Friday, July 9, 2010

Should the Head That Wears the Crown Really Lie THIS Heavy?

Believe it or not, LeBron James didn't drown any kittens yesterday. But from the tone of most of the media coverage he's received you couldn't really be blamed for thinking he'd done something at least that bad, if not worse.

What he did was change employers. After seven years with the company who hired him out of school, he thought he'd have a better chance of reaching his personal and professional goals somewhere else. That's it.

OK, so he also happened to be working in the same area where he grew up. Much has been made that because of that he somehow had more responsibility to stay there. Really? I wonder how many folks suggesting that are still in THEIR hometowns. How many people reading this even are? Fact is, I know a lot of people who couldn't wait to get out of wherever they grew up and experience life somewhere else. It's a mighty big world, after all. But if you're LeBron James I guess that's not acceptable. Not even after seven years.

Bad, bad LeBron.

He must be greedy then, right? Just chasing the almighty dollar?

Uh, nope. Because of how the NBA salary cap works, he actually would have made the most money staying right where he was. More than $30 million more. Instead, of the six teams he was reportedly considering he ended up going with the team that will likely pay him the LEAST.

Terrible, terrible LeBron.

Surely he just craved the spotlight. He wanted to go somewhere he could hog all the attention and just pad his personal stats. Be a big fish in a small pond.

Wrong again. In signing with Miami, he's going to a team with a superstar already firmly ensconced in Dwyane Wade. Someone who's already been there for seven years and won a championship. LeBron is likely to never has as many titles or team records as D-Wade when all is said and done. It's equally unlikely he'll supplant Wade in the hearts of Heat supporters. The best he can likely hope for is to one day be side-by-side with him on the fan pedestal.

Evil, evil LeBron.

But what about that one-hour televised special where he announced his decision? That was arrogance personified, wasn't it?

Actually, the show supposedly wasn't LeBron's idea. It was sportscaster Jim Gray's. If anyone in this thing is a self-absorbed, narcissistic egomaniac let me respectfully suggest that it’s the guy who thought people were tuning in last night to see him ask questions. They’re called “follow-up questions” for a reason, Jim. They’re not supposed to be asked BEFORE the question everyone actually cares about.

What did LeBron get out of the event? Just $2.5 million for the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Wicked, wicked LeBron.

It was completely classless of LeBron to show such disrespect to the Cavaliers and their fans, though. The way he said things like, "At the end of the day, I feel awful. I feel even worse that I wasn't able to bring an NBA championship to that city. I never wanted to leave Cleveland. My heart will always be around that area."

Maybe he should have followed the example of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert instead, who posted an open letter on the team's web site referring to LeBron and his recent actions as "cowardly," "shameful," "heartless" and "callous." Someone who quit not only in this year's playoffs but last year's as well.

I doubt he called LeBron those things last week when he was waving $120 million in his face to stay with the Cavs. But hey, if I was Gilbert I'd want to deflect attention away from the person really responsible for LeBron leaving Cleveland, too. The person who had the ability to assemble a championship-level supporting cast around him and couldn't do it. DAN GILBERT.

Not too long ago, it was considered a noble act for players to sacrifice money and stats for the chance to win a title. It supposedly embodied everything that was good about sports, and the people who played them.

Just apparently not if you're LeBron James.

1 comment:

Orontes said...

Very well thought and written. I have to be honest and say you made me think about the issue from a new perspective. Thanks.