LeBron James' public perception changed forever last summer when he announced his decision to walk away from his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.
Right now, he's gotta be feeling pretty darn good about that decision.
The Miami Heat have won 18 of their last 19 games, including a current 11-game winning streak on the road. They are half a game out of first place in the Eastern Conference, behind the Boston Celtics.
While there is plenty of season and postseason still to be played, it seems, at least right now, that the super team is working out pretty well.
More telling than the Heat's winning, however, may be the Cleveland Cavaliers' lack of winning. The Cavaliers are 8-26 right now, good for last place in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavaliers, quite opposite of the Heat, have lost 17 of their last 18 games, including a current seven-game losing skid. They are on pace to win 19 games this season. That would be the first time they've failed to win 30 games since before drafting LeBron James.
A lot of the critics of LeBron's decision asked, at the time, "How can you leave a team that won 61 games and won the Eastern Conference?"
Well, folks, when LeBron left that 61-win team, he apparently took 42 wins with him.
The team that, with James at the helm, earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, is now on track to be the No. 1 loser of the Eastern Conference.
Logically speaking, if LeBron can win 61 games with perhaps the worst team in the league, he can, given time, win 61 games with any team in the league. What he wasn't able to do with one of the worst teams in the league was win a championship.
So LeBron put himself in the same situation that Kobe, Duncan, Garnett and even Wade were in when they won their championships. He put himself on a team with enough talent to contend for the title.
Now, I don't want to discredit LeBron James' Cavalier teammates. Of course, they contributed much to the success of those Cleveland teams. Basketball is a team sport, and you can't win anything by yourself.
There are certainly other reasons (though none as impactful as James' departure) that you could give for Cleveland's current struggles.
Bottom line, though—with LeBron they won 61 games, and without him they will struggle to win 20.
When LeBron announced his decision, there was no shortage of people ready to call him out for leaving what they thought to be a very good situation.
Now that things have started to play out, there doesn't seem to be anyone willing to call the Cavaliers out for what they really are.
So, I'll do it. The Cleveland Cavaliers are a sub-par NBA basketball team, and they never put the talent around LeBron that would've convinced him to stay.
I'm not saying they didn't try, I'm just saying that they didn't succeed.
With every 'L' that shows up on the Cavaliers' schedule results, and every 'W' that shows up on the Heat's, LeBron's decision is looking better and better by the day.