Thursday, July 08, 2010

LeBron Exits Cleveland

Well, I can't let this night go without getting my thoughts down:

1) LeBron is all about LeBron - Once it was clear LeBron was leaving, I actually enjoyed watching the sinking ship... which was LeBron trying to explain himself. He kept repeating something to the affect of "I had to do what was best for myself." It reached insane proportions when he talked in the 3rd person: "I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James." As I said in an earlier comment, "No matter what LeBron does or chooses or says, having an hour-long broadcast dedicated to himself will only do one thing: prove that he is the biggest ego-maniac in the history of the world. I'm putting him ahead of Kanye, Donald Trump, Allen Iverson, Napoleon Bonaparte, and anyone else you can think of."

2) LeBron is STILL about money - Yes, on the surface, it seems like LeBron left $30 million on the table by not signing with the Cavs (who under NBA rules can offer an extra year and a marginally higher amount). But, if you look at it in terms of it being one less year, the different is only about $14 million (if the Cavs could only offer 5 years). However, if you dig deeper, you will realize that: James saves $6 million in taxes. James (or his marketing company?) also made $3.5 million from the ESPN special. Yes, he donated $2.5 to charity, but let's not forget that LeBron still took home a considerable amount of money! ***UPDATE - 7/9 - James also makes approximately $20 million in endorsement annually. Over 5 years, James will thus save another $5 million approximately in state taxes he won't pay. So, James already makes back $14.5 million. In the end, he really only gave up NOTHING... it's just a marketing ploy by himself to say, "see, I gave up a lot of money!." Not the $30 million that will be reported.

3) LeBron has no Self-Awareness - Aside from holding a preposterous 1-hour special, what really felt like the twisting of a knife was how LeBron kept saying: "I took the Cavs to places they've never been." Of course, but that doesn't in any way justify leaving! My favorite question of the night was from Wilbon: who asked LeBron about whether a Cleveland championship would mean more. LeBron basically said, "No, a championship is a championship!!!" I don't think anyone in LeBron's camp had asked him that question (shockingly). It's also disingenuous for LeBron to call the Miami Heat a "challenge"... if LeBron wants a challenge he should have played for the Cavs, Nets, or Knicks.

4) LeBron's Image - I think he took the easy way out. Yes, he probably will get a championship (assuming they find a center at some point and all stay healthy). But... it would be hard to say that "LeBron is the best ever..." unless of course the Cavs keep the team entirely intact and go like 10-70 so everyone can see the direct result of his leaving Cleveland. I don't see the latter scenario happening. Also... what Bill Simmons said was true, and I'm just going to re-print it:

...Any super-competitive person would rather beat Dwyane Wade than play with him. Don't you want to find the Ali to your Frazier and have that rival pull the greatness out of you? That's why I'm holding out hope that LeBron signs with New York or Chicago (or stays in Cleveland), because he'd be saying, "Fine. Kobe, Dwight and Melo all have their teams. Wade and Bosh have their team. The Celtics are still there. Durant's team is coming. I'm gonna go out and build MY team, and I'm kicking all their asses." That's what Jordan would have done. Hell, that's what Kobe would have done.

In May, after the Cavs were ousted in the conference semifinals, I wrote that LeBron was facing one of the greatest sports decisions ever: "winning (Chicago), loyalty (Cleveland) or a chance at immortality (New York)."

I never thought he would pick "HELP!"

5) LeBron When Faced with Adversity - I will be waiting anxiously for the point in the season (or during the playoffs?) when LeBron faces adversity. On the Cavs, LeBron was allowed to yell at other players, ignore coaches, take random spot-up 3s, demand for players to be traded, etc. Can you imagine what will happen when LeBron yells at Wade during the game?!? If LeBron doesn't grow up, he may not even win a championship on the Heat. Seriously.

6) The Future of the Cavs - I may be the only one who cares, or will still follow the Cavs... but I think owner Dan Gilbert will not blow up the team and will keep the team in competition for a playoff spot. I honestly believe the Cavs as currently composed can get to the 7 or 8-seed. Granted, they will be making some changes, so it's hard to say what will happen. Nothing would be sweeter now than somehow building a team that beats LeBron and the Heat in the playoffs. That's probably not possible, but a man can dream!

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