LeBron’s idea to contact ESPN and host a one hour special called “The Decision” should not have been a major surprise to anyone. Let’s face it, he never went to college, so this entire thing for him was a recruiting process. His decision to do this was more or less the same concept of a major recruit announcing his or her decision on National Signing Day. So I personally do not have a huge problem with his idea to hold this event isn’t a big deal to me.
What I do have a problem with is how LeBron just let the teams hang around waiting. He should have had the decency to call each of the teams who came to lure him to their city and tell them what his decision was himself instead of having one of his “advisors” do it. If not do that for every team, he at least owed that for Cleveland’s ownership who bent over backwards for him, doing everything he asked for as far as trying to get players to play around him.
Dan Gilbert’s Letters and Jesse Jackson
Not long after LeBron announced his decision to go to Miami, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert released an open letter on the team website in which Gilbert called James a “coward” and a “betrayer”. Essentially Gilbert wrote a letter that was the equivalent of a letter a scorned ex-girlfriend would write after a bad break up. Another letter Gilbert wrote accused James of quitting on his team during the playoffs. Neither of the two letters should have been sent, but I am fine with the first one. Calling LeBron a “quitter” was probably going a bit far but everything Gilbert said in the first letter is exactly what a Cleveland Cavs fan wants to see.
But where does Jesse Jackson come into this? Well, after reading Gilbert’s letter Jackson came to the conclusion that Gilbert was a racist and was treating LeBron as if he was a “slavemaster and LeBron was a run-away slave”. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! Please go read the letter Gilbert released and tell me where you see this, because I do not see it. Jackson and anyone else who want to play the race card here are sadly mistaken. This situation has NOTHING to do with race so with all due respect Mr. Jackson, please JUST SHUT UP!
Before we can really go into what his legacy will be, we have to be willing to first admit that we don’t live an era that players stick with one team for their entire career. We now live in an era with the mentality of “play smart not hard”, meaning that players want to play longer for more money. So they will make it easier on themselves by joining forces with other stars instead of battling them year in and year out. Now that we’ve established that lets tackle LeBron’s legacy.
In Cleveland he will be remembered as the “betrayer” who left his team and turned his back on his hometown. Outside of Cleveland he will still be regarded as a great player. The titles that he may win in Miami will be a bit diminished in value by the fans just because he had to join two other stars to win them. But to him, they are still just as special. To be honest, I don’t think he would have ever reached the same level as Michael Jordan. Even if he had stayed in Cleveland and won a few titles, Jordan set the bar pretty high. When his career is over could he be one of the top five players of all time? Sure, if stats are all that matters, but this whole situation will prevent him from ever reaching the Jordan plateau. But then again, I was never convinced that he wanted to be Michael Jordan version 2.
Fun In The Sun: My Conspiracy Theory
To be honest, I have never been a huge fan of conspiracy theories, but I have developed one of my own:
Back in Beijing, LeBron, Wade and Bosh were all part of the 2008 “Redeem Team”. During that time I personally believe these guys talked about what it would like to play together and they made a plan to see if they could arrange it then and all signed extensions that allowed them to be free agents this summer. So let’s fast forward to last November. The night after LeBron and the Cavs beat the Heat in Miami, James announced he would change his number to 6. The reason most accepted for this was that he “wanted to honor Jordan” and so a night after having dinner with Jordan and Pat Riley, James made the announcement. Fast forward again to the right before free agency started. Dwayne Wade never seemed like he would leave Miami and I would be willing to bet that Wade went to Pat Riley and promised that he could deliver both Bosh and James to South Beach if Riley could clear the cap space. From there Bosh signed with Miami after turning down a deal to go to Cleveland and LeBron announced his plan to join them in Miami. If this entire thing was planned in advance, I wonder if the Bosh turning down the Cavs offer wasn’t preplanned either. Just because it would’ve given Riley time to make more cap room. Let’s go back to the number thing really quickly. Bosh was given the number 1, Wade wears number 3 and LeBron changed his number to 6. Numerically the team was built around Wade, maybe it’s just another coincidence. But in this situation there are enough “coincidences” to make me wonder.
Thanks for reading.