Tuesday, October 26, 2010
America Needs The Miami Heat To Lose The NBA Championship
Arrogant. Lazy. Weak minded. Cop out. Traitor. Ignorant. Spoiled. Prima donna. False idol. Overrated.
These are just a few expressions millions of people across Earth have used to describe LeBron James after he egotistically announced he was "taking his talents" to the Miami Heat on July 9, 2010.
Critics immediately pointed to how he bailed on the Cleveland Cavaliers to band together with All-Stars like Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to form a Miami Heat team expected to compete for NBA championships for several years to come. While some criticism came in unclassy form, like from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert attacking the manner of James departure, others pointed out the obvious.
Michael Jordan, who James claims is his idol, said he would not have contacted his rivals to play with him. "I wanted to defeat those guys." Jordan stated.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson concurred those sentiments, and Charles Barkely has stated James departure of Cleveland has forever tarnished his image to the point he will never be mentioned in the same breath of the upper echelon NBA legends by his path and how he handled it.
"He grew up close to Cleveland. He put the city in the forefront by his mere presence. Now Cleveland is back to just being Cleveland again. He owed the city and organization the first word of his decision instead of the way he ultimately did it."
Barkely point of telling Cleveland first, instead of broadcasting "The Decision", has resounding truth. Some thought, since James is just 25-years old, he should have stayed in Cleveland and signed a short-term contract to try to bring the franchise their first title.
The Cavaliers bent over backwards trying to surround James with talent the past few years. Men like Antawn Jamison and Shaquille O'Neal were just a few All-Star players the Cav's grossly overpaid to desperately build talent around him in hopes of attaining a championship.
James responded to those dedicated efforts by saying, I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat. I feel like it's going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win for multiple years. I want to be able to win championships and I feel like I can compete down there."
When the backlash of his perceived cowardice led to many in Cleveland burning his jersey, destroying any reminder of his time there, and other outrageous methods to show disgust, James reportedly imtimated bigotry over the color of his skin was the real factor for the outcry. Sports writers like J.A. Adande and Jason Whitlock disagreed, pointing out his callous actions towards Cleveland, and "an excuse to avoid dealing with his own bad decision."
Now he is in Miami, where Wade already helped carry a team to a title in 2006. Wade is the heart and soul of the Heat, and his body has taken a pounding trying to win. Bosh, a shooting guard stuck in a 6'10" frame, also joined Miami after years of failing to get the Toronto Raptors anywhere significant.
Miami faces the same problem many NBA teams do these days. They have power forwards as their best post option, and the question of where consistent rebounding will come from is a quandary they will face all year. Dexter Pittman is a 290-lbs rookie who dropped almost 100 pounds in college. Miami will hope he can help, or if journeyman Jamaal Magloire can find a time machine to take him back to 2003.
Otherwise the Heat will depend on Wade to get the rebounds and take the clutch shots, much like he has been doing the past few seasons. That or James will have to adjust his game to banging in the blocks and passing more than shooting, if his ego allows it.
There was a time the New York Yankees could just buy a roster by overpaying for top-tier talent to get a title in Major League Baseball. It worked in 2009, but the formula has generally fallen short of expectations. The Dallas Cowboys have been trying the same thing in the NFL to no success, and most likely saw their 2010 season ruined by another loss recently.
The Miami Heat is another one of those bad examples of trying to buy a ring. The easy path as opposed to building something special. One of the big reasons why Jordan and Johnson are so adored and respected in NBA lore is how they built their once lowly teams into champions and upper echelon teams throughout their careers. They earned their rings without it being bought for them by hiring superstars from other teams.
Oscar Robertson says James needs to win a ring to define his career, like he did when he went to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970, and considers James one of the best players in NBA history regardless of his switching teams.
"I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today." Jordan said.
An opportunity perhaps not to respect full heartedly. Though it will take sweat to win, it will maybe almost anticlimatic if Miami actually does win it all. There will be few pins and needles from fans watching them get there, and the term "front runner" will come to mind.
Society today expects it handed to them, preferring to rest on laurels set by predecessors. It is an egotistical approach that has garnered more wrath than envy from the rest of the planet. The term 'achievement' no longer holds the same definition to the modern genre as it once did.
If Miami falls short during James stay, the city of Cleveland will not smile alone. There is a reason he is ranked sixth on a "Most Disliked Athlete" list put together recently. Some view him a follower with the false label as leader. Others find him uneducated, immature, and clueless.
Examples range from his having a video of his being dunked on confiscated by handlers per his instructions, his refusal to sign a petition regarding genocide in Sudan, or his belittling Stephon Marbury as a player by saying his cheap shoe was an indication of his worth. Marbury sold a shoe for $15 so kids could afford it, as opposed to the shoes James represents that get sold by Nike for $160 and get built by sweat shop slaves with less than $2 of materials.
But this is what LeBron James is some. An image with little substance nor depth. Much like how the Miami Heat roster appears to the naked eye. So root on the dime store squad, because it is bought and paid for. That is "The Decision" the leagues corporate headquarters desires, while the rest of the planet will quietly wait for failure.
A failure James tired of and is now clearly ready to join the ranks of champion so that in a few months all can hail the king finally.