Goodbye LBJ, the Icon

Uriel ElituvContributor IJuly 14, 2010

MIAMI - JULY 09:  LeBron James #6, of the Miami Heat smiles during 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

First of all I would like to congratulate LeBron James. LeBron, I am sure you will have a fantastic time playing with Wade and Bosh. I hope it was worth destroying everything you worked for and hoped to accomplish.

LeBron’s desire to follow in Michael Jordan’s footsteps and become a global icon is well documented.  If that’s the case, will someone please explain to me why he would sign with Miami?

I understand the desire to win a championship, but he could have done that in many different places. Instead he decides to join Wade’s team to try and help Wade win another championship.

  LeBron James, the face of the league, joining someone else’s team.

If he doesn’t think it’s still Wade’s team now that he’s there, he is gravely mistaken. He is moving to Miami-Wade County as Wade himself refers to it. When the new Big Three were introduced at a welcoming party in South Beach Wade was interviewed first. Wade sat in the center of his new superstar ‘sidekicks’. Wade was in the center of the posters thousands of fans were waving with the slogan, “Yes we did”. There is no debate; this is primarily Wade’s team.

King James isn’t even the King of his own team. Don’t tell me that this doesn’t bother LeBron because he just wants to win. From the time he was anointed “The Chosen One” on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a high school junior, winning has only been one of his main goals. He dreamed bigger than just ruling the NBA and I admired him for that. Up until this point in his career he has marketed himself beautifully and set himself up to become a legend and a global icon. Winning championships, plural, would obviously be a pre-requisite of that, but how he won would as well.

Now, as part of a team with arguably two of the top three best players and one of the best big men in the NBA, all entering the prime of their careers, he is expected to win at least one title. If he doesn’t it will be a monumental failure, ten times what it would have been had he never won one staying in Cleveland. Winning a championship in Miami adds nothing to his legacy, because he did not lead them to it.

He already tried to dispute this in his one hour masturbation session Thursday night by comparing him having Wade and Bosh to Jordan having Pippen and Horace Grant or Kukoc and Rodman.


No disrespect to those players who were great, but they are no Wade and Bosh. Not to mention that in Miami he is Pippen to Wade’s Jordan, regardless of who is actually better (which is debatable). On top of that, there is a glaring difference between LeBron and all the great players he mentioned who won championships with strong supporting casts (Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Jordan, Isiah Thomas, Tim Duncan). All of those players were drafted to be the foundations of their respective teams and were the big block that their championship teams were built around. LeBron, on the other hand, acted like a coward and jumped ship from a strong team dedicated to building a championship team around him, to join an already stacked foundation in Miami. This isn’t the twilight of his career, where he’s on a rebuilding team and desperate to get a ring before he retires. He’s the reigning MVP, who was on the top regular season team in the NBA last season. When KG joined the Celtics it was after he gave Minnesota eleven seasons to build a championship team and once they decided to start rebuilding again.

LeBron has talked a lot in the past about returning the NBA back to its heyday, when the Bird-Magic rivalry was at the forefront.  I was under the impression he understood what was good for the league was good for him. The more popular the league gets, the more popular he becomes as the face of it. LeBron joining Miami was the worst possible scenario for the NBA. Sure it will be entertaining to watch for a little while, but who really wants to see the Redeem Team playing the Pacers?

LeBron and Wade were developing an entertaining rivalry on the court (if not off it), and the league had superstars on competitive teams all over the country. Joining Amare Stoudemire in the biggest market in the country, despite my hatred for New York, would have been good for the league as well as good for LeBron. Joining Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in Chicago would have made them an instant championship favourite, with a young nucleus and LeBron at its center. Staying in Cleveland and trying to bring a title to his smaller market hometown...good for the league and for LeBron. Even signing with the Clippers, easily the worst run franchise in the NBA, would have LeBron playing in the same building as Kobe, definitely an entertaining idea. Good for the league, good for...okay playing for the clippers probably sucks. Either way, LeBron could have signed with a number of other teams for more money, in great markets with great exposure for him, and still been in a position to win a title.

Compounding LeBron’s poor choice of team was how he did it. After it was announced he was having a press conference in prime time, I heard people saying he’s probably going to stay in Cleveland because who would kick their hometown team in the nads on national TV.

LeBron James.

There is a right way of doing things, and a wrong way. Cleveland was never going to be happy with LeBron leaving, but the fact that he didn’t even have the decency to call his team and let them know before he announced it to the world...ouch!

“Hey Dan [Gilbert], I just wanted to let you know I will not be coming back to Cleveland next season. Thank you for everything. I know you didn’t succeed in getting me the players I needed to win a title, but I appreciate all the effort. Best of luck to you in the future.”

Now that you let the guy who paid you millions of dollars to play some basketball know, you can go ahead and tell the random guy sitting on his couch with a beer. I’m Canadian so maybe it’s just me, but I call that common courtesy.

No matter where LeBron was playing in the past, there would always be a multitude of James jerseys in the stands, much like with Jordan. I’m betting that’s going to start changing. In one hour he managed to alienate a huge portion of his fan base and come across as a completely self centered, ego-maniac. This is a guy who actually called the whole recruiting process a “real humbling experience.” How big was his ego before hand, that being wooed by and sucked up to by teams all around the league, being a headline nearly daily in the sports world (while your sport is in the offseason  no less), and announcing a decision he made in prime time on the biggest sports network in America, actually humbled him?!

LeBron, enjoy playing basketball because your dream of becoming a legend and global icon is going up in flames faster than your Cleveland jerseys.