DECISION DAY 2010
July 8, 2010
LEBRON – WHO IS HE?
We will find out a lot about LeBron James by his choice tonight. Is he a true competitor, like the greatest of all time: Jordan, Kobe, Bird, Magic, Kareem, Wilt, Russell. You notice that we don’t even have to use full names for these players. They are iconic names in basketball, and LeBron James is poised to join them, and always be known as LeBron or King James. A wrong decision and a potential legacy can be destroyed and he will not be LeBron , but will be LeBron James.
I LOVE THE SHOW
I am not one to always side with players over the media, but I am not with the LeBron backlash for his show tonight – I love it. LeBron did not create this media circus over his decision, the media has, as they have wanted to know his intentions a full year before he ever had to make a decision. LeBron has handled these last few months with great dignity, not speaking about his decision, meeting with all teams, keeping any conversations private.
Those who do not like the show fall into 2 categories: those upset that they cannot break the story or have had wrong information, and old school people who are in favor of humility over self-promotion. Regardless of what anyone thinks, the media made this show, and if LeBron is going to raise money for Boys & Girls Clubs, he should be lauded for using his star power to help kids.
THE NON-COMPETITOR CHOOSES THE CAVS OR HEAT
Let’s start with the Cavs, where he would love to have finished his career. Some people will trump out there that LeBron was disloyal to his hometown or led the Cavaliers on, and never had any intention of staying there. If he chooses the Knicks, maybe this is true, but I believe he wanted to see if anything could be done to stay in Cleveland. I think he was leaning to Cleveland, but this all changed if Chris Bosh turned LeBron down to go with Wade in Miami. If LeBron is a competitor, he is furious that Chris Bosh nixed a sign & trade that the Raptors would have done sending him to Cleveland. Chris Bosh turns his back on LeBron and the people and city he has loved his whole life. The reason he has to leave Cleveland is that he cannot take the risk to be on a sub-par team while watching Wade and Bosh attract good players to South Beach. A competitor knows that Cleveland is out.
If Stephen A Smith and now Chris Broussard are correct, and LeBron is leaning to Miami, I will be shocked. I would be disappointed in LeBron forever, and I will never consider him to be one of the games greatest players. Playing in Miami with D Wade and Chris Bosh will make the Heat the most despised team in the NBA, a collective effort by three stars to try and dominate the league. If LeBron is a competitor, he will not go play in the town that loves D Wade first and foremost, join the player that turned him down to play in Cleveland, take money not commensurate to his value, and join a superstar triumvirate that will never set him apart as one of the games best. His image will never survive this decision.
It is possible that he will join the Knicks as well, but similar to the Cavs, I am not sure how he competes for a championship there. Maybe the Knicks have a plan that has persuaded LeBron . Maybe D’Antoni will only coach one year before Phil Jackson returns to bring the Knicks glory. If he lands in New York, it will be for the same reason Bosh landed in Miami; he always wanted to play there, and that could be crushing to people in his hometown.
THE COMPETITOR CHOOSES NETS OR BULLS
I have predicted the Nets for a long time, and if Chris Broussard is finally right, well my prediction is out. Here is why the Nets: They have the 2nd best young big man in the game: Brooke Lopez, some nice young players: Terrence Williams (2nd year), Courtney Lee (3rd year), Chris Douglas Roberts (3rd year), and Derrick Favors (1st year). That is a good, young core of players to grow with him and compliment him. Devin Harris will be a better Mo Williams with LeBron and this team can compete immediately for a championship. Also, when New Jersey goes from 12 to 55 or 60 wins next year, he will receive all of the credit. He will have all the elements he wants in Jersey as well: An owner that can help him be global, a coach with championship experience, New York media and a chance to cement a legacy as the defining player in the New Jersey and soon to be Brooklyn Nets history.
The Bulls are the only other choice for him to make. Rose, James, Deng, Boozer, & Noah – that is the best starting 5 in basketball and it is relatively young. He will be playing in a Basketball crazy city and if he has some resentment toward D Wade taking Chris Bosh with him, what better than becoming the hero in the city that D Wade calls “my heart.” It would be Michael Jordan to Isaiah Thomas all over again. While he will have to live with some Michael Jordan comparisons, Chicago has always treated their stars the best of any big city, and LeBron would be no different.
I have lauded LeBron James for being the only player that can compare with the greatness of Michael Jordan by time his career is over. This prediction took a serious hit with his bust performance in Game 5 & 6 against the Celtics and Kobe winning another championship. He can right the ship with his decision tonight and one day see LeBron etched with the all-time great names of basketball or he can go down the wrong path and forever be known as LeBron James.
Founder of Play Hard Hoops
David Adelman was a college basketball assistant for nine years, seven years as a Division 1 assistant and spent two years as the General Manager and Assistant Coach for the Westchester Wildfire in the professional league USBL. He currently resides in Chicago where he operates his Play Hard Hoops Business (www.playhardhoops.com) that includes, but is not limited to basketball instruction and events.