I had to let the "King's" reactions to Cleveland's Game Six loss sit with me for awhile. It wasn't because I was disappointed that they lost. I was actually stunned to hear that LeBron wasn't going to talk to the media after the game. He spoke privately to his teammates, then hopped on the bus.
I understand being heated after a loss, because professional sports is full of super-sized egos and hyper-competitiveness. However when you are the so-called torch bearer and an icon of the NBA, it is a slap in the face. It is a slap in the face to your coach, your opponents and your teammates.
Another factor that should come into play is that it also showed a modicum of disrespect for the way his mother raised him. Of course, his mother displayed those manners in last year's conference semifinals against the Celtics.
She charged out of the stands when Paul Pierce fouled her baby, James proceeded to tell his mother in an X-rated manner to sit down. He later joked about it in his press conference after the game.
The media chose to laugh with him instead of commenting on the disrespectful way he spoke to his mother. So is this latest outburst surprising? In retrospect, no.
Mike Brown was visibly shaken during his press conference because he already knew that his meal ticket took a walk. Brown's hand-holding and coddling is definitely the norm in the front office and among the denizens of Cleveland.
Yet this ultimate show of no one matters but me may have sealed the deal for Cleveland for him to stay. The Cavaliers are going to have a lot of holes to fill with the mass exodus that is sure to happen. Ben Wallace has already sounded the gong for his retirement and Anderson Varajao has opted out of the final year of his contract.
I feel more sorry for Delonte West, (I loved him as a Celtic ) and Mo Williams. You could see how much they looked up to him, and how confused Williams looked in front of the media.
That was the ultimate letdown. His teammates probably felt betrayed. He stood by them when they won, but left them when he had to be their voice.
If LeBron wants to remove this underlying bitterness to his legacy, then he will stay. He probably saw $$ signs going out the window, because now he is forced to stay till he gets one.
If I were him, I would do what Jordan did with his final years with the Bulls: Sign a one-year tender. Red Aurbach was a great proponent of this. He said he never understood a player's rush to marry himself to a team for so long.
He can keep the heat on the front-office to get players to surround him, plus his endorsements will more than make up for it.
NBA players, as well as all athletes, are essentially hired guns anyway.
James anointed himself king when he was 16 old and has always wanted to be center stage. This would ensure that he stays there, the NBA's own little "As LeBron's World Turns." The media will have a field day, speculation will run rampant, it will be all James, all the time. Everything he ever wanted.
This blunder may have saved a city, if not humbled a man that would be king, if not now, but in the waning days of this year's finals.