LeBron James Saga: Everyone Got What They Deserved

Kendrick MarshallCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2010

MIAMI - JULY 09:  LeBron James #6, Dwyane Wade #3 and Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat show off their new game jerseys before a press conference after a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Let me be the 13 millionth person to chime in on LeBron James signing a free agent deal to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh for the Miami Heat.

There has been a ton of discussion about the process which led James, a six-time NBA All-Star and two-time MVP to make the determination of where he would play basketball for the next several years.

For the most part the one-hour made-for-TV event was ripped to pieces by almost everyone. It was called everything from classless to unprofessional to a journalism disaster. Many said James either tarnished or completely destroyed his legacy by choosing to bolt from the only home he ever knew in Cleveland via national television.

ESPN’s production of “The Decision” didn't rub me the wrong way. For the last two decades  programming has featured common folk going on television making butts of themselves by revealing infidelity, mothers determining the fathers of their children, and rockers and rappers stringing along low self esteemed laced love interests in the hopes of "finding the one."

People now are famous for doing nothing. Well, embarrassing themselves by being egomaniacs, promoting promiscuity, vanity, back-biting, materialism and violence makes them famous.

We're cool with all that for the most part (the stuff gets tremendous ratings), but it is criminal for a basketball player to announce where he is going to play basketball? How dare LeBron James do that! How dare he take advantage of his celebrity!

How can you blame James?

We are partly responsible for what transpired Thursday night. There is an audience for a hot dog eating contest, home run derby and the NFL Combine. We basically clear out a portion of our Saturday each spring to watch 300 pound men wearing clothing that leaves very little to the imagination workout. Viewing parties are thrown for National Signing Day in some regions of the country.

Don't go out and blame the media, ESPN and the NBA for creating this monster. NBA Commissioner David Stern and the press were not out in Akron and Cleveland holding rallies for James to stay in Ohio.

The press did not create the “C‘mon LeBron” public relations pitch like the city of New York did or Send LeBron to Chicago.com as one Bulls’ fan drew up. A couple of guys in Dallas recorded a catchy rap to encourage James to suit up for the Mavericks. There were billboards, commercials, and even mascots concocted to lure the fancy of  King James to a desperate city and fan base. 

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and his management team thought it would be a really good idea to show James cartoons during their much anticipated meeting last week.

Why would James or any other athlete who literally and figuratively had the world eating out of his hand and throwing rose petals at his feet not go along with the television special? 

Then comes the foolishness about James taking the “easy way “out by piggybacking off Wade on what he believes will be a more lucrative road to a championship.

This coming from the iPhone/Google generation who attempts to find ways to do whatever easier and more conveniently on a daily basis. People who compose e-mails, tweets and texts instead of making actual phone calls and writing hand written letters are lamenting a guy for wanting to play with two Eastern Conference All-Star starters to win a title?

We live in a society that promotes taking the easy way out all the time. Have you not watched or bought anything from an infomercial ever? In just three 20-minute workouts  a week the masses are promised a ripped toned body.  Instead, James with the help of two star players, 82 games season is trying get a few championship rings.

It is so ironic that before James left Cleveland there were those wondering  how can this guy be called "King James," with people fawning all over him yet he has not won a thing in his career? How can be considered great when he hasn't won a championship? He needs a championship to be one of the greats of all-time it was said.

Well, James makes a decision to place himself in a position to win a championship and now his head on a silver platter.  I guess he forgot to the follow the “you must win a championship in a certain manner to be considered great or respected” manual.

Michael Jordan, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson would never have done something like that, I heard over the various news mediums.

Bird played with McHale and Parrish.

Johnson, in his rookie season, played with Kareem Abdul Jabbar then later James Worthy, and Michael Cooper. Oh, and was coached by Pat Riley.

Jordan played with Scottie Pippen (who was voted one of the 50 greatest players of all-time). Toni Kukoc was one of the great international players of all-time. Steve Kerr was the most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history. Dennis Rodman was the greatest rebounder in the history of the league. And being coached by Phil Jackson didn't hurt either.

Those three guys did not have to leave to play for another team because the Bulls, Lakers and Celtics had some pretty good talent and great coaches along the way.

The best player James played with during his time in Cleveland was Carlos Boozer. The two only played together for one season before the now Chicago Bull signed with the Utah Jazz. Since then there has been significant roster turnover. Role players or declining stars were expected to be Robin to James’ Batman. That plan failed to deliver a championship.

When James could not convince Bosh to come to Cleveland or get Cleveland to trade for Chris Paul he had to bolt. There were no other free agents left out there to play Robin.

Months earlier James experienced the Boston Celtics with Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo,  Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett knock him out of the playoffs. It was one-on-four during the Eastern Conference playoff series. That Boston Big Three or Fearsome Foursome can be blamed for James creating Miami Thrice on the shores of South Beach.

He did what he had to do and go to Miami. It was a basketball decision. Not a loyalty decision.

And speaking of loyalty the men and women who follow the Cavaliers sunk the city to a new low with how they handled the news of James not returning to the franchise.

The jersey burning, crying and wishing James suffering a career ending injury because he is now a member of the Heat is low even for dirt. When you support a professional sports team you take a risk of those individuals inside that organization not being what you want them to be. LeBron James or any other athlete has the right to make career choices. We might not always agree with them, but that's life.

Pro athletes normally get ripped for caring more about money and being only interested in individual spoils.

James, although he broke a lot of hearts in Cleveland, made a choice that puts him in a position to win a championship. James sacrificed $30 million, comfort in familiar surroundings and his alpha dog status to win the Larry O'Brien lottery. 

I don't feel sorry for Cleveland sports fans.

Clevelanders set themselves up for disappointment by living and dying with the outcome of Cavs games and living vicariously through James. And that is the sad part. Like many sports fans we fail to realize the show can’t go on forever.

We tend to forget that these freakishly athletic men at the end of the day are human. They can be selfish, vindictive, humble, jovial and insecure just like us.

The party has to stop some time. Players move on either via free agent signings, injuries, trades or waivers. A revolving door of names, faces and numbers embraced upon arrival and forgotten just as quickly after departure.  Pro athletes don't belong to us. They temporarily use us for their benefit and we temporarily use them for our benefit.

Instead of saying thank you LeBron for saving the franchise and pumping millions of much needed dollars into the local economy over a seven-year period, Cavalier fans told James not to let the door hit him in the bum on the way out. 

Everyone got what they deserved. We reaped what we had sowed.

The only question left now is, what's next?

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