I'm not gonna front like I didn't watch The Decision until LeBron "made up his mind". I hate myself for it, just like I hate myself for watching Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher and the rest pass speculation off as news for the past month. I had several moments of clarity while watching this blemish on the face of civilization tonight, though. These are all obviously opinions, so if you want to tell me to worry about the oil spill and Oscar Grant then just press the back button right now.
LeBron is not the leader we thought he was....Now I've never met the man - though I came close at Seward Park last summer - but watching him over the past few weeks and especially tonight has shown me a side of LeBron I don't think he or his "team" ever wished anyone would see. Dude is not bright. Not because he chose Miami. Actually, a little bit because he chose Miami. But he is so easily manipulated, it's kind of sad. I know that celebrities rarely if ever speak or think for themselves, but LeBron may be the most coached athlete I've ever seen. Off the court I mean.
His decision to go to Miami tells me that he isn't a king and he's never wanted to be one. Ever since he was a junior in high school, he's let the media, the community, LRMR, etc. mold him into a King James caricature he never really had in him. If he really believes he is 'The King', he'd never go to play Robin to D-Wade's Batman. Never. There's no such thing as two leaders of a championship team. Go ahead, bring up Detroit in '04 and Boston in '08. Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce. When those teams needed a bucket or a big play, that's who they looked to. Period. Ask KG, 'Sheed, ask whoever. There is one leader. People who pointed to LeBron's inability to get 60-win teams to the promised land called him out for not having that MJ/Kobe-type leadership were obviously right now. Dwayne Wade will be the alpha-dog on this new Frankenstein of a team. And I think LeBron is fine with that. Shit, he has to be to take a pay cut to go there. Just like he was fine with people casting him as "King James"for a profit. I take it back, he's not stupid. He's just a team player to a fault. A supreme talent like his shouldn't have to defer to anyone on the court. It's actually kind of sad to me. He has the ultimate physical package, yet mentally he is just ok with being a team player. Maybe I'm wrong for criticizing that, but I feel lied to. He's Prince James......although Prince might still be a better hooper.
The NBA and sports reporting have changed forever.......That sounds like something they would've said on The Decision, but hear me out. The NBA master plan for the next decade or so looked something like this: LeBron, Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant will rule the land, with LeBron and Wade trading titles like a friendlier Magic and Bird. Kobe has 3 years left tops. LeBron was the golden child, the face of the entire league. Teams, industries, and cities were to revolve around him and the LeBron brand. That can't happen anymore. Instead of LeBron or King James, he's now just a face in the new "Big Three". The NBA can't market the Heat like baseball does the Yankees. It's the fucking Miami Heat. This is all just a visceral reaction, but it'll be interesting to see what playing second fiddle does to the LeBron brand and the NBA storyline.
Sports reporting has been changing for years, but this whole fiasco makes it crystal clear. The power of information no longer rests solely with reporters. Before, we had to go through reporters to get the inside scoop. Now, the players can get it to as many, if not more, RSS feeds and iPhone apps than any newspaper could. How many times did we see Twitters quoted as legit sources during free agency? Athletes now have complete control - at least regarding contract and endorsement issues - over who knows what and when. Reporters are now relegated to passing speculation off as news ("My sources said LeBron is going to Miami." "My sources said that your sources can kick rocks with flip-flops on."). This control allows for the fact that...
Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron manufactured this entire process.......LeBron, playboy, you mean you want me to believe that you were considering the Clippers? That you just decided to go to Miami today when you woke up? Fuck you. The entire drama that was Free Agency 2010 was as contrived and calculated as any soap opera. I don't blame the players for wanting to get as famous and rich as they can, but that doesn't mean I can't think that they're snakes. All of them. Wade, LeBron and Bosh planned this out two years ago in Beijing. People called Stephen A. Smith crazy for saying it, but he was right.
A preordained aligning of the three stars doesn't make for good drama, though. Nor does it make for more money, Twitter followers, TV specials or endorsements. Wade, LeBron and Bosh should get Oscars with their contracts. They duped the world into believing that they were going to seriously deliberate about their futures. All the ad campaigns and Bring____to____.com's? Wasted cash. No receipts with that shit either. I fell for it. Everybody fell for it. The Knicks tanked their entire franchise because LeBron took some pictures with Jay-Z after games and wore Yankees hats and shit. Deliberate, borderline malicious deception. The Knicks basically gave away a decade for a lie.
It's obvious how bad this is for Cleveland. It'll probably look like Detroit by tomorrow morning. All I'll say about that is that it takes a certain type of individual to conjure up an hour-long TV special, watched by probably hundreds of millions of people worldwide, just to chuck the Cavs the deuces. Take a note from Kevin Durant's playbook. Get your money and keep it moving.
I'm mad. Not mad, frustrated. Not because of anything on the court either. The Bulls will be a number 4 or 5 seed, have $20 million to spend still and can afford whoever they want next year. I'm cool with that. What eats at me is the fact that most of what I believed to be true about the NBA for the past few years was a sham. A circus. And we all bought front-row seats.