Dear LeBron James,
I’m not going to hate on you like all of your so-called fans around the world. Because I don’t hate you. I think you’re a great guy. I think you’re beyond talented… and to say you are gifted would be an understatement. But it’s not what people think about you that defines you, it’s the choices you make.
And you just made the biggest decision of your life.
While nearly the entire basketball world stopped for days (Phoenix, LA Lakers and OKC being the few exceptions) while it anxiously awaited your decision about free-agency to come down from atop your throne, I almost thought your reign extended beyond the NBA kingdom. I almost thought you could stop the daily doldrums of everyday life. I almost thought you might stop crime… or the war… or the oil spill. I have to admit, you had me for a second…
You see, I had forgotten about all of those things. Maybe it was your charm, your class, or even your goodness that made me think you held the world in your hands.
But then you had to go and ruin the magic. All of the drama, the theatrics, the spectacle…. It was all gone when you went to ESPN to ask them to do a special on you and your decision. You gave yourself away.
I knew instantly you were leaving Cleveland. There’s no way you would end weeks and weeks of anticipation and speculation by announcing you were ‘just staying in Cleveland’. And on live TV? Not a chance in the world. It was too late for that. You already had too much momentum behind you… too many people wondering about the possibilities, too many people looking forward to you in a different jersey.
The question was: which jersey?
Cleveland? You and I both know that if you were to stay in Cleveland, you’d never win a championship. The Cavs tried to bring in the right pieces to help their cause: Shaq and Antawn Jamison. They knew if they could get you your ring this year, you just might stay in Cleveland forever. But Cleveland fans should have known that your early second round exit from the playoffs was only the beginning of their heartbreak. They had their chance.
LA Clippers and share LA, and the Western Conference, with Kobe? Never.
New Jersey and play for the worst team while it rebuilds and wait around until it moves to Brooklyn in a couple years? Not even an after-thought.
Chicago and young, budding star DRose, with the possibility of luring Dwade or Bosh? Not when you would live every second of every day under the omnipresent shadow of the Greatest of All Time: #23.
That would leave you with two teams: the New York Knicks or the Miami Heat. Go ahead, pick one.
If you choose the Knicks, you get a max contract. Millions upon millions of dollars. You live in the Big Apple, and with your celebrity and status, I can only begin to imagine the perks of being you and living there. You are able to build your brand, and network with the top companies in the world. You begin to explore areas of your life outside of basketball.
You instantly make the Knicks a playoff team (remember they’re in the East). You pair up with Amare Stoudemire and through D’Antoni’s offensive brilliance you make the Knicks one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. You are given full control of the system and average 35-10-10 per game, the first triple double average since Oscar Robertson, to bring home your second MVP. You may not win the championship the first year, but you have a chance to sign Carmelo Anthony after next season (remember he’s from Brooklyn). And there’s no doubt to the reason why the Knicks are winning: you.
But most importantly, you resurrect one of the greatest stages in the history of basketball. You bring back the glitz and glam of Madison Square Garden. You make New York more than a baseball town again. You make the Knicks relevant again. You extend your reign by conquering one of the most prominent cities in the world.
Now, if you choose the Heat, you take a pay cut. You join forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, your friends and former Team USA teammates. You probably won’t win another MVP, because you’re playing along two other superstars, but the Heat are instantly considered front-runners to win the Eastern Conference. You are title contenders.
But choosing to start a new season in Miami may also be the end of your legacy. You’re going to have to share the ball with two other players who love to have the ball in their hands. Your stats will suffer. And real legends make the big shots in crunch time. And we both know who’s going to have the ball when the game is on the line… all you’ll be able to do is watch.
And without you even knowing, the reins of the kingdom have slipped from your grasp.
Sorry, ‘Bron. You may have been the King of Cleveland, and you more than likely would have been the King of the New York. But there’s one thing that will never be under your reign… Miami. That’s Dwade’s team. That’s Dwade’s town. That’s Dwade’s world. And it looks like this year you’ll be doing nothing more than playing second or third fiddle as a servant in the real King’s court.