Drop Your Pitchforks: LeBron James' Decision and Its Consequences Are His Alone

Harrison MooreAnalyst IIJuly 9, 2010


I've got three questions: 1) Since when is there a right way to win a championship? 2) Since when is a player obligated to stay with and bring championships to the team that drafted him? 3) Why does this rule apply only to LeBron James?

Well, if winning rings in the place of your professional origin is the right way to win a title then let’s just strip Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen of their rings, strip Shaquille O’Neal of his four titles, strip Kareem Abdul Jabbar of five of his six– and oh yeah, let’s strip Kobe Bryant of all five of his.

Why not?

Kobe wasn’t drafted by the Lakers. He didn’t waste years of his career with the non-contending Charlotte Hornets out of some righteous loyalty obligation. He knew that at the end of the day, winning is all that matters so he did what was best for him. Now Kobe’s the most decorated and successful player in the NBA today.

No Kobe wasn’t born within Charlotte, nor was Garnett born in Minnesota and so on and so forth, but since when does a player’s birthplace serve as a permanent ball and chain?

I’d really like some of these analysts and spurned Clevelanders (I’m looking at you Dan Gilbert) to take a step back and put yourself in LeBron’s shoes.

Imagine what its like to be a 25 year old “King”. Imagine what its like to wield so much athleticism, wealth and sheer power. Now imagine its negative side.

Imagine what its like to shoulder the hopes of an entire city. Imagine what its like to bear the expectations of redeeming Cleveland’s painful history.

While Kobe was winning titles playing with Pau Gasol and the rest of their all-star ensemble and reaping the benefits of being led by the greatest coach in American  sports history, LeBron was playing for an offensively deficient coach and a supporting cast lacking any substance or stand out players.

While Dwayne Wade was competing for titles earlier in the decade, LeBron was struggling to bring his Cavaliers into a lower playoff seed only to endure early dismissals from the playoffs. 

Until now, LeBron was powerless to do anything about it. Now that he has left Cleveland, its unfair and irrational to blame LeBron for making the best choice for himself and his career.

Do the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness apply only to us common folk?

None of us, not me, not you, not Gilbert, not anyone in LeBron’s camp, no one but LeBron has to live with the consequences of his decision.

Sorry Cavs fans, but losing out on seeing LeBron for 48 minutes of playing time for 41+ games doesn’t count as a lifetime consequence.

Go ahead and express your pain and disappointment. Cry, scream, drink, whatever, get it all out, but don’t dare to impose judgment someone who’s only looking to further his career.

Yes LeBron could have stayed. He could’ve played his heart out every night, probably continued to fail in his quest to capture a championship and yes, risked waking up in 7 years with the majority of his career behind him with his fingers still ringless.

In the US, we are all encouraged to make the best decision to further our finances, seize our desires and fulfill our goals. Sure, LeBron could have worn the ball and chain for the duration of his career and placed the wants and desires of others above his own but he would have risked regretting it for the rest of his life.

And that’s not what America is about.