More on LeBron

I was part of the Hog and the Curtain Sports Show podcast last night. The topic was obviously LeBron’s decision and all the various discussions that go along with it. But I still have a few more thoughts on the subject…

1) I grew up watching Michael Jordan. I idolized him. I watched every game that was televised. I loved the desire that he played with. I loved the way he competed. I loved the fact that if he had the ball at the end of the game, you knew he would make the shot. I loved him so much I became a Bulls fan. I’m sure there were a lot of kids like me.

In the same way, I’m sure there are (were) a lot of Cavs fans because of LeBron. He’s certainly one of the most exciting players in the league (maybe in the league’s history), and as I talked about on the podcast, I think most casual basketball fans liked him. There wasn’t much to dislike.

That’s all changed now. Let me pose this question: what if Jordan had left Chicago in 1990 (after 6 years in the league) to join Dominique Wilkins on the Hawks? A couple things, in my opinion. First, I would have been crushed as a fan, as would thousands of other kids. Second, his legacy wouldn’t have been anywhere near what it is, because I think most people would see Dominique as more of a star than Pippen, and would have seen Jordan as giving up or needing help to get a championship rather than winning it in Chicago. And that’s assuming Jordan had won in Atlanta.

I keep hearing everyone say that LeBron wants to win. I’m not so sure. I think he’s more concerned with his image than with winning. Jordan wanted to win. He cheated in card games against his mother to win. He was a vicious competitor. He demanded greatness out of his teammates and let them know when they didn’t deliver. I don’t see the same thing in LeBron. There is no way in hell Jordan would have left Chicago and claimed it was because he wanted to win. He would have seen that as a cop-out. He would have just worked harder to win with the team he played for. Actually, that’s exactly what he did.

And it’s not about this notion of “winning it on your own”. Jordan knew well that he couldn’t do it on his own. It’s more along the lines of winning it with the cards you’re dealt rather than trying to stack the deck. And I’ll even go one step further. Chicago (except for the year they won 72 games or whatever it was) wasn’t always the best team in the East. The Celtics, Pistons, Knicks, and even (ironically) the Cavs had some pretty good teams. But Jordan wanted it more than anyone else, and he wasn’t going to use the excuse that Chicago didn’t get him the right players or that he had a better chance of winning somewhere else. That’s not something winners do.

2) I’m sick of hearing about how much LeBron, Wade, and Bosh like each other. It didn’t use to be like that. Players on different teams hated each other. Magic hated Larry, Ewing hated Reggie, everyone hated Jordan, Jordan hated everyone. That’s how it was. And it was awesome. Nowadays it seems like guys are more looking forward to the handshake/manhugs at the end of the game than they are destroying the guys they’re playing against. You know the one moment I appreciated LeBron more than any other in his career? When he stormed off the court after losing to the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. THAT is competitiveness. That showed that he had some sort of fire inside. He needs to display that side more often. Be more like Jordan and less like Dwight Howard.

3) If Kobe really wants to go down as the greatest player ever (which I think he does), here’s what he needs to do: sign with the Cavs and win a championship. Do what LeBron couldn’t (and wouldn’t). Win where literally no one else has. L.A. has a pedigree. West, Magic, Worthy, Kareem, Wilt, even Shaq. They’ve all won there. Nobody’s really surprised when L.A. wins. But no one has won in Cleveland…in any sport. If Kobe did that, then he can say he won with Shaq, without Shaq, and in Cleveland with no help whatsoever. What a slap in the face to LeBron that would be. And since Cleveland now has some free cap room, they can probably get Kobe and an All-Star (which is all I said LeBron needed)…and Kobe is a winner.

4) Here’s the question no one seems to be talking about: what if he doesn’t win in Miami? Everyone seems to be giving them multiple championships already. And they’ll obviously be the favorites. But what if they don’t win? Boston is still dangerous, Chicago’s young and talented, and even if (or when) the Heat make it to the Finals, they’ll need to beat Kobe and the Lakers. I’m not ready to give the Heat anything yet.

But seriously…what if they don’t win? Then, not only has LeBron sold out his hometown on national TV; not only has he abandoned a franchise that did everything for him; not only has he admitted failure; not only has he agreed to play second fiddle to Wade; not only has he publicly acknowledged that he doesn’t want to be “the guy”; not only all of that…

Then his legacy is this: an extraordinary talent that couldn’t get it done even when paired with 2 of the other 10 best players in the league. He doesn’t win in Cleveland, he at least gets the sympathy vote: “Hey, you gotta give it to that guy…he stuck it out on awful teams…if only he’d had more help, he could’ve won a few championships…” Not so if he doesn’t win in Miami. He doesn’t win there, and he’s the guy with the most disappointing (and polarizing) career in the history of the league.

What a shame.

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~ by sportsdaggers on July 9, 2010.

4 Responses to “More on LeBron”

  1. It’s funny that everyone is ignoring the obvious, James fears the deer and wants out of the Central. I can’t blame him cause Bogut, Salmons and Jennings is the big three that everyone should be talking about.

  2. Your true idol is exposed. It was Dominique. No one else would have chosen him. What this does is gives Kobe a shot at being Jordans equal by beating the Heat head on in the finals.

  3. Well, if they don’t win in Miami, then I’m sure even LeBron himself would say the move was a mistake. And I agree that the fact that there’s no animosity b/w superstars nowadays absolutely sucks… however…

    No one ever seems to challenge this idea of Jordan’s blueprint as being “THE ONLY WAY” for superstar basketball players to act anymore. Why can’t LeBron play more like Magic (control the game, set up teammates, create either for himself or others in the clutch) and still one-day be considered the “greatest”?

    I agree that Jordan would not have switched teams to play with better players, but that’s mainly b/c I think Jordan’s an a-hole that would have threatened the lives of his front office if they didn’t bring Bosh & Wade to him. Not to mention the fact that Jordan was in Chicago, the 3rd largest city in the US and close to the top of the wishlist for Free Agents; and LeBron was in Cleveland, a smaller market where NO ONE wants to live b/c it sucks.

  4. Not to mention that in at least game 5 against Boston he wasn’t even giving an effort. A teammate sleeping with my mom would kill me too, but we don’t even know for sure if it’s true.

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