The around-the-clock watch on LeBron James, which had dominated the sports pages of every major city all year, finally came to a surprising conclusion when he decided that it would be in his best interest to play ball for the Miami Heat. The announcement shocked many in the media who presumed that “The King” would be unwilling to share the spotlight with Miami's incumbent hero and finals MVP, Dwayne Wade. To them, his goal was clearly to be the greatest basketball player ever by rewriting some lucky team's history, something he couldn't manage in a small town like Cleveland. But it appears that they've misjudged him and perhaps, NBA owners just went berserk over the game's best supporting player.
Still, the announcement was probably beneficial to the league. With two studs, both in their prime and playing alongside a third fellow blue chipper, Chris Bosh, there's no question that the Heat are poised to land in the Finals, most likely in a classic showdown between two great champions: Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant. It is exactly the type of match up fans love, especially in a sport made famous by the Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird rivalry of the '80s, and at its peak when Michael Jordan beat every worthy contender of his time in the '90s, one by one. LeBron James was supposed to be one of “those guys,” but the fact is, Mike, Magic, and Bird could never be happy in somebody else's shadow.
The teams who missed out on LeBron's services, despite their infatuations, may have saved themselves and their fans from a serious disappointment. Much like the New York Knicks, for example, who have thrown in the towel for two seasons now, specifically to clear cap room for this year, most of his suitors were expecting someone to lead them, to save them and to take them to the promised land and glorify their jersey. Apparently though, LeBron needed his own savior.
Here's another angle. Just like the fact he passed up crucial shots in the playoffs, in free agency, LeBron played it safe when his career and the fate of the sport itself was at his fingertips, again displaying that he lacks the gutsy leadership instinct inherent in all of the game's legends.
He doesn't want to lead a team to a championship anymore by himself, so Miami was a no-brainer to him. Legends like Michael Jordan on the other hand, even with Scottie Pippen as a key weapon, had no such problem being the leader of his six-time NBA championship Chicago Bulls squads.
There's no doubt that the kid is freakishly talented and makes a crucial addition to any basketball team. You could even argue that his dedication to team play is admirable if that, in fact, was his motive. However, shrinking in the postseason and then sneaking out of Cleveland without so much as a phone call to the team owner are pretty good indicators of where he's coming from.
Moving forward, it should be interesting to see how the teams who were shunned by King James execute their plan B, if they have one. Those who were able to downplay the event for what it was, an overhyped lottery that conveniently required a nice amount of cap space to clear, should be able to add some quality components to their system and be competitive. It isn't over for them yet. Teams that missed out on LeBron James will draw just as many fans by kicking his ass.Powered by Sidelines