by Jack Maidment
LeBron James announced last night that he would join the Miami Heat.
‘The Decision’ has to rank highly, perhaps number one, on the death of society/car crash television moments.
He sold out his home-town on live, national television. Surely a move of someone with absolutely zero self awareness since the damage to Brand LeBron will be irreversible.
The Cleveland Cavaliers did everything they could to help LeBron win in his 7 years there. They spent money and gave him any number of sidekicks and the support of the fans never slipped below adoration, even when the Cavs crashed or limped out of the playoffs year after year.
Yet, instead of operating with some class and filling in the team that has been his since he turned pro with advanced news of his decision he left them blind, finding out with the rest of us.
Dan Gilbert’s response of fury and capitals is absolutely understandable.
All of Ohio will be rooting against him now, along with everyone else who isn’t a Miami fan.
By electing to join Wade and Bosh on South Beach LeBron has thrown away the chance of ever being in the same category as the NBA’s previous great players and winners.
What separates the greats from the also rans is the fact that they are driven to win, but more than that they need to win on their terms.
Would Bird, Magic, Jordan, Kobe or Russell have deserted their respective teams after 7 years of hitting the wall? No, because any set backs acted as fuel to add to their competitive fire.
For that reason LeBron’s decision will be viewed as a cop out, the easy option.
The most physically gifted player possibly in the history of the game decided to take the short cut and for that reason only Heat fans and network television executives will have anything resembling love in the years to come.
It is time to accept that LeBron is not the best player in the game. Nor will he ever be. The best player doesn’t defer. Basketball is not a sport played by committee. He just isn’t wired to be a winner on his own.
The Miami Heat and LeBron James. The team and player you (now) love to hate.
Let the backlash commence.