For the Good of the NBA, It's Time to Let LeBron James Play Basketball

Charlie ScaturroCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2010

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 21:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat drives the basket against Marvin Williams #24 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 21, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

First things first, this article is not directed toward Cavaliers fans, who pretty much have the right to feel however they want about the way the LeBron situation played out.

As for everyone else, the time has come to lie to rest this animosity towards LeBron James for joining the Miami Heat and leaving the city of Cleveland. 

Yes, it was an entertaining way to get through the dull dog days of summer when the only sport worth watching was baseball.  “The Decision” gave us something to talk about and stirred up strong emotions in even the most casual of sports fans. 

But with the first games of the NBA regular season just a few days away, we need to move on.

The continuing animosity towards LeBron James, which has spanned over weeks and months is not only childish, it is also self-serving. 

Like everyone else, I watched “the Decision” in horror as I sat there trying to figure out why LeBron chose to rip Cleveland’s heart out on national television when a simple press release would have sufficed.

He absolutely went about this the wrong way and there’s simply no defending “the Decision,” or the media circus that surrounded it. 

But at the end of the day, LeBron didn’t want what others wanted for him and he decided that going to Miami to play with Wade and Bosh was what he wanted. 

What ended up happening to Cavaliers fans in the aftermath of LeBron’s choice was unfortunate but fans from other cities don’t need to hate LeBron because of that.

The city of Cleveland will spit plenty of venom LeBron’s way and they don’t need any help from bitter Knicks, Nets, Mavericks, Bulls or any other fans to take out their frustrations on LeBron under the guise of standing up for the city of Cleveland when they’re really just mad that their favorite team didn’t sign him.

The stage is set for the 2010 NBA season to be one of the most entertaining ones we have had in a long time and if this animosity towards LeBron continues for much longer, we run the risk of it taking away from the game of basketball, which is why most of us cared about the whole situation in the first place—because we love the NBA.

I’m not defending LeBron or his actions; in fact, I never really liked him well before he uttered the infamous words, “taking my talents to South Beach.”  But I enjoy watching the man play basketball, because he’s one of the most gifted athletes of our generation and probably of all time.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the “Summer of LeBron” left a bad taste in most fans' mouths (except Heat fans) and made the NBA as a whole look bad.  But there’s a simple solution to making everyone forget about the summer of 2010 and that’s great NBA basketball in the fall, winter and spring of 2010 and 2011. 

Which is why the NBA needs one of its best players playing the game at his highest level so we can get back to talking about the teams and players in the context of basketball and leave behind what was an ugly summer for the NBA.     

If you want to root against LeBron go ahead and do so, but do it because he just dropped 40 on your favorite team and made them look like they belong in the NBA D-League, not because of one ill-conceived summer of egotism. 

LeBron’s regrettable, self-centered actions on that July evening have come and gone and we don’t have to forgive him but enough is enough, it’s time to let the man do what he does best—play basketball.

If we as fans can’t let “the Decision” die then it’s very possible that an unbelievable season of NBA basketball will be overshadowed by it, and that would truly be a shame.