LeBron James’s decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat was the talk of the sports media this summer. Sam Hunter and Adam Sadinsky offer two different perspectives on the implications of LeBron’s choice.
The argument that LeBron has made a mistake by choosing to play for the Heat is wrong. Straight-up, flat-out, wrong. I, and any other person who has ever experienced sports grief, can agree that airing “The Decision” on ESPN was tactless and hurtful to Cavaliers fans, but poor execution is not a good enough reason to criticize his decision. Bron-Bron has managed to turn the entire concept of historical legacy on its head for his generation. Is it a coincidence that Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony have both started making noise about wanting to be traded since the Miami triumvirate got together? Absolutely not, and I couldn’t be any happier about it.
Since LeBron’s move is basically unprecedented in basketball, let’s find an analogous situation somewhere else: pop culture. What LeBron has done is that he’s turned the Heat into super-Goldar. Recall that in every Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers episode, the Power Rangers would battle some kind of monster (like Goldar) sent to Earth by Rita Repulsa (Pat Riley in this analogy). The battle would go back and forth until Rita would throw her wand, which turned the monster into a colossus. Then the Power Rangers would power up their Zords and sometimes form a Megazord to defeat Rita’s super-monster.
Now, did anyone ever watch Power Rangers for the scenes of the Red Ranger fighting the putties? Heck no. What we really wanted to see was a Megazord throwing a giant monster through a building, and that’s exactly what LeBron has given us. The Heat have the potential to be an epic team like we haven’t seen since MJ’s Bulls. His decision has given us a Goldar, a Lex Luthor, and a Voldemort all rolled into one. The fact that the move has decreased league parity shouldn’t really matter to anyone who isn’t a Cavs or Toronto Raptors fan.
I’m excited to see what happens in Miami, and you’d have to be comatose or my girlfriend not to feel the same way.
LeBron James began his career as the next great player to dominate the NBA, the heir to the great throne of Michael Jordan, Joining the league straight out of high school, he immediately joined its elite. He was Rookie of the Year and has won two MVP trophies since. The one missing piece from his legacy is a Larry O’Brien trophy: an NBA Championship.
When LeBron decided to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat, he forfeited his ticket to the title of “Greatest Player of All-Time.” Even if the Heat win multiple championships with the “Miami Thrice,” LeBron will only be known as part of the greatest trio to ever hit the hardwood-his personal legacy is dead. Jordan won six titles with the Chicago Bulls teams he played on, and he never called up Reggie Miller and Karl Malone to try and create a cabal of stars.
Some might applaud the self-appointed King for checking his ego at the door and giving up money in exchange for a ring, but you can do that at any jewelry store. Titles are bought, not won. The fans can see what you’ve done LeBron, and they won’t forget it in the bars and at the office coolers even when you get into the Hall of Fame.
Along with his legacy, LeBron has seriously harmed the NBA. Some may be excited at the prospect of seeing three all-stars on the same side, but that’s what the All-Star Game is for. The competitive balance in the NBA is now skewed, and it can only get worse from here. Those teams who can copy the Heat (read: those who will decimate their rosters in order to attract stars) will follow their lead, starting with the New York Knicks, who are rumoured to be wooing Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony to join newly acquired Amar’e Stoudemire. The NBA will become a league of two divisions: teams loaded with superstars, and everyone else.
Thanks, LeBron, for letting us all down. You may have come in as the saviour King, but you’re nothing but the devil to most of us. Enjoy your tarnished legacy.
It’ll be a guilty pleasure to watch the Heat play this year, but there’s no question that LeBron has been tasteless and impatient. The move is another victory for the superstar ego over teamwork, and it’s tough to support.