With only a few sentences on July 8th, 2010, LeBron James changed his team, his legacy and the balance of power in the NBA for the foreseeable future.
"The Decision" captivated the sports world and spawned what seemed like a never-ending stream of rhetoric on James' abilities as a player, his character as a person, the influence of his entourage, possible conspiracy theories and countless other points of contention amongst not only Cavalier fans, but basketball fans around the continent as well.
Anyone with a keyboard and an Internet connection, a smart phone and a Twitter application or, in the case of Dan Gilbert, a spare $100,000 lying around to give to David Stern weighed in during the wake of LeBron's choice, and almost none of the feedback was positive.
I think I even read an expletive-ridden blog penned by my grandmother in lieu of "The Decision" (she wanted him to sign with the Knicks, by the way).
But what exactly have we learned since those awkward 30 minutes with Jim Gray in early July? We've learned that while some of the knee-jerk reactions about LeBron as a player were unfounded (that he's a choke artist and shrinks under pressure, most notably), everything that was claimed about LeBron as a person has turned out to be 100 percent correct, if not understated to some degree.
It's clear that his inner circle has warped his sense of reality to the extent that anyone who dares question or challenge any of the man's decisions is either a) jealous, b) racist or c) both. In a realm (professional sports) that is overflowing with humongous egos, LBJ still manages to stand out above the rest.
The third person references to himself, his inability to admit fault and of course that ridiculous birthday cake that eclipsed the gross domestic product of Zimbabwe are all great examples that James lives in his own little LeBron world, and anyone who isn't willing to adhere to the rules within is straight-up not welcome.
For what it's worth, LeBron had every right to head to Miami. He finished his contract as a Cavalier, and despite a couple of uninspired performances in last spring's playoff series against Boston, he had delivered for the Cleveland faithful time and time again, usually in an awe-inspiring fashion.
There's also no disputing the fact that the chances of LeBron winning an NBA championship this season went up considerably as soon as he linked up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in the MIA.
What caused the venom spewed at James to reach an immeasurable amount is the way he chose to break the hearts of the Cleveland fans and his refusal to budge his stance during the aftermath.
After James demoralized Cleveland fans with a 38-point effort in his return in early December, Craig Sager asked him in a postgame interview whether he regretted the way he chose to break "the decision" and if he wanted to apologize to the fans of Cleveland.
For all intents and purposes, it was a lob thrown in by Sager—a perfect chance for LeBron to give a quick blurb about how he should have handled the situation differently and given the fans and organization a little more respect considering that they supported him for seven years and bent over backwards to keep him, his family and his entourage happy only to be stabbed in the back.
Instead, we got a classic example of the man's thought process.
"I don't want to apologize. My intention was not to hurt anyone. My intention was solely on kids throughout the whole process. Why the hell would I apologize to these poor schmucks in Cleveland? I'm LeBron James, and the last time I checked, all of these losers here are not."
Okay, so I may have added in the last couple of sentences. But I think you get the idea. You don't want to apologize? The focus was on kids? Are you talking about the same kids that let out a collective groan when you uttered the now infamous sentence, "This fall I'm going to take my talents to South Beach"?
I think the fact that a room full of middle schoolers realized the gravity of what you had just done while you sat there completely oblivious tells you all you need to know about LeBron's grasp on reality.
If you're looking for more gasoline to throw on that burning jersey, you don't have to look much further. How about the ESPN story that depicted LeBron in a not so flattering light that "Team LBJ" had yanked almost immediately after publication? Or when he had all footage destroyed of himself getting dunked on by then-Xavier player Jordan Crawford at one of his high school camps?
Or the latest example of LeBron's raging egomania—the tweet he published following the Cavaliers' 50-point-plus beatdown at the hands of the Lakers on Tuesday night?
"“Crazy. Karma is a b****. Gets you every time. It’s not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!”
And this guy still thinks that the hatred directed towards him is unfounded? Please.
LeBron left for Miami because he wanted to win "multiple championships" and secure his place in the pantheon of all time NBA greats—but he's alienated so many fans, players and executives around the league over the past six months that even if he does end up with a handful of rings, he'll probably never be placed in the same category as the Birds, Russells, Magics, Jordans or even Kobes.
There's also the chance that a championship will always elude the man self-proclaimed as "King". Because if karma is actually a bitch...then LeBron James should be absolutely terrified.