Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why I Can't Forgive LeBron

It's not because he left Cleveland out and went to go win a championship with some help from Dwayne Wade. Not because he "took his talents" to South Beach. It's his decision—whether you would have liked him to stay in Cleveland or not—so he gets to make it.

But because of this:
Look everyone! I signed a contract!

Charles Barkely is right—it was a "punk move": the "The Decision" Tour 2010 and one-hour announcement on ESPN; the self-promoting and the self-aggrandizing hoop-la. It was a punk move.

It was a victory lap before a single game was played. It said: "Look at me!" when nothing has been done yet. Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajawon. Could you imagine any of those guys doing a dance on a stage sticking out a jersey for everyone to see—a jersey that haven't won a single game in?

Again, King James, it's not just the decision to go to Miami. If you had just signed the contract and waited for training camp, sure, it may have disappointing some people—joining guys you played against, but for everyone outside of Ohio, I think they would have eventually shrugged their shoulders and waited for Opening Day.

It was the one hour special on ESPN. The documentary crews. The fireworks and dancers and the gala event on a stage in Miami.

As Bill Simmons wrote before "Decision 2010:"

"...it's Car Wreck Television. If LeBron picks anyone other than the Cavaliers... Cleveland fans will never forgive LeBron, nor should they. Losing LeBron on a contrived one-hour show would be worse than Byner's fumble, Jose Mesa, the Game 5 meltdown against Boston, The Drive, The Shot and everything else. At least those stomach-punch moments weren't preordained...This stomach-punch moment? Calculated. By a local kid they loved, defended and revered...It would be unforgivable. Repeat: unforgivable...(When Kevin Durant announced his own five-year, $86 million extension with an endearingly simple tweet yesterday, we all had the same thought: "Now that's how it's done." Pretty sad that an NBA star stood out for being humble and only caring about basketball.)
Exactly right. There are 2 things that bother me. As said before, the first thing was the self-important Decision Tour and succeeding celebration despite having won nothing.

And this is the other thing that irritates me—and maybe it's only me, but: what about the other Heat players? Maybe they don't care that these 3 get their own stadium-sized party. Maybe they are fine with the hoopla and whatnot—they don't care. But what does this hoopla event tell Udonis Haslem? That the Heat have won the championship with these 3 and the other 2 guys on the floor don't matter. And again, maybe the other guys on the roster don't care, but to me, it's LeBron not thinking at all about his teammates, they maybe they would feel just a bit insulted.  It's just more party for me, and none for you, because you don't matter. Larry Bird never would have done that. For me, the lack of respect he showed Cleveland with the announcement on ESPN—Decision 2010—and  the lack of respect he showed his teammates in Miami, rankles me.

Watch this: pretty much all the old-time guys say the same thing. They don't necessarily question LeBron's decision to leave the Cavs—they may be disappointed he didn't stay in Cleveland and joined guys he should have wanted to beat, not join, as Michael Jordan or Reggie Miller and Magic said elsewhere, but ultimately they don't bash him for it—they say it was LeBron's right to do what he did.

No, it was the way he did it (when Scottie "I take the final shot or I don't play" Pippen is calling you classless, that's gotta hurt.). As Barkley said: "I was very disappointed with that decision thing on ESPN. I was very disappointed with them coming out dancing like that. That's my only criticism."

Couldn't have said it better, Charles.

3 comments:

blmeanie said...

100% agree, makes it even better when one of the beasts in the East beat them this year, I believe the Celtics will destroy them as will Orlando (early). Later on when they get used to each other (team, not just the 3) it may be interesting to watch. Early on there will be some serious pressure.

Pete S said...

It's surprising because he had been unusually humble for a player of his caliber. Everyone used to talk about how mature he was since his arrival to the NBA.

The antics have gained him nothing and could wind up costing him.

blmeanie said...

to that point, it may even have been calculated, once the "Decision" blew up in his face somebody close may have said "people are down on you anyway, go be hated for a while" and then the whole party introduction thing was created. It also stinks a little like Pat Riley may have egged them into it too. He never was too far from pushing the arrogance factor when he could.