It's all been said and done, and LeBron James is going to play for the Miami Heat. Except people have been saying things for way to long about his decision. Here's my take:
It wasn't a bad decision.
A lot of people who don't like LeBron's decision are unhappy because of "The Decision." That's understandable. That was pretty stupid on James' part. But the decision itself may not have been so stupid for a number of reasons.
First of all, this completely takes LeBron out of the contest with MJ. We all know that. It affects his "legacy." However, maybe what LeBron wanted was a different legacy.
It's a bit much to be named the greatest player of all time. LeBron was doing all of the things to get him to that point in his career. However, if he didn't want that title, all the experts were saying it day in and day out on SportsCenter, if leaves, he won't be the greatest of all time.
LeBron, in the end, packed up and left Cleveland.
LeBron chose to be part of a team where he's a contributor, not even the main focus. That really says something about what he wants his legacy to be. If he wanted to be like Mike, and still leave Cleveland, he should've gone to Chicago or NYC, where his teammates would've been better than those in Cleveland, and he'd have a better chance than before to be an NBA champion.
Instead, LeBron chose to be a part of what he is hoping to be the greatest team of all time.
At no point through this whole process has LeBron said anything about his legacy as an individual great player. He's talked about being a team player, and the choice he made makes him the ultimate team guy. He's not oblivious to the fact that he won't be "the man" in Miami, he had weeks to think about that.
LeBron is becoming a part of what will hopefully go down in history as one of the first real Championship teams. Not players, teams. Take a title, any title, and you can put a player on that title. The Lakers titles, Magic. The Celtics, Bird. The Bulls, Jordan. The Spurs, Duncan. The Lakers later, Kobe. It's all been about the leading role in the past.
Now we're starting to see the first team where it's a complete toss up.
This is feeling a bit like the Boston-3 party in that, when the Heat win their championship, the team will be remembered as what won the title, not one player and his backups. Even great teams like the 90s Bulls were Jordan and his backups, despite how amazing of players Pippen and Rodman were.
This brings me to the other point I want to make. If LeBron wanted to compare with Kobe and MJ, wouldn't he need other players? Yes. Did he have them? Not really.
When MJ got his rings, he had Scottie Pippen right next to his side, who was one of the greatest players of the time. He couldn't have won 6 without Pippen.
Between Shaq and Pau, Kobe's Lakers struggled a lot. They weren't even in the playoffs for several years. At least LeBron, with very little assistance, brought his team to the #1 seed in the East. Twice.
Really, can you compare the rest of Kobe and Michael's teams with LeBron's? No. They were easily better. Pau Gasol's help alone beats out Mo Williams and Antwan Jamison. Then throw in Andrew Bynum, and Ron Artest. Mo Williams is good, but he was very good because he played next to LeBron.
Want to be a good judge of how much LeBron helped the Cavs? Just watch the team's win total next year. That'll help you calculate how much of the 61 wins the other Cavaliers chipped in.
So while you'd think that LeBron shouldn't be compared to MJ and Kobe because of his own skills, just remember that his supporting cast wasn't exactly the A-list.
That's probably part of the reason he's abandoned that goal in Cleveland. Everyone would love to hoist up an "MVP" trophy right after the championship one, but if you can't find the right people to share it with, it's time to go. And that's why the NBA has free agency.
LeBron does have the right to go. Cleveland fans have some right to be angry that he "abandoned" them, but think of it this way. If LeBron had a better crew, he would've stayed. Who provided his team? Cleveland.
If you're given a kingdom, and declared the king, it's a great feeling. But when everything else provided isn't very good, it's time to go. Especially from a place where if you take a way one letter, you're saying "Leave-land."
And yet, people continue to burn his jerseys, and criticize his decisions. While some of what he did deserves all of that, I'm still waiting for someone to point out the good things he did. He's given up his kingdom. He's become part of a team. He's made himself a contributor on a team. That's not selfishness. That selflessness.