Last I checked, none of the NBA teams play their home games in the Roman Coliseum. While the ancient Romans might have enjoyed the predictable spectacle of lion versus human, there's a reason why the Romans called it bread and circus. It was not a sporting event. It was a grotesque form of entertainment.
Although the NBA is the least competitive of the major leagues in the U.S., I certainly don't relish the idea of making it even less so by assembling a super-team led by LeBron James, even if that team might be in my town, Chicago.
Chicago has all ready enjoyed the double three-peat. Once the Jordan-Pippen super-team was assembled there was very little suspense as to the outcome of a given game or of a given season. The Bulls sometimes played with their opponents to make it interesting, but when it counted no one doubted they could come back from any deficit at will.
Sorry Chicago, been there, done that. Finally, after years of false starts, the Bulls have begun to build a team without any superstars. Rose and Noah are beginning to emerge, and if they do emerge while playing in Chicago, so be it. That's fair. That's interesting. That's fantastic!
But what's the thrill in going out and buying a championship? Does anybody really like a gang of bullies? Mercenaries? Paid assassins?
I can't get excited about a team that everyone in the world expects to win. I find myself cheering against my own team versus noble over-achievers in such situations.
In the history of major league sports in the United States, there have been a few dominant teams, e.g. the Yankees and the Celtics, in certain eras, that have taken the meaning out of the expression, "that's the reason they play the games."
With those teams, the reason they play the games is to add insult to injury, to rake in more money and more glory for the over-privileged, to starve the masses, to feed the elite. And that's just un-American.
Now, there are a few exceptions to my rule. For instance, if the Cubs were to try to buy a championship, that would be fine if they could do it - once. To break the curse.
In cities or with franchises that are known to be cursed, it may take a gang of gods to break the curse. In other words, places like, oh - I don't know, CLEVELAND!
Oh, but King James all ready plays there. Grew up there. Has all his roots there. So for crying out loud, LeBron, just STAY THERE, at least until you get the job done.
I think Mr. James all ready knows this in his heart. No one respects the middle aged man who leaves his wife of 20 years for the hottest thing walking past him. And except in sports, no one respects a mercenary, a traitor, a turn-coat.
If James had grown up in Chicago and after giving Cleveland a fair shot decided to go home to play, that would be one thing. Or if he'd grown up in Timbuktu and decided to see what he could do in L.A. or New York, so be it.
But this is different. He's a Cleveland boy, born and raised. He has the opportunity to break his town's curse, to bring them their first major league championship since the Johnson administration, since before the NFL-AFL merger, since before there were more than six teams in the NHL.
Now if Dwyane Wade wants to come home to Chicago, great. Add Chris Bosh. Fine. Wade and Bosh with Rose and Noah and the rest. That would be interesting. With the right coaching they could win a title or two. It wouldn't be a foregone conclusion, but it could happen.
On the other hand, if James leaves his hometown for greener (and we mean greener) pastures, Cleveland may never recover from the setback. Certainly the Cavaliers won't. And that just isn't right.