When LeBron James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers it seemed from day one he was going to set his own legacy. Before stepping foot on an NBA court he signed a 90 million dollar contract with Nike.
James himself was one of the more likable superstars in the league. He had charisma, he had charm, and he said the right things to the media about how he wanted to win in Cleveland.
I thought that you would see James as a Cavalier for his entire career, especially since he was born in Akron, OH, which is just 40 miles from Cleveland.
So, even as the rumors swirled that he was going to Miami, I still thought he would stay in Cleveland. Well I was wrong! James made the decision this morning that he would be signing with the Miami Heat.
He will now be joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. While I agree that starting lineup of James, Wade, and Bosh make for one of the toughest lineups, what got me is that it will tarnish James' legacy, which is separate from the move actually being a selfish one.
The reason why the move tarnishes James' legacy is the same reason why Kobe Bryant can't be in the same conversation with Michael Jordan for the greatest basketball player of all-time.
Both players needed another superstar. In this case it will be two superstars for James.
Now not only does James have a second option that will let him be free from having to be in possession of the ball at all times, but he also now has a third option in Bosh.
What also may effect the legacy of James is the fact that there are now three players together that need the ball. How will they be able to handle that situation? What about in a game ending moment? Who gets it?
I'm sure Eric Spoelstra, the Heat coach, is giddy about the lineup he will have out on the court.
As for the move that James made going to Miami, it was a smart one. The reason being he doesn't have to be the lone star on the team. He now has Wade and Bosh to pick up the slack if he is injured or has an off night.
I would also suspect you will see the scoring numbers of James, Bosh, and Wade go down as they learn to share the ball with each other. Expect the numbers of assists for James and Wade to go up and the rebounding numbers for Bosh to go up.
Also, this isn't the first time three superstars have been on a team together. The Houston Rockets in 1996-1997 had Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and Clyde Drexler together.
And that didn't work out so well for them in the playoffs.
During regular season, the Rockets were fine winning 57 games, but they ended up losing in the Western Conference Finals. The difference between the Heat and the Rockets is that James, Wade, and Bosh are much younger than the Rockets big three.
Even though that team wasn't successful, quite possibly the most successful group of players was for the Boston Celtics during the time the team won 11 championships in 12 years.
The team had the likes of Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman, Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn, and John Havlicek during their championship runs. By no means am I saying that Miami will have as dominant of a run as that Celtics group did, but there's also a possibility that the group of James, Wade, and Bosh could win a few championships.
Also, Russell is an all-time great, but he isn't considered the greatest center of all time, either. He's up there though among the top five.
With that being the case though, there's always a possibility of injuries as well.
I know Cleveland fans are going to go into hate mode now that James is gone and I can say I don't blame them. The reality is, though, the Cavaliers organization had a chance to build a team around LeBron and get him someone to play alongside him, and they failed at it.
If anything the Cavaliers fans should be mad at the organization by not doing their best to keep James.
Yes, at the trade deadline the Cavaliers brought in Antawn Jamison, but he wasn't going to be enough to take them to a championship.
Mo Williams was a good addition, but he wasn't a point guard that would allow for James not to have to handle the ball. Williams has always been a shoot-first point guard.
The Cavaliers did have excellent role players while James was in Cleveland with the likes of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anderson Vareajao, Drew Gooden, etc...
But, beyond the role players the Cavaliers couldn't find a sidekick for James that would help them get back a shot at a championship. Even after the past two seasons of winning over 60 games.
One things for sure, James was willing to tarnish his own legacy to give himself the best shot at winning a championship. There's nothing wrong with the decision that James made.