LeBron James' Legacy Means More If Rings Are Won With Cleveland Cavs

Chris BurnhamContributor IJuly 3, 2010

BOSTON - MAY 13:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands by in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers 94-85.  NOTE TO USER: User Expressly Acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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By now, we've heard all of the viewpoints:

"The Knicks can put LeBron on the fast track to becoming a billionaire."

"The Nets can offer just about anything because their new owner is loooooooaded and probably owns a condo on Mars."

"With the Bulls, championships are guaranteed. Please ignore the statue out front."

"Miami is, well, who wouldn't want to be in Miami, period?"

"We're the Clippers. Please love us."

You get the picture. Everybody wants LeBron James. And everyone believes that their franchise situations are advantageous to winning what he hopes is the first of many championships. And almost everyone seems to believe his star will shine brightest elsewhere. Ultimately, that may be true.

But it's all a bit disingenuous. Because, let's be honest, Cleveland is a doomed punchline. It's just the way it is. To the outsider, it's just not worth staying. (Joakim Noah's head is falling off from all of his nodding.) I'd be lying to you if I said that Cleveland and, by extension, Akron is aesthetically pleasing. Because truthfully, both cities are not. So, it's no wonder that the city is mocked. But does it mean that James' prospects are better off elsewhere? I'm not one to say it's a lock.

With Byron Scott in the fold, the Cavs have themselves a proven commodity at coach. Mike Brown seemed to be tapped out on ways to find the extra push he needed to get the team to the next level. Scott has expertise in both offense and defense, so already he seems to be better equipped to handle a "win now" team.

But we're talking about his legacy. And while he could very well end up elsewhere, his legacy would reach the apex if he stays home. It would be storybook. It would be cathartic. It would be downright cool .

I admit that I'm biased, having been born and raised in the same general area that LeBron was. But when I hear that his potential for greatness can't be realized in Cleveland, I just roll my eyes. These cities who want him have had recent to fairly recent championships reigns encompassing all of the four major North American sports:  (Yankees, Giants, White Sox, Blackhawks, Lakers, and the Heat; Wade acts as if he's never sniffed one.) For Cleveland, the Indians came close, but we all know how that turned out.

So the mantle is in LeBron's hands. Because that's what he says he wants.

And the best chance for becoming a legend resides in where he's been all along.