Is LeBron’s Legacy Already Tarnished?

Posted: July 1, 2010 in NBA
Tags: , , , , ,

The Summer of LeBron has officially started and I couldn’t be happier. It’s amazing to see every sports talk show totally consumed by where one player will go. The hyperbole is flying fast and furious; “This will change the face of the NBA forever,” “Franchises will be made or destroyed,” “We must all bow down to our new overlord, LeBron.” Okay, I made that last one up. But would you be surprised if some talking head actually said that? Me either.

And it’s something new every day. On Monday King James was going to Chicago. Done deal. Tuesday he was definitely going to Miami. Done deal. Wednesday the Nets were in the driver’s seat. This whole thing is more confusing than any episode of Lost.

But there is one thing that is for certain; if Lebron James does indeed leave Cleveland his legacy is tarnished forever.

First we need to get a few things out of the way. I am not a LeBron Hater. I think he is an amazing talent. A freak of nature. He is better at basketball than any of us will ever be at anything in our lives. He is arguably the second best player in the league today. I’m sorry but Kobe has the Number One spot locked down as of now (and Kevin Durant is moving up fast). Yes, I am a Laker fan and will be one till the day I die. But that doesn’t stop me from criticizing Kobe Bryant when he deserves it. Let’s face it; he sucked for three quarters in Game 7 of this year’s NBA finals. But 10 points in the 4th quarter kind of saved the game for him.

Back to LeBron. Let’s say he does go to Miami (with Chris Bosh) to play with Dwayne Wade. Stephan A. Smith has reported that it is a “done deal.” What does that mean? First, it means that he has left the Cleveland Cavaliers, his only team for the last seven years. Second, it means that he is trying to manufacture a title. I know people are already salivating over the possibility of a team like this coming together. I mean this team will be loaded! The question isn’t IF this team will win a title but how MANY titles will it win? How can this team possibly lose, right?

Let’s talk about another “loaded” team for a second. I give you the 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers. They had a starting five that consisted of Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Gary Payton and some other guy (I’m just kidding, it was Rick Fox). Take a look at that lineup: Hall of Famer, Hall of Famer, Hall of Famer, Hall of Famer and Rick Fox’s hair gel. That looks like the Western Conference All-Stars. And what happened to this “loaded” team? They got man-handled by the “no-name” Detroit Pistons in the Finals and lost 4-1. Really, did you know who Chauncey Billups was before that series?  Come on, the guy’s name is Chauncey.

So before you start counting the rings that a team of LeBron, D Wade and Bosh are going to win, think about those Lakers.

Besides, there is something to be said for superstars that stay and win with only one team; Michael Jordan with the Bulls, Kobe with the Lakers, Tim Duncan with the Spurs.

Jordan endured years of mediocre Bulls teams before he won his first title. After Shaquille O’Neal left the Lakers, Kobe was running up and down the court with Chris Mihm, Kwame Brown and Smush Parker. Yikes. Tim Duncan actually came into a very good Spurs team and only had to show up in the playoffs when David Robinson would wilt under the pressure.

What does all this have to do with LeBron? Simple. Superstars bring talent to them; they do not flee to other teams. And make no mistake; if he goes to Miami he is going to Dwayne Wade’s team. D Wade is going to be The Man, not LeBron. Can you imagine Jordan going to the Knicks to play second fiddle to Patrick Ewing or Kobe going to Plilly and deferring to Allan Iverson? That wouldn’t happen in a million years.

And let’s look at the way LeBron would be leaving Cleveland. Think about the series against the Boston Celtics. The words “quit” and “give up” immediately come to mind. And not just LeBron, I’m talking about the whole team. Do you think Jordan or Kobe would ever let that happen? And then LeBron makes it worse by saying he has “spoiled” Cleveland fans and has only had “three bad games” in seven years. For someone who is so consumed about his image, he couldn’t have handled that worse. If he does leave, he will surpass Art Modell as the Most Hated Man in Cleveland. To leave under those circumstances looks like you are giving up and running away.

And that is not the kind of legacy you want. Especially if you’re a King.

  1. Julio says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Although if he leaves Cleveland, Gilbert has no one to blame but himself – he’s relied to heavily on the fact that he can play that ’emotion’ card … almost like Lebron owes them something! Great players need good players around them to win titles. Even your boy Kobe couldn’t do it on his own until Gasol and Bynum got there. And Gilbert got Lebron garbage (an old ass Shaq and a Jamison who can’t defend).
    That said, my pick is for Cleveland, I think being hated in his home state is going to prove too much for Lebron. I think he stays. I think Wade gets Bosh to play with him in Miami and Lebron learns that being loyal in sports gets you nothing.
    I’d love to see him in a Chicago uniform though. Now THAT would be a great story.
    Keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s