LeBron James: Time To Start Looking at LBJ As a Business Man, Not an Athlete

Charlie ScaturroCorrespondent IJuly 8, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 27:  Basketball player LeBron James (#23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers) poses with the  'Best Male Athlete' award in the press room at the 2006 BET Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on June 27, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

As we all eagerly await LeBron James’ decision on where he will play the next few seasons, it’s hard to sit here and not think that the entire situation has gotten out of hand.

But maybe that's exactly what he wants. 

There’s no doubt that LeBron’s decision is one of the biggest that the NBA has seen in a very long time, and what he decides tonight will have a huge impact on the entire league for many seasons to come. 

But if you’re a true fan of the NBA, the fact that LeBron’s decision is getting more coverage than the playoffs did, has to leave you with a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach. 

Of course, it’s understandable that the major media outlets have jumped on the LeBron saga and milked it for all it’s worth. 

After all, we are currently in a no man’s land of sports coverage; the NBA has ended, the NFL is still about two months away, the MLB season is half way done, which means that it’s not new enough to be exciting but there’s still too much left of it to start looking ahead to the playoffs, and the World Cup is pretty much over.

What would be better to fill this sports news void than talking about the LeBron situation like the fate of the world depends on it. 

Even before LeBron decided to make an even bigger media spectacle out of this process than it had already become by announcing his decision during a one hour ESPN special, it seemed like he was getting the wrong information from the wrong people. 

Considering how many advisors LeBron has managing his image, there’s no doubt that these people have their fingerprints all over LeBron’s every move. 

Everything he has done up to this point has been calculated and thought out by his team of P/R “experts" and you would have to think that they are at least enabling LeBron to act the way he has thus far.

One of the first and only things that LeBron has said publicly about his free agency decision was that winning was the most important part of it.  If that was truly the case, then why has this situation gotten so much hoopla?

The way this decision has been treated by LeBron and his management group, it would seem that the most important part of this decision isn’t what it means for the NBA, isn’t about the money, isn’t about basketball, and isn’t about winning, the most important part of this decision seems to be the decision itself. 

But the reason that LeBron is doing this is for the same reason that almost anyone does anything; because they can.  Simply put, LeBron has the hype and interest level which allows him to have his own hour long special announcing where he will go. 

Can you imagine the reaction that Darko Milicic would have gotten if his representatives went to ESPN and asked for an hour long special to disclose where he would be signing? 

LeBron is one of the only people in sports who has enough appeal to command an hour long special.    

We’ve all heard that one of LeBron’s life goals is to become a billionaire and global icon, and the only way he will be able to achieve that is by being a businessman first and an athlete second. 

If that’s the case, then this entire free agency charade has been exactly what he wants because it has generated so much interest in the LeBron brand especially from people who couldn’t care less about the NBA.

This seems to be the only way to explain LeBron’s behavior, as he has been stringing along a slew of NBA teams and their fan bases for more than a year by enabling the media to hype up his impending free agency. 

Perhaps we’ve all been looking at the way LeBron has been handling this situation in the wrong way.  Many people have been saying that if LeBron holds an hour long special to rip Cleveland’s heart out it would be one of the most despicable acts in recent sports history. 

This is especially true when you consider the last 50 years or so of Cleveland sports history and when you consider that LeBron was born and raised in Akron, Ohio.    

But if you look at this decision from LeBron’s billionaire-global-icon point of view, not only does it make sense, but it’s absolutely necessary to leave a small market like Cleveland to go to a bigger one in Miami.

There’s always been something about LeBron that has irked me over the last seven years. 

He’s an unbelievably talented player, the likes of which come along in the NBA every 30 or 40 years, not to mention he’s one of the most awe-inspiring, jaw dropping players to watch of this generation. 

And yet, there was always something about the way he conducted himself that made him difficult for me to like. 

After watching the way he has handled this entire free agency saga it has become clear that he looks at himself more as a corporation than a basketball player which, in retrospect, makes complete sense.

As someone who is a true fan of the game of basketball, a player who is as talented as LeBron but looks at himself as a brand over being a basketball player just doesn't sit right.

LeBron has made it official and after all of the hype and build up he will indeed leave Cleveland for Miami.

I can only think that he is doing so in order to further the LeBron brand, which to all basketball fans is really too bad, because while he might be making the right decision from a basketball perspective it would appear that he’s making it for the wrong reasons.