Let’s rewind the tape back to July 8, 2010, the day before ‘the Decision’. On this day, LeBron not only had a huge fan base in Cleveland, but a nation of followers and admirers.
Arguments would spontaneously break out between Kobe fans and LeBron fans over who’s the NBA’s elite player. And while Kobe boasted five rings to LeBron’s bare hand, the King’s faithful following would fight tooth and nail on his behalf.
To his fans, LeBron was a superhero, putting his team on his shoulders night in and night out, carrying the Cavs to the best record in the NBA. This was something that Kobe Bryant could never do, not even in the prime of his career.
After Kobe shooed Shaq out of town because he wanted to be “the Man”, we saw what he could do on his own…nothing. Only when he was surrounded by a phenomenal cast did the Lakers become great again.
The King’s faithful desperately wanted to see him get over the hump and lead his team to a championship, if for no other reason than to silence the Kobe fans. And not only did we want this, but we believed it could happen because of how great LeBron was.
But after another failed attempt at the title, this one a second-round exit, it looked as though even LeBron couldn’t carry Cleveland’s sorry cast to an NBA Championship.
And despite LeBron and Cleveland’s avid fan base, the Cavs’ front office still could not attract a worthy sidekick for the King.
So let us be clear about one thing: LeBron’s fans outside of Cleveland weren’t upset that the King left the Cavs, we were just disappointed to see him become one leg of a superstar tripod.
I wasn’t even upset about the way he announced his decision. I thought it was admirable that he would go on television and face his critics rather than sign a contract in some back office and let his agent make a statement for him.
If anyone should be blamed for that debacle, it should be ESPN for hyping it up for three months.
Back to the issue at hand, it was never in doubt when LeBron went to Miami that they were going to be great, and yet all of the sudden people are saying that LeBron made a good decision because the Heat are winning games.
Someone on ESPN was just saying the other day that, “all of LeBron’s critics are really eating their words now.”
The truth of the matter is that LeBron could have won anywhere he went. If you don’t believe me, look at the Cavs’ record since his departure…
Furthermore, LeBron had two other suitors in New York and Chicago that had great supporting casts. The difference was that there was no Dwayne Wade in Chicago or New York and certainly no established star like Chris Bosh alongside one of the top three players in the league.
Chicago and New York both had good talent that would have been solidified with a superstar centerpiece like LeBron. And there would be no debate as to whose team it was.
As an NBA fan, I’m not mad that LeBron left Cleveland, I’m not mad about ‘The Decision’, I don’t care about all the stupid comments he’s made since then, I’m just disappointed that we’ll never know the real substance of LeBron James.
We all watched as Michael Jordan willed his team to six championships after many failed attempts.
Overcoming adversity is what makes a player great.
In the case of LeBron James, when adversity presented itself, he not only ran from it, but he took the absolute easiest way out. No amount of rings will ever change that.