To not comment on the most celebrated free agent extravaganza in NBA, if not sports, history would be like the circus coming to your town for its only performance ever and you choose to sit it out...I couldn't resist the temptation.
So LeBron James, the King, holds court, keeps the world in suspense, chooses to forward the proceeds to his celebratory coronation of Miami as his new home to the Boys and Girls Club, and the world is left feeling that he is selfish. True enough, he has enough money to make a huge donation out of the public eye, that would make it look a little less like the royalty giving alms to the poor, but, nonetheless, he did choose to take proceeds and give them to charity and even got the University of Phoenix to donate a couple of scholarships to his foundation in the process; a process, by the way, that he only could sell because the public demanded it. If the sports fans turned a blind eye away from their addiction for sports celebrity, the crack dealer would go out of business. But alas, we all wanted to hear the news, so he sold it. Now is not the time to be surprised by sports figures making confusing decisions in the public eye.
What of his decision? He calls himself King, has this ridiculous, over-the-top setting for announcing who will pay him millions next, and yet he makes a decision that leads to him making less money than he could have gotten if he stayed in Cleveland? Are you confused? Lots of people are, because they were looking for simple answers and in fairness to LeBron, this would not have been an easy decision for anyone in that position. The only difference is that other major sports, like the NFL, would never allow one of their stars to be in this situation; they'd get a franchise tag slapped on them faster than an agent can hit a speed-dial button.
So, King James has a big ego...where's the news here? His nickname is a version of the Bible for God's sake (pardon the pun) and he is one of the top 2 or 3 basketball players in the game right now. He knows how good he is, and he made a decision which he believes will give him the best chance to win MANY championships. Not simply a money decision, Wade, Bosh and James will all accept less money to play together with the goal of winning more. Let us not forget that this trio led the US Men's Basketball Team to the Gold Medal at the last Olympics, making us forget the embarrassment of our bevy of stars (even if James and Wade played on that team, but Bosh didn't...maybe he should have gotten the biggest contract?) who had difficulty playing together as a team and finished a disappointing third; with Argentina became the first team to prevent the U.S. team with NBA players to win the gold in men's basketball. There has to be something refreshing about three players actually wanting to play together as a team.
New York radio's Mike Francesa doubted that LeBron would go to Miami, because if that were the case, it would mean that Dwayne Wade was the most selfless guy in basketball. Is that another breath of fresh air? That Wade opened his arms to bring in other stars that may compete for the ball and popularity, in exchange for them raising some trophies together. One has to admit this sounds like a nice story; if you're not from Cleveland and just felt like your son denounced your paternity.
Truth be told, LeBron James is different than many of the other stars around him. For one thing, he is a forward who can pass almost as well as he can score. Some people have already hypothesized that he may be playing some point guard a la Magic Johnson; and LeBron has the skill-set to do this. He would have to be willing to be more Magic and less Michael...Magic didn't do so bad winning hardware by the way.
The problem for them will be chemistry and team dynamics. With the amount of money spread amongst the trio, there won't be much to spread around elsewhere, and you still need five players on the floor and a nice bench to win. These obstacles can be overcome. Some of the greatest teams had their threesomes: Magic, Kareem and Worthy; Bird, McHale and Parrish; Michael, Pippen and Horace Grant, and more recently Garnett, Pierce and Allen. This formula can work with the right players surrounding them and the right coaching.
So, what is it that makes LeBron's decision surprising or even slightly bizarre? It is that LeBron James, a young man so talented that when hosting Saturday Night Live, he immediately contended with Peyton Manning for the funniest athlete alive, now became a villain. With the exception of Miami Heat fans, most of the country will now root against him. If/when they face the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, with all of his personal, off-the-court drama, may actually be the hero. This is bizarre...but then again, sports are a microcosm of our society. Things are not always logical, and don't always make sense. Athletes make strange decisions sometimes. Sometimes, they transgress the law. Sometimes, they do things that are driven by money. And this time, one star, made a relatively unpopular decision with the hopes of winning many championships, the best way to immortalize oneself as the best ever.
I don't see any fault in that. It just reminds me though that when we recommend that our children look up to athletes and athletes make decisions that may have nothing to do with what it is morally the best decision; we leave our children rudderless and not knowing what lessons to learn. Interestingly, I am not implying LeBron's decision falls in to that category, but I do understand how his decision is far too complex for children to decipher the intricacies of the factors involved. So, if you want to know what to take from all of the LeBron drama listen to different royalty, Sir Charles Barkley, don't look to athletes to raise your kids. Parents and teachers need to be role models; trying to figure out why athletes do what they do, for kids, can be just too confusing.