LeBron James: Five Things We Know Now that We Didn't Before

Benjamin C. Klein@@BenjaminCKleinCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2010

Regardless of what you thought you knew about LeBron James when he was with the Cavaliers, that has changed now that he is with the Heat. The following is a list of five things that we thought weren't true about LeBron when he was with the Cavs, but now know to be fact.

1. LeBron James Lacks the Competitive Fire To Be on Kobe's Level

In terms of competitive fire, it's not a big deal to me that LeBron left the Cavs. The situation was bad; the owner is unhinged, in seven years they never put a good team around him, and they never had a competent coach or general manager.

To me the big deal is that he joined the Heat to become Dwyane Wade’s Robin. Not even Scottie Pippin wanted to be Scottie Pippin, and I doubt he would have joined the Bulls to play with Michael Jordan if he wasn’t drafted by them.

LeBron is different; he is going out of his way to be Scottie Pippen. Also, and this might sound trivial to some, but now that LeBron has joined the Heat, I have noticed that at every function involving Wade, LeBron, and Chris Bosh, Wade is universally standing in the middle. Wade even once corrected LeBron to the side so that Wade could stand in the middle.

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are legendary competitors, so much so that even the most trivial things are contests with them. Obviously, LeBron is not wired that way. If he were wired that way, if LeBron was a true competitor, than he wouldn’t want to join Dwyane Wade because he would be more concerned with beating him. Larry Bird was like that. Michael, Tim Duncan, and Kobe are like that. And now after seven years it is time to say it with confidence: LeBron is not wired like a true legend.

2. LeBron Never Really Loved Ohio or Wanted To Play in Cleveland

During LeBron’s press conference he briefly alluded to the fact that he made the best choice for the rest of his life and his family's life. LeBron is not stupid; he knows that he can never go home to Akron peacefully again, and he doesn’t care.

What this means to me is that unless he has a game against the Cavaliers, LeBron is prepared to never step foot in Ohio again. If LeBron were actually concerned about Cleveland, he wouldn’t have gone to Miami the way he did—with an hour long special, no real love or appreciation for the fans, no real apology to what his loss will do to the area economically and emotionally.

He just didn’t—and doesn’t—care because he never wanted to play in Cleveland to begin with. If LeBron actually had respect for the Cleveland organization, he would have called the owner himself to tell him he was leaving. 

If LeBron actually had respect for the people of Ohio he would have rooted for the Yankees and Cowboys in secret. If he actually cared about the Cav fans, he wouldn’t have made his announcement the way he did.

For LeBron to do all that to the area where he grew up means to me that he understands but just doesn’t care. And if that is the case, he is able to do that because he never loved Ohio to begin with.

3. LeBron Knew He Was Leaving the Cavaliers for Months, If Not Years

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After watching LeBron humiliate himself against the Celtics due to his blatant lack of effort, I wondered if his mind was elsewhere. I could hear his inner voice in his head, “I can’t wait to get out of here. The sooner the better.”

Walking through the tunnel after finally losing the Boston series LeBron ripped the Cavs jersey off his body like it was contaminated. Looking at it now, it’s evident that he just couldn’t wait to get that Cavs jersey off his back, to get the Cavs organization off his back.

Even before that, LeBron applied for a jersey number change, wanting to go to No. 6. The number change to me was weird because LeBron had established, marketing-wise, too much on the No. 23 while with the Cavs. The only way that number change made sense to me economically was if LeBron was going to change teams.

Having a new number with the Heat is good for LeBron marketing-wise because it allows him a clean break from his Cavalier marketing model. Now he can re-brand himself easier while at the same time further separating himself from the Cavs and Cleveland.

Also, let's take into account the rumblings that have trickled through the media that LeBron, Bosh, and Wade made a pact to play together in Beijing during the Olympics. Now that LeBron has left, it is easy to read his previous actions and see how they add up to his current status. LeBron lied to his fans and the world, he didn’t make up his mind that morning, but months or years prior.

4. LeBron Intentionally Lied to the Cavaliers and Ohio for Publicity

LeBron intentionally lied to the Cleveland Cavs, their fans, and even other basketball teams during the free-agency process because he wanted to be more famous. Operating under the assumption that LeBron knew he was leaving Cleveland to join the new big three and has for some time why the whole charade? Why the different team meetings?

Because he knew he wanted to have the maximum amount of exposure for the maximum amount of time during this process. It’s fun to be told that you are needed, but beyond the fun of the process I think he did it to build up public interest in him.

Unless LeBron wins a title he will never be on the front page of a newspaper like the Washington Post or The New York Times, or mentioned on CNN or Fox Business News. By milking this process the way that he did, LeBron ensured that his situation received the maximum amount of press coverage so that even people who hate sports, let alone the NBA, now know his name.

The fact that his name is now so recognizable itself makes him more marketable and even more expensive in terms of endorsements. LeBron had no problem lying to his teammates, hometown fans, organization, and people who loved him, so that more people around the country would talk about him.

5. LeBron James Has No Idea of What the Word "Family" Means

LeBron says “family” the way a teenage girl says “love,” constantly and with no idea of what it truly means.

Loyalty is a big part of family and what LeBron just did to the state of Ohio is the equivalent of a man after seven years of marriage and kids announcing that he is just running to the store but really leaving for his mistress.

And if a man has no loyalty than he has no actual concept of what family means.

I mention this because LeBron mentioned family several times since signing with the Heat, saying that the organization and fans made him feel as if they were a family. What a slap in the face to Cleveland, he is basically saying to Ohio that he left them because Miami’s family was better.

Well, someone should have told LeBron that is not how family works, that’s how business works. Seriously, if he had just thought in advance and replaced every mention of the word "family" at his press conference and media interviews with the word "business" he would have come across much more likable, and honest.

I, along with a lot of other people, thought that LeBron and Cleveland was the athlete-city relationship that really did resemble a family. Now LeBron insinuating the idea that Miami can replace or replicate the family love that Cleveland gave him is just even more cruelty Cav fans have to suffer.