In parks, schools and gyms around the country and around the world, pick up basketball games keep the courts filled with enthusiastic players eager to play and win.
As diverse as countries, cities and neighborhoods are, there is one constant in the world of pick up ball: How the teams are chosen.
The player waiting for the next game usually has the choice from players also waiting to play or choose from the losing players coming off the court. The one constant rule in public courts is you lose, you sit. Hence, every team coming on the court will usually consist of selected players. The goal is always to have the best players on the team.
Sound familiar? The NBA is no different. This is a pretty simple concept to anyone that has ever played basketball. Any baller out there can attest to this. So, why is it so hard for the world to grasp LeBron's decision to join the Miami Heat?
The media and fans have identified the crime, named the suspect, and handed down a heavy sentence. In their minds, LeBron's legacy has gone up in flames. Surprisingly this incident has caused more anguish, tears, stress and hate than any other incident perpetrated by current or past players.
Raping, stealing, doping, gambling, cheating and many other crimes have been committed by the famous and the not so famous players of the NBA. Crimes far worse than the crime of improving one's chances of winning. The despicable bastard. Imagine his nerve in trying to surround himself with the best. What does he think this is, a business?
This has been one of the most hotly contested and covered events in recent years. The fans (and players) have voiced their opinions as well. Or they voiced the opinions of writers and analysts.
I am trying to be optimistic here and say that this is just the result of the "end of the season blues". There is no basketball activity to write about. The season is over, the playoffs happened without much fanfare. The draft came and went with no surprises. In the free agency, your professional assumptions and forecasts were proven wrong. Is that the reason for this "hate LeBron party"? This has to be the biggest bandwagon display I have ever witnessed.
Remember these days, you fair weather friends. Your columns, analysis, and worship will change their tone once again as LeBron's star rises as we all know it will. You will again sing his praises and claim earnestly that you never condemned him. You will cheer him on along with him teammates for having vision in putting such a great team together. You will sell your opinion of the day to readers once more.
All spectators have seen the mythical rising of the Phoenix more than once. Kobe Bryant went from "accused rapist" to again being a loved role model for our children. Mike Tyson didn't do so bad either after his jailtime. We forgive. Or we forget. No, that's not right, we don't forget. We rationalize. We accept. We put on our blinders. We have short term memory.
LeBron committed no crime against team owners, fans, and writers. He owed us nothing. He made the unfortunate decision to bait us all into watching his one hour show. Let's not forget that the "Decision" did have a positive part that no one seems to remember. $2.5 million dollars donated to the Boys & Girls' Club.
How many of you analysts and writers out there has ever had that kind of impact on anything? It may not have been LeBron's main intended goal. That money will impact a lot of lives. More than any of your words can ever do. Not to say that your words have no impact. But I doubt you can generate those kind of donations from an article.
Words can move the masses. It is a powerful gift to affect the thinking of the public. Everyday you have the opportunity to sway public opinion. Be careful what you write. Remember the words of the dying Ben Parker (Spiderman's uncle): "With great power comes great responsibility".
There will always be something to write about with the colorful characters of the NBA. Mistakes will be made, and there will be forgiveness. We will read your spin on it, and you may or may not convince us. But in the end, realize that we will always remember what you said yesterday, what you say today, and what you'll say tomorrow.
And we may judge you, fairly or unfairly, depending on the weather.