Most of us believed that LeBron James was staying in Cleveland. I assumed it would be too difficult for him to leave his hometown because of his family, friends, and the fact that if he left he would be considered a "Benedict Arnold". No question he would be hated. And the blow would hurt Cleveland that much more because it would be one of their own.
But on the ESPN special last night, James proved that he had the guts to leave Cleveland when he announced that he would be taking his talents to Miami. The fact that he left Cleveland is not the issue. It's simply the fact that if he had gone on national television to say anything else besides that he was staying in Cleveland, it would look like James was rubbing it in to the Cavalier fans and the city of Cleveland.
That's exactly what it looked like. What made James look bad throughout his free agency process was that no other free agent needed an hour on ESPN to announce their decision. But he did—and he calls himself King James without ever winning an NBA title. Dwyane Wade essentially single handedly won an NBA title in 2005-2006 and all he did was announce his decision and have a 15-minute interview with Chris Bosh on ESPN.
Now people would argue that LeBron James is the best player in the league so he can have an ESPN special if he wants to. And that might be the case, but a player with no rings in seven years should not be trying to upstage NBA free agency. That's exactly what he did. So now James looks cocky, arrogant, and selfish.
James, the player, feels like he is in heaven. He will have more talent in Miami's four-man roster than he ever had in Cleveland in his time there. That is not a premature or far-fetched statement. James can be credited for this decision because there is no doubt this decision was all about winning.
He could have gone to Chicago and been the man. He could have gone to New York and been a god. He could have stayed in his hometown and made a lot more money. But no, he chose to go to Dwyane Wade's team for the sole purpose of having the best opportunity to win. He should be commended for that.
Especially since we all know that he weighed all his options and he knew that if he joined Wade and Bosh in Miami, his legacy would take a huge hit. Even if he wins a championship in Miami, he would not be the alpha dog on the team. So it is safe to say that any comparisons to Jordan are done because, even if he wins three or four rings in Miami, it's like he took the easy way out. However, many people say a championship is a championship.
It is understandable why the fans of Cleveland are upset with James for leaving, but they should be more upset with management and Dan Gilbert. He and the Cavs had seven years to put better players around James and they couldn't do it. What Cleveland couldn't do in seven years took Miami a span of a week to do. Sorry, Dan Gilbert, you lost to a better man in Pat Riley.
In truth, though James looked selfish and arrogant by announcing his decision on ESPN, the real goat last night was Dan Gilbert. If one should feel any sympathy, it should go to the Cavalier fans—not team management and Dan Gilbert. Dan Gilbert in his letter to the fans on the Cavalier website spoke about loyalty and how he believed Lebron James is a coward.
Well firstly, James had the guts to leave Cleveland, even with all the consequences and hatred that he knew would follow. So he may be arrogant, selfish, and even a fake king, but not a coward. And loyalty is a word that Gilbert doesn't know the definition of. Mike Brown had back to back 60 win seasons and he got fired. Danny Ferry, after back to back 60 win seasons, was also let go.
Where is the loyalty in that? More to the point, If James signed and ten years down the road his skills diminished and the Cavs traded him they would just call it a business move. But now that James made a business decision in the interest of winning, he is a coward. Dan Gilbert always does the firing in Cleveland, and yesterday he got fired by James and he couldn't handle it.
Moreover, by mouthing off to the press about James the way he did, surely now no one will want to come to Cleveland to play for him. He showed that he will turn on any player even if that player is arguably the greatest player in the game. For that reason, his claim that Cleveland will win a championship before James does in Miami is simply ridiculous. The trio in Miami can win an NBA title next season. Cleveland without James is now nothing better than a fifth seed in the east.