LeBron James' monumental decision, broadcast on ESPN's "The Decision" last night, has received mixed reviews all over the country.
Twenty-four hours later, the jury is still out on whether he made the right decision in selecting South Beach as his home for the next half-decade.
In Miami, season ticket sales have already been sold out since this morning, as fans are eager to see "Miami Thrice" in action next season. No bitter words, no anguish—just praise and acceptance of what seems to be a promising five years for the organization.
Elsewhere, however, LeBron is feeling the heat, as fans, former followers and news media have been bashing the former "King of Cleveland" non-stop since his historic announcement.
But what if you were in his shoes? With the media's threshold of players as strong as it has ever been, would you have made the same decision as he did?
Dwyane Wade, LeBron's close friend and future teammate, called James a "big man" for choosing the team that would ultimately make HIMSELF happy, rather than trying to please others.
If LeBron chose any team not named the "Cavaliers," he would have been ridiculed no matter where he went, becoming the villain to whichever team and city that drafted him.
With the media presenting this signing as the biggest free agent to ever hit the market, why not take advantage of the money and publicity?
Not to say LeBron isn't egotistical in his own right, but the media have been the ones to hype him up before he had a chance to himself. Even before being drafted into the league, LeBron was coined "The Chosen One." With a nickname like that, no wonder he had a whole hour dedicated to 15 seconds of memorable playback.
Six teams chose to lose in the 2009-2010 season for a chance at signing the biggest free agent in the history of the NBA. Six teams relinquished their right as the best team in the NBA for a 25-year-old who hasn't hit his prime. Now tell me, who wouldn't take advantage of the opportunities when billionaires are on their knees begging for a chance to have you?
If James stayed in Cleveland, he would never have won a championship—at least not in the near future. He would continue to rule the regular season, win a handful of games in the playoffs, and ultimately let him and the city of Cleveland down year after year.
LeBron's bolt from his home state of Ohio stems from his urgency to win—and to win immediately. Blame does not fall upon the seven-year veteran who has carried the hopes of this city for quite some time. How can he ever be known as the best to ever play the game without some silverware to show for it?
So who's to blame for LeBron's departure?
Easy—Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.
First and foremost, "the letter" Gilbert wrote in bashing LeBron was uncalled for. If one were to call James' one-hour special on ESPN unnecessary and just another ploy in getting his name out there—please do not be a hypocrite.
Yes, LeBron's antics leading up to the main event that was "The Decision" was a bit over-stretching his boundaries—but Gilbert, being the owner of the Cavaliers, should have at least acted a tad-bit professional. He is not only representing himself, but his Cavaliers organization as well.
Secondly, if Gilbert had made the right moves, Miami, Chicago, and New York would not have even been options for the star. In fact, the city of Cleveland may have had a few rings to show for it over the five years he has been the owner.
Instead, Gilbert chose to hire a rookie coach, Mike Brown, to guide the young player into stardum—on top of that, Danny Ferry, another rookie GM, was hired to bring players to a franchise on the rise.
Undoubtedly, Mike Brown had a fabulous career in the NBA—as an assistant coach. adding to that, an inexperienced GM who went on to lure in limping Shaquille O'Neal, an oft-injured Antawn Jamison, who also has no playoff experience whatsoever, an over-the-hill Ben Wallace, and a bunch of no-names or players who wouldn't even make a starting appearance if they were playing elsewhere.
LeBron is a winner—he has, and will always been a winner. So when a team repeatedly gets eliminated from championship contention, it is time to move on—to a team that actually cares about winning.
James has given the city of Cleveland hope, when hope was lost. He has brought the lowly Cavaliers to something they haven't seen in ages—recognition. So before any Clevelanders start bashing on the betrayal marks left by LeBron, think of what he has brought to a slumping city and you'll forget all about your recent discoveries. The fans are not to blame.
So, Gilbert, before you drain the little professionalism you have left in your body, remember—you had numerous opportunities to avoid this hectic summer of 2010, yet your last attempt at keeping the future Hall-of-Famer was as pathetic as Shaq and Jamison's playoff performances.