The time is almost here for LeBron James to make his decision and change the current NBA landscape. The hoopla, the tweets, the speculation from idiot talking heads is almost over. And what will come of this? Where is the great LeBron James going to play for the next 3-6 years? Sorry to spoil the fun folks, the answer is the Cleveland Cavaliers. What began as a roar, will end with a whimper. The King is no lion, he is a coward my friends and let me tell you why.
Beatles - The Long And Winding Road 1970 (via beatles111100)
First and foremost, LeBron James has earned the right to make whatever decision he deems best for him. He is one man. He is not the entire NBA or the state of Ohio or the only athlete employed by Nike. Love it, hate it, Ohio is home for LeBron and the ties obviously run deep.
If I agree that this is LeBron's decision and that he alone knows what is best for him then why do I call him a coward?
Because LeBron, my man, this is an opportunity of a lifetime to be a world wide icon. You can be Michael Jordan. You can be Michael Jackson. You can be Tiger Woods. And this is just the off the court stuff. Seldom does a chance to create the something so special come along. Seldom is a person worthy of the opportunity.
Why not Cleveland you ask? Doesn't the LeBron brand transcend a basketball home base? Can something so simple as a media market mean so much?
Well, here is where this gets a little tricky and requires some analysis. I don't actually think that the Cleavland market is a death blow. I do think that the Cleveland Cavaliers are. A few years ago, the Cavs had promise. They had young players like Boobie Gibson and Anderson Varejao who where filled with potential. They had Big Z and some other nice veteran pieces. And now? Boobie is a boob and Varejao is a mere solid rotational big. Big Z? He's a free agent already loaded into the wheel barrow telling anyone who will listen, "I'm not quite dead yet". A 34 year old Antawn Jamison and a mildly interesting Mo Williams are all that remain to anchor the starting line-up. JJ Hickson is all the promise this team can hope for and do any of us really believe that he special?
The Cavs are not a contender. They are not even interesting- with or without LeBron. For the next two seasons, they will be up against the cap and certain to reach for MLE free agents in an attempt to keep LBJ happy. They will dwindle their cap in 5-6 million dollar increments and they will be just good enough to draft in the 20's. These MLE contracts will come back to eat whatever cap space will be had when Jamison and others expire. Chris Bosh is not the first and but he might be the last mega free agent to say, "Cleveland? No thanks" until LeBron is long gone. They are in the midst of a death spiral and LeBron James is about to sign up to go down with the ship.
If not Cleveland, then where?
That's an easy one. Anywhere but Cleveland. The Bulls and the Nets sport great young cores that LeBron could lead to multiple championships. To Miami with Bosh and Wade is a thing of myths- three super stars, in their prime, are you kidding me. Hell, even the Knicks and their newly Amaré makes sense when you consider the media market and future cap considerations.
Dare I say....LeBron is going to go from the belle of the ball to nearly irrelevant?
Yes, basketball players, no matter how good, that get eliminated in second round of the playoffs every year, are destined to be forgot. When LeBron turns on Sports Center, he will be watching his friends in Miami running and dunking because that is new and fresh. He will watch the Knicks re-enter the FA fray next year and add that second piece and again, they will be relevant. He will watch the young upstart Nets or Bulls, armed with Carlos Boozer making strides to catch and pass his Cavs on the road to stardom.
So I call him a coward. LeBron James has a golden chance to make himself into something a very few have ever been able to achieve. Let's not fool ourselves with the "maybe he doesn't want that" argument because we all know that is not true. LeBron is a coward because he doesn't have the balls to take his place among global sports icons. He is a coward because he knows what it takes to win and be great but he doesn't want to hurt peoples feelings. When LeBron signs that shiny new contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he is accepting mediocrity and passing on greatness.
Maybe tomorrow will prove me wrong. Maybe the King moves to a bigger palace, but I doubt it. He will stay with his people in Ohio and his sad talent sapped Cavs. The same people who should be patting their local boy made good on the back and wishing him good luck on his way to immortality, are going to be the ones who stymie his legacy. This is bigger than Ohio, bigger than basketball, really, this is an opportunity to be a god and I'm pretty sure LeBron is too big of a coward to take it.