Out of Bounds

LeBron made the right decision, just the wrong way.

I understand why Cleveland is pissed off at LeBron James. He became a star in Akron, Ohio and a superstar in Cleveland with the Cavaliers. He had seven years for owner Dan Gilbert to get some decent players to help him out and after seven years, he didn’t get it done. He, being Gilbert, not LeBron. James scored 48% of the Cavs points last year and had to deal with the supporting cast of oft-injured and frequently under-performing point guard Mo Williams, the streaky guard Delante West, Sideshow Bob look-alike and general nuisance Anderson Varejao and the shell of Shaquille O’Neal. Even Michael Jordan needed Scottie Pippen, John Paxson and Horace Grant. James couldn’t do it on his own and he knew he couldn’t win in Cleveland.

So he moved on. Not because he hates Cleveland or Akron or his hometown. He wants to win championships and he couldn’t do it in Cleveland. Other major athletes have done it before and nobody was even remotely this riled up about it. Moses Malone went to the Philadelphia 76ers and won with Julius (Dr. J) Erving. Alex Rodriguez left the Texas Rangers to win with Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees. Hell, even Shaq left Orlando and went on to win three consecutive titles with Kobe and the Lakers. Then he went and one another in Miami with Dwyane Wade, who is now LeBron’s teammate.

The only thing LeBron did wrong was feed his ego and have a bloated hour-long special to announce his decision. He left six teams (New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, L.A. Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Heat and Cavs) hanging on his decision and that was not fair to them. Do what everybody else does, hold a press conference, answer a few questions and call it good. An hour-long special was a ridiculous way for ESPN to continue to stroke LeBron’s ego.

Is he the best player in the NBA? Yes. No question. You could make an argument for Kobe, but I still go with LeBron. There is no way that Kobe wins 66 regular season games with that supporting cast in Cleveland. Kobe has 7-foot power forward Pau Gasol, the clutch guard Derek Fisher, defensive specialist Ron Artest, twin towers Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum and great role players in Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar coming off the bench. If Kobe and LeBron switch spots, LeBron wins the title this year. Hands Down.

That’s why he went to the Miami Heat. He is joined by Wade and power forward Chris Bosh to form, arguably the best threesome (no pun intended) in the history of the NBA. Only time will tell if this was worth it for LeBron, but if he is going to be known as one of the greatest of all time, he needs to win a championship. He’d much rather be in the same company as title holders Jordan, Magic and Bird, than Steve Nash, John Stockton and Karl Malone; great players who never one the big one.


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