Lebron James' Legacy Forever Tarnished

Randy JacksonContributor IJuly 9, 2010

CLEVELAND - JULY 8:  A parking attendant stands near a larger than life photograph of LeBron James July 8, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. The two-time Most Valuable Player has the choice of remaining with the Cleveland Cavaliers or signing with a new team. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)
J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

South Beach.

With two words, LeBron James drastically altered the course of the NBA landscape as well as his own legacy.

James did not choose the place where he grew up. The place that worshipped him like few athletes have ever been worshipped before.

No, James told the city of Cleveland and his home state of Ohio that it was not good enough for him.

By spurning the Cavaliers on national television, James went from hero to villain, and not just to those in his hometown. People around the country are shocked and outraged over King James' decision.

A King does not abandon his people, especially when his people have suffered as much sports hardship as those in Cleveland have.

Lebron's image was based on loyalty, on being a lovable, hometown kid. That image is forever ruined.

Instead, the self-proclaimed "The Chosen One," chose the easiest path to a ring, not the most fulfilling one. The path that should have been most fulfilling for him was the one that is most challenging (Cleveland).

Unfortunately, LeBron was not up to the challenge of carrying his home team, his home city, and his home state to a championship and showed it by joining buddies Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to form a team unlike one that has ever been seen before.

James has said all along that when his career ended, he wanted to be considered among the all-time greats.

But what LeBron did would be like Bird leaving Boston to join Los Angeles just because his friends play there and he can win more championships or Jordan leaving to go play with Isiah in Detroit.

Imagine an all-time great player like Jordan packing it in after losing to Detroit in the playoffs and declaring, "I can't do it anymore, the road is too tough. I'm leaving Chicago."

James may be a great talent but cannot be considered a great competitor like Russell, Bird, Magic, Jordan, or Kobe.

It takes more than just sheer talent to carry a team to a championship, it takes moxie.

There is no question that LeBron has the skill to be an all-time great player, but he does not have the will, and showed it last night.

Regardless of how many titles he wins in Wade-County, he does not deserve the recognition of being one of the best to ever put on an NBA uniform.

The titles that he will end up winning in Miami will be attributed just as much to Wade and Bosh and Team President Pat Riley than they are to King James himself, and while LeBron may be content with this, an all-time great NBA player would not be.