Many times when I write about current events I like to wait until they die down a bit making them not so current. I am afforded this great opportunity because I am on no do or die deadline and if one ponders about it sitting back and reflecting on events unfolding is a great thing. This is what I have done with this Lebron James decision situation. I remember in the fall of 2002 I was in Technical School for United States Air Force. One of my basic training friends told me about this “Lebron James kid”. I watched his game and was not really all that impressed. When Kobe Bryant was his age I felt Bryant was a far better player. Bryant did not have the internet as it was in 2002 nor did Bryant have ESPN coverage. James was an unheralded high school phenom that was too big and too good for most if not all high school players. The writing was on the wall that he was going to enter the NBA draft right after high school. He inked a major multi-million dollar endorsement deal with Nike before he inked a NBA contract. Being a huge fan of college basketball I would have liked to have seen him play at least one year in college. He was labeled ‘King’ James before he graced an NBA court. Every time I saw anything about him I thought of the Biggie song “Sky’s the limit” because it truly was for a young James.
Fast forward to 2008 where I am a two year Staff Sergeant who has witnessed this phenomenal athlete score 29 of the Cleveland Cavaliers last 30 points to win the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons. There was an abundance of love for the ‘King’ in his court which spread around the league and the world like those powder particles in his pregame ritual. Now let us fast forward to 2010 where all that fan fare turned to harsh criticism and pure hate from journalist and fans. I for one do not have an issue with James changing teams. I do believe he could have handled the situation extremely better than he did. Normal people who live in the real world give two weeks notice when leaving an employer, even when the employer does not deserve that much respect. Many employers lay employees off with short or no notice at all. In the Air Force people are getting their papers for ridiculous reasons. The sports world is notoriously ruthless when getting rid of players especially aging veterans. In James’s case he should been a bit more sensitive to the city Cleveland. He ripped their hearts out like a Mortal Kombat video game character. What he did is equivalent to a man taking a man taking a young woman’s (who is in love) virginity then kicking out and making her walk home. In my lifetime the city of Cleveland has had their beloved Browns ripped from them and now James ripped himself from the fabric of Ohio society. He should manned up and gave the city of Cleveland a proper press conference. Maybe that is way too much to ask in a society were people break up through text messages and tweet everything that goes on in their lives. Once again he should manned up and gave the city of Cleveland a proper press conference. Could of, would of, and should of.
Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan have gone on record saying they would have never joined forces with one another to win an NBA title. If I can recall correctly Barkley joined Hakeem Olajuwon and Scottie Pippen, two of the fifty greatest NBA players, in an attempt to get a ring. It is almost like the sports world wants players to suffer years of defeat before they taste victory. Then while they are tasting defeat they love to remind these players that their legacy is dependent on a piece of jewelry. Therefore, how can you blame LeBron James for making the decision that he made. I always believed the name of the game was to win as much as humanly possible. No one commented on the move Gary Payton and Karl Malone did when they signed with the Los Angeles Lakers to get that coveted piece of jewelry. Malone never received his ring but Payton eventually did with the Miami Heat. James is just maximizing his potential and placing himself in the best position to win. Yes he could have and should have this situation a lot better than he did. The name of the game is to win and win often therefore Mr. James go out and win. Just do it with a bit more class than your last two years in Cleveland.