LeBron's Decision Disaster Proves Best Friends Make Worst Advisors

Larry TuckerContributor IJuly 13, 2010

MIAMI - JULY 09:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat is introduced during a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images


     Friends shouldn't let friends make life changing decisions for them.  When I was in High School, I went to a party with a buddy once.  A fight, predictably, broke out.  The police were eventually called in and the mass of bodies was sprayed with mace. 

     I got in the car with my friend who was driving.  He hadn't drank enough to kill a large horse, but it was a close call.   He started the car up, and proceeded to drive around 80 mph down a busy street.  This wouldn't have been so bad, but on top of his dulled reactions from the alcohol, he had his head extended out the driver's side window.  I remember being perplexed by this arrangement.   Upon asking him why he was speeding, drunk, while police where in the vicinity, with his body halfway out the driver's side window, he replied "What?  I'm trying to get the mace out of my eyes.   I need to see if I'm going to drive this fast". 

     Later when I graduated from college, I did not call this friend and ask for advice about what I should do with my life.   I knew that asking my high school friends what I should do with my life was not  a very smart decision.  If you're just a regular guy getting a regular job, professional help isn't needed.  However, if you are a megastar athlete who makes millions of dollars and aspires to create billions of dollars of wealth, hiring and listening to professional help is critical.  Professionals are there to help you make the right decision, but more importantly, they exist to make sure you don't make the wrong one. 

     This is a lesson that LeBron James hadn't learned as of yet, and it's a lesson that will cost him.  James reportedly  has relied on his high school friend Maverick Carter to assist him in making what will most likely turn out to be the most important decision of his professional life.  He decided to move from Cleveland to Miami.  It's arguable if that decision was a good one or a bad one.  What is not arguable is that the decision to present his decision on prime time T.V.  was a horrible one that will cost James money.

     James doesn't owe Cleveland his life.  It's unfortunate that Cleveland's economy is in such bad shape that one basketball player leaving will purportedly cause the utter collapse of civilization there.  That's not his fault.  It's also not his fault that the players that the Cavs have collected over the last 7 are horrible.  Even if HE picked them out.  Because, you see, LeBron is a basketball player not a pro scout.  Multiple great pro players have proven that being good at  basketball does not always translate to being able to assess talent on the basketball court.  If Daniel Snyder let LeBron pick his teammates, then Daniel Snyder is culpable for the mess that his team is now in.  

     Almost all Americans are allowed to decide where they will work.  Most pro athletes are allowed to eventually choose where they will ply their trade.   LeBron deserves the opportunity to pick his place of employment.    However, while he deserves the choice, he did owe Cleveland a better break up then he gave them.  Announcing on national T.V. that he was leaving was self-absorbed, which one has to expect from athletes in modern society.  But, in addition to that, it was cruel.  He understood how his city felt about this decision.  

      LeBron's image is suffering from the decisions he made recently.  He's got a group of fans that hate him with a passion, and he's built another group of fans in cities like Chicago, New York, and New Jersey that aren't happy with the way he went about doing things either.   If he goes on to win several championships as a wingman on Wade's team, a lot of this will blow over.  He'll be given the respect that comes  with being the number two player on a championship team.  If Miami fails to win championships, this moment  will be  crystallized in sports history.  Either way, LeBron's earning potential has been limited, and more importantly his  legacy as the future best player ever can now never be realized.  All because he chose to listen to his BFF.