I doubt (and hope) that last night’s television spectacle doesn’t become one of those moments we all talk about the rest of our lives, and I hope it doesn’t become the norm for future “breaking news.” I have to admit I was riveted to the radio in my car (and then to the television once we made it back from dinner). Honestly, in spite of reports all day that he was leaning towards choosing the Miami Heat, I was completely shocked that he chose to play there. In spite of all the backlash he is getting, here are 5 reasons LeBron impressed me:
1. LeBron said he wanted to win and choosing to play with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh seems like a wise choice, but how often do guys actually make their decisions based on what they say they will?
2. LeBron left alot of money on the table to go to Miami. Often guys say it isn’t about the money. This time it seems that LeBron meant it.
3. If LeBron, Wade, and Bosh do win a championship (or more than one), he will never be as respected as Michael Jordan or even Kobe Bryant because he needed help to pull it off. Even still, he humbled himself and damaged his brand to join a superteam and pull off a plan that apparently these friends came up with back in 2006.
4. LeBron left his hometown. It would have been easier to choose Cleveland. Everyone would have understood, and even if he never won, we would have all blamed it on the city more than on him. Choosing Miami took guts. He is now a villain to his hometown, his home state, and many NBA fans. (If you haven’t already, read the scathing letter from the Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert).
Very few of us will cheer for the New York Yankees of the NBA. We usually like to cheer for the underdog which is one of the reasons we cheered for the local kid playing for his local team-the Cleveland Cavaliers. It takes chutzpah to switch from a hero to a villain (and this is the real world and not WWE wrestling)!
5. For the “Miami Heat experiment” to work, LeBron, Wade, and Bosh will have to play more like they did for the U.S. Olympic team and less like normal NBA superstars do. Their statistics, minutes, and roles will be reduced. This is great news for my fantasy team since I don’t have any of these three in my keeper league. 🙂 Check out this great article : “There Has to Be No ‘I’ in Super Team” by Michael Ventre.
All that being said, here are 5 reasons LeBron did not impress me:
1. LeBron announced his decision on a television special with hand-picked interviewers. It seemed way too self-indulgent. Sure money was raised for the Boys and Girls Clubs, but couldn’t that have been done by LeBron writing a check or him filming a free commercial? It seemed like the Boys and Girls Club of America was added on to make him look less selfish rather than being the reason for the television special.
2. LeBron left a team that hadn’t pulled it off to go to one that has to do so. Michael Jordan didn’t leave the Bulls. He built the team into a dynasty.
3. A local hero added “the decision” to a long list of sad events to the “cursed” history of his hometown Cleveland. That city just cannot seem to catch a break! The one break they did get (winning the NBA draft lottery in order to draft a local phenom) has now ended in sadness (as usual).
4. LeBron will still make a ton of money, especially without state income taxes. Sure, he could have made more per year, staying in Cleveland or even going to New York, but a lower salary in Florida equals about the same in those other places. See this article on “Lebronomics.”
5. LeBron didn’t call anyone at Cleveland to let them know of his decision? This is real life and not a “reality show”! Even calling the others who pursued him to let them know his decision would have been appropriate. Yes, that would have probably ruined the secret and the drama, but he should make decisions with maintaining relationships and common courtesy as more important than a television special called “The Decision.” (See “Issue Isn’t Why James Left Cavs, It’s How” by Ian Thomsen).
Should be a very interesting NBA season this fall! Go Lakers and Go Clippers! But especially, Boo Heat!