself to the Wade bandwagon, James may be giving up his chance to be marked as the greatest basketball player of all time.

O’Neal joined the Lakers in 1996, but he was not going to play alongside Patrick Ewing or Charles Barkley. (Little did many people know how great an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant would later become). James and Wade are on the same level of stardom. James a two-time defending NBA most valuable player and Wade an NBA champion.

What would people have said if Michael Jordan would have jumped ship and left the Bulls, after being beaten by the Pistons in the late 1980s, before breaking through and winning the first of six NBA titles in 1991?

Jordan did not run off and join Magic Johnson in Los Angeles, or latch on to Larry Bird in Boston. He stuck it out and trusted his teammates and coaches.

This makes James look bad. If this team gets to the finals and Wade is the MVP, than all that Nike and James himself proclaimed about being “witnesses” will be wrong.

Second, you can’t hate a guy for doing what makes him happy.

Who doesn’t want to be with friends and have fun at their job? Honestly, I hear that Miami is a lot nicer than Cleveland in mid-January.

When you think that you are making the right choice for yourself and your family, don’t you do it?

James is not worried about making money, he has enough of that. What he wants, and needs, is a championship. With Wade and Bosh, he has a great opportunity and gets to share the blame if they fail. He can’t lose.

In Cleveland, James took all the glory, and all the blame. Now he won’t be alone.

Could James have been more graceful about leaving? Sure he could have. Did he have to? Nope.

There are a lot worse things that James could be doing than packing his bags.

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