Seven Mortal Sins That Led LeBron James To “Take the Heat”
He is no king. He has no rings. He is no Jordan. He is no Kobe. After his decision-making “episode” on Thursday night, he may never be.
LeBron James held his personal, one-hour, reality TV show on ESPN and announced his intent to sign with the Miami Heat, along with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
The reality is that this stunt immediately tainted his royal image and turned him into a royal pain in the you-know-what!
He even used, almost exploited, the Boys and Girls Club to make the event seem more like a community service or charitable event that benefits children, when it was really more of an marketing event for LeBron.
Consider James a villain, the Evil King. Dictator James has taken over the military and is forcing his will on the constituents who appointed him to lead them to glory and prosperity.
The cruel reality is that he ripped the heart out of the chests of Cleveland fans who have loved him despite his inadequacies that saw him fail miserably in multiple playoff losses.
It was a classless move and a slap in the face that may trigger a train-wreck effect to his legacy.
LeBron can’t blame Cleveland. They tried to build a team around “his highness”, but he could not pull his weight in the playoffs when real stars build character and dynasties. Miami, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and all the sunshine in South Beach can’t alleviate the darkness that has fallen upon the throne, regardless if and when the Heat win a championship.
The damage has been done. Worse, the new doctrine was imposed on a nationally-televised stage in what has been described as a selfish and narcissistic act.
The TV show was the culmination of his betrayal. The process started with a well-publicized “secret meeting”, inappropriately described as a “summit”, with his new teammates in an act that should be more accurately described as a conspiracy.
If three owners get together and dictate a plan of attack to pre-determine the outcome of free agent signings, it is considered collusion. Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, was actually fined for just mentioning that he would like to pursue James as a free agent.
At least Benedict Arnold’s betrayal was discreet and behind the scenes.
James says he did not speak to anyone about the decision last Thursday because he “wanted the day to be all about me.” Nothing selfish about that.
Centuries ago, the Catholic Church provided a list. It was a list of what was considered mortal or deadly sins that would lead an individual to eternal damnation: The Seven Deadly Sins.
The list includes: Pride; Greed; Envy; Gluttony; Wrath; Sloth; and Lust;
Which items on the list can be associated with LeBron’s actions and does it provide a metaphoric analysis to his “choosing the Heat?”
Pride is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and indeed the ultimate source from which the others arise. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self.
In Cleveland, it was never James’ fault. It was the teammates around him that were not good enough. He couldn’t do it by himself, right?
Undoubtedly, he was the most talented cog on the wheel, but was always the first to point out that the other cogs were not of the same quality and, ultimately, the reason for a breakdown to end the season.
Cleveland finished as the number-one seed in the Eastern Conference last year. They also owned the best record in the NBA. Does this sound like a team that had no supporting cast?
The fact that LeBron did not perform very well in several games in the playoffs was seen by some as an indication that he quit on his teammates.
His intent was to leave Cleveland all along and he seemed to convince himself that this team could not claim the championship regardless of how well he played.
So why not give up and get the season over with earlier so he can get out of Ohio and start the bidding process for the biggest free agent prize in NBA history?
Greed is a sin of excess. It is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power.
James could argue that he actually signed for less money to play for Miami and that money was not the deciding factor…Bull-pucky!
Anyone who believes the contract LeBron signed is going to be the largest source of his income is sadly mistaken. His endorsement opportunities in Miami will be greatly enhanced and has marketing companies drooling in anticipation of the potential rewards of hiring James as their product representative.
He is still marketable nationally, but he now adds the Hispanic market in Miami that was void in Cleveland.
Joining Wade and Bosh sensationalizes the hype that will allow him to make more money through endorsements regardless of winning championships. He will rake in the dough while promising championships to Miami fans, as he did in Cleveland, regardless if they win one or not.
Oh, and if they do win a championship (or two, or three, or four, or five, or six, or seven) that will certainly further enhance LeBron’s marketability and make him even more money. It would also put him closer to the Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant neighborhoods in terms of fame, fortune, and power.
Like greed, Envy may be characterized by an insatiable desire. Greed is largely associated with material goods. Those who commit the sin of envy resent that another person has something they perceive themselves as lacking, and wish the other person to be deprived of it.
LeBron is lacking a championship and all that comes with it: the notoriety of being a champion; the additional value of his endorsements; the consideration of being the best NBA player (ever?); the accolades and adoring love from his fans and respect from his peers.
He has chosen to collect a group of players he thinks will allow him to get the elusive championships and take future rings away from Kobe and others.
Gluttony is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste.
Not sure about LeBron himself, but one could argue the Miami Heat were a little gluttonous in their signing of all three of the top-tier free agents.
However, the process was orchestrated by the three in question who were all ravenous for winning championships.
LeBron was the last piece of the puzzle to be put in place and he needed to make sure the others were committed to his plan prior to him announcing where his appetite was going to lead him to feed.
Wrath, also known as anger or "rage", may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including impatience, revenge, and vigilantism.
LeBron’s decision to leave Cleveland actually prompted this deadly sin to be displayed in a most convincing fashion through the reactions of the Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert, and the actions of Cleveland fans burning his jerseys and demonstrating destructive fits of rage against James-related property.
James has handled the jagged comments directed at him with grace and poise, showing no real signs of anger. However, questions still linger on what ultimately prompted his decision to leave.
How does one turn his back on the state he grew up in, where his family and friends live, and where those that loved, adored, and accepted him through good and bad still reside?
How does he justify all the jobs that will be lost by his departure and the loss of revenue, not only for the Cleveland organization, but also the city that no longer will benefit from the Cavs' recent success?
Could it be that James had an underlying rift with Dan Gilbert? That his intentions of leaving Cleveland had more to do with revenge against an organization that failed to give him the teammates he thought he was deserving of? LeBron would not return text and voice messages left by Gilbert during the free agency period leading up to LeBron’s decision.
LeBron claims it wasn’t about the money. Could wrath have been the factor that tipped the scales toward leaving? Only LeBron knows the answers to these questions.
Not to be confused with laziness, sloth refers more to the failure to utilize one's talents and gifts.
LeBron’s talents are immeasurable on the basketball court, yet his performances in the playoffs the last two years leave many wondering what may have been if he could have given just a little bit more.
Although the Cavs were big favorites to advance to conference finals, they got beat in six games by the Boston Celtics. James all but disappeared in Game 5 and scored less than 25 points in losses during Games 2 and 4 of the series.
When LeBron was hitting it hard, the Cavs were in control and led the series 2-1 after a 29 point walloping in Game 3.
The Celtics then reeled off three straight wins to take the series and there were questions of what happened to LeBron and the mysterious elbow injury that may have affected his play.
Not saying that LeBron gave up or quit, but sloth is more of a sin of omission rather than commission. In short, the Cavs fate was more a result of what James didn’t do. Maybe because he was more concerned with what he was going to do.
Lust is usually thought of as excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature.
This one probably does not apply to James’ current situation specific to his choice to play basketball in Miami.
However, being popular and beyond wealthy makes sports stars at the highest levels much more vulnerable to lecherous environments. Tiger, Big Ben, Kobe, Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and many others have been known to be overly active in sexual acts.
Regarding LeBron, it’s a topic that will have to wait for a different time. After all, it is South Beach and the party life and party women are as legendary as anywhere.
What will be LeBron's Legacy?
There is no sense of trying to equate James’ actions to those unspeakable acts of cruelty performed by horrific sinners, Goosuch as Hitler, Stalin, or even Michael Vick.
However, the Seven Deadly Sins are a good gauge of those acts which determine a person’s character.
Based on the events that took place on Thursday, LeBron could have tarnished his legacy in the eyes of many NBA fans.
If he fails to win a championship in Miami with his hand-picked player mercenaries, then LeBron will never be seen as the player he wants to be seen as.
The reality of it all is that if it doesn’t work out, the heat will really be on LeBron. Then his pride and his legacy would take a huge hit.