So... what is there to say at this point?
After getting home late tonight, I scrolled down a long list of status updates that could double as a LeBron James death wish petition. People are calling for his head. And before taking all the hate in, I planned on doing the same.
And then, I decided not to. It seems pointless to wish ill on someone simply for making a decision as definitive and personal as choosing where they are going to play basketball for a living. Having said that, there's a lot to make out of this mess; a lot of ideas floating in my mind.
Here are three.
1. Going to Miami, on top of everything else, was a cop-out by LeBron.
This simply can't be argued. LeBron entered the league determined to build a legacy, which in sports, is primarily built on championships. And while he hasn't done so yet, he's clearly been on the cusp, leading the Cavs to a Finals berth at just 22-years-old, and coming awfully close again in 2009.
Throw in all the other successful playoff runs Cleveland has had, and there is no reason one should argue LeBron's ability to one day win it all—with just a little more help. Say, one actual legit All-Star.
So what does he do to quell that progression? Sign with the biggest paper champions of all-time, a team that feels more like a grand sports hypothetical than a championship contender. If someone asked you last year, "Would a team with LeBron, Wade and Bosh win a title?" you'd most likely answer yes.
Do we really need to see it to believe it? I'd like to think, in a perfect sports world, no.
2. LeBron does not care about fans.
I'm quite certain those who are die-hard are doing backflips, and that the bandwagon will soon follow, but during its NBA existence, Miami has never been a basketball town. The Heat never sniff the top 10 in league attendance, even in recent years, coming off the franchise's first NBA title in 2006. Sure, they'll get excited for Shaq at a rally downtown, but when it comes to putting asses in the seats the Miami faithful is sparse and lacks passion.
The Knicks were abysmal for the most part last year, and still came in at No. 5 in league attendance (this in a city filled with other night life options, so I'm told). Chicago, one of LeBron's other suitors, ranked first in league attendance, trotting out a .500 team, 12 years removed from MJ's last season in Chi-Town.
Did any of this relentless dedication and pure love of the game have any effect on LeBron? Nope.
3. The New York media, and everyone who bought into it, dug their own grave.
For me, as someone who watched a ton of basketball before this whole fiasco built steam, the constant peddling of New York by media outlets to lure LeBron to the Knicks, was pretty irritating. Nothing irked me more than the write-up in New York magazine earlier this year, in which a magazine that never gave a crap about pro sports, decided it was going to become the savvy end-all of media pleas to instigate the foregone conclusion that LeBron was coming to New York.
Instead, it came off as a desperate laundry list of already established factors (he can play with Bosh? really?)— not to mention a poorly constructed collage of quotes from local New Yorkers, celebrity and non, out to recruit—that probably creeped out LeBron rather than flatter him.
Basically, the New York non-sports media's brainwashing tactics and self-assurance were ill-contrived and premature. This city's ego played a bigger role in deterring LeBron from joining the Knicks, than it did in convincing him that New York was the decision he was destined to make.