LeBron James' Legacy Lost In Cleveland

Scott Fitzsimmons@@Chuck_SimmsAnalyst IJuly 9, 2010

BOSTON - MAY 13:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands by in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers 94-85.  NOTE TO USER: User Expressly Acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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LeBron James worked very hard to build a legacy that would last a very long time in the NBA. He has been a big part of the community he grew up in, and had an opportunity to step into super stardom, and leave a legacy that Cleveland residents and NBA fans in general would NEVER forget.

When the hype started around him in high school, many people questioned if his play would stand up in the NBA. We all wondered what kind of player, or person, would emerge after his mom took a second mortgage on their house to buy him a Hummer so he could "look the part" of an NBA superstar.

I cringed when I heard the news of the Hummer purchase, because so many egos are overinflated before they step on the professional court, and they never recover from the poor decisions they make off the court from the "Above The Law" syndrome.

He has surprised me, and many others, in the way he has handled himself off the court. He was also one of a trend of "Nice Guys" leading the league, including Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh.

Even without heading straight to the finals and winning a Championship, he is still thought of in similar standing with Kobe Bryant, who is arguably the best player in the league.

The thing King James had working for him was the fact that with Kobe's talent came a bit of an attitude and a little bit of a bad boy image. People didn't think he could win without Shaq, and with the alleged sexual assault, many fans strayed away from one Kobe Bryant who was thought to be the next Jordan.

Now with a move to Miami, James joins Wade and Bosh on another Super Team that joins the Lakers and Boston in the untouchable category.

The move at least gives the NBA more than just two teams to cheer for that actually have a chance to win the NBA Championship. The rest of the league's fans are stripped of another player that could lead their team to the promised land.

The move does more than just hurt the league, it also hurts the legacy LeBron would have left had he chosen to stay in Cleveland.

It's not that you are required to stay with a team to be a true legend, but it does help, and adds to the respect. Just look at those greats who are known for staying with their teams throughout their careers—Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Kevin McHale, Bill Russell, and John Stockton. You could have added Michael Jordan to the list had he not ruined it by playing for the Wizards.

Had James been traded, it wouldn't have been considered his fault. But since he chose to go somewhere else, it ruins his bond with almost all Cleveland fans; fans that may have continued to be fans of his even in another jersey.

Give LeBron at least a little bit of credit for being honest that he just moved to have a better shot at winning a Championship. Although that excuse doesn't soften the blow of the move to anyone.

I do lay some blame with the league having allowed such a few amount of teams to dominate the NBA the way they do. I can understand wanting to try to create your own Super Team and dethrone the Lakers and the Celtics.

I still lay most of the blame with James, who is still very young in his career. It's not like he's at the end of his career, with running out of time to be a part of the winning team.

If the situation was the same, and it was Bosh and Wade coming to Cleveland, it still wouldn't have affected his legacy as much. People may still have questioned if he could have done it without the others, but his Cleveland fans would have still held strong to their King.

Now James looks like a guy who is impatient, and really just wants an easier path to the NBA Finals. It changes the whole persona of a player who seemed dedicated to trying to win a Championship with his home town Cavaliers. 

In the end, Lebron's stats and abilities may not be questioned. However, if the Miami Heat win a Championship, it will never be thought of as "LeBron leads the Heat To A Championship". At Best it will be "Wade, James and Bosh Win!"

A move like the one James just made may cause many to forever question his heart and desire to actually lead a team to an NBA Championship, therefore erasing what could have been a great legacy that was started these last years in Cleveland, but that now has left town.

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