Friday, July 9, 2010

Defending the King

I can't take credit for the nickname, but I am a huge fan of the "Miami Thrice". I assume this is what we'll be calling the pairing of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami next season. You gotta admit, its better than "The Big Three".

Give me 5 minutes of your time to try and dispel some myths about LeBron James and I promise you can go back to hating him if you remain unconvinced.

Myth #1- "He's a giant egomaniac and he's all about himself. He's selfish and is the epitome of evil."

You have to understand two things to grasp my point here. First, this guy was made out to be the "Chosen One" of basketball from the time he was 18 years old, and nobody told him otherwise. Second, you have to actually watch basketball to make a claim like this.

You know who Ari Emmanuel is? He's the agent that Ari Gold is based on, you know, Jeremy Piven in Entourage. OK, well Ari Emmanuel was the mastermind behind the 1 hour special about LeBron's "Decision". Look here. So don't blame LeBron, he was capitalizing on an opportunity to build his brand and give to charity. I'm sick and tired of hearing members of the media and public claim they wished he would just release a statement where he was going like everyone else.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? What would everyone be talking about or reporting on if he did that? Any serious sport's fan was eating up the fact that LeBron was going to feature himself on a show that announced his decision, whether they liked it or not. The tension was palpable, the decision was eminent, it's a huge deal in the basketball world.

And if LeBron was so self-righteous he would have laid out hats from all 6 teams he considered, and removed them one by one throughout the night until he was down to just two. Cleveland and Miami. Then he'd pick up the Cleveland hat, look at it, and say, "Cleveland has given me so much, its always been my home and it is very dear to my heart." Then he'd set it down, pick up the Miami one and as he put it on say, "But, Bievenidos a Miami El LeBron-o!!! I'm going to South Beach!!!!"

All he did was calmly say he's going to Miami because he wants to win titles.

I know what you're gonna say next, "Oh, but lame blogger man, he calls himself "The King". Jordan never called himself "His Airness". This proves LeBron is a self-centered jagaloon."

I suppose you can make this point, but if people at work wanna call me "The Emperor" all day I won't tell them to stop. And I bet you wouldn't either, no matter how self-righteous you might be.

The second part of this requires you to watch LeBron on the court. You can see he's great friends with his teammates, you can just tell from watching. He pals around with them, hangs out with them, and doesn't isolate himself from them. More importantly, he averaged almost 9 assists per game last year. 9 ASSISTS! The guy is a forward! Those are point guard numbers. Look if he wanted to score 40-50 points every night, trust me, he could. He was on the Cavs...who else could score on that team without LeBron drawing defenders away? I suppose we'll find out next season when they're at the bottom of their division.

By the way, Wade, Bosh and James are all taking LESS than the max contracts they can get by playing together. This isn't about money. It's about titles.

Myth #2- "LeBron showed extreme disloyalty by leaving Cleveland, his hometown."

I don't buy this for one second. In fact, I think Cleveland showed extreme disloyalty by surrounding the most gifted player in the NBA with Mo Williams, Anderson Varejo, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a 60 year old Shaq and expecting him to stay and win titles. You're right. It's LeBron's fault he wants to go to a team that has proven it'll surround him with talent so he can win instead of stay and play in the garbage dump.

Cleveland, I know your city has the worst luck in sports, and I empathize with you. But jimminy crickets! You're acting like you're being forced to watch a J-Lo movie! Stand strong! Be proud! least you had a superstar for 7 years. The last superstar in Washington Webber??? (If you wanna say Gilbert Arenas you're just making my point stronger). So be thankful. It shows you how selfish those "HOME" signs were, the minute he leaves you're burning his jersey instead of thanking him for not demanding a trade the day after he was drafted.

Myth #3- "This just proves LeBron isn't great cause he has to pair up with Wade and Bosh to win a title."

I hate this one the most. Did Jordan win every title with Scottie Pippen? A top 50 greatest all-time NBA player? Did Kobe win three in a row with Shaq? Did he win his last two with Pau Gasol? Did Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo all win their first title with each other? Did Tim Duncan have Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli? Did Dwayne Wade have Shaq? Did Magic Johnson have Kareem Abdul Jabar and James Worthy?

People who say this need to shut their mouths when they talk to me. They look stupid. No one can win a title by themselves. LeBron even said this last night- "You become a superstar individually, but you become a champion as a team."

The man just wants to win. God forbid he tries to do that.

Myth #4- "Michael Jordan never would have left the Bulls to win titles elsewhere. He's a noble knight upon his snow colored steed."

Duh. MJ never would have left Chicago for another team to win titles. Then again, he was being coached by Phil Jackson (top 3 greatest NBA coaches of all-time). And let's not forget that MJ was a stone-cold killer too. LeBron lacks the killer instinct MJ and Kobe have. He just does. He's more physically gifted than both of them (Don't even begin to argue this. LeBron is twice the size and twice as athletic). MJ and Kobe, however, have proven to be better basketball players and better winners.

I won't compare LeBron to MJ just like I won't compare Kobe to MJ. You can't. MJ is the greatest of all time. He did things in basketball that should have never happened, and he will always be the greatest. Kobe might be the hardest working player ever. He's changed his game the last few years to keep his team in contention for titles, and he's playing hurt every season. But LeBron is LeBron, and we've never seen anything like him since Dr. J. We need to stop comparing him to Michael all the time.

Oh and a side note for you, LeBron is 25 and finished his 7th year in the NBA without a title and people boast of Jordan's dominance as a young player. You know when Jordan won his first title? In his 7th year when he was 27. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Here's the point:

LeBron may not be the greatest of all time....yet. But he is a great player. He was stuck on a terrible team that never gave him the help he needed, never gave him a coach that utilized him properly (and no, going 1-on-5 in the playoffs is not properly), and they didn't put him in the best situation to win. They just hoped he'd carry them all the way with no help. Naturally, LeBron bolted to a situation where he can thrive and win titles with two of his friends.

I mean, this sounds like something I'd do if I were in the NBA. Would I want to play for the Washington Wizards just cause I'm from there? Sure, if I could and if I could win titles while I was there. But if you tell me I can go play in Florida with my two buddies and run the NBA for the next 8 years winning as many titles as we want...I'm outta here. Sorry D.C.

You play sports professionally to win. And if you can crumble a city overnight while you're at it you might as well.

Dwayne Wade for MVP. He's the mastermind behind this.

What's your reaction?


  1. It seems easy to take less than the maximum salary when you make ridiculous millions each year. And he probably got all that money back last night in his ESPN special anyway.

    I'm just glad its over so I don't have to have my news feed and twitter blow up with all this #teamlebron and #haterade stuff.

    Shoulda gone to the Twolves if you ask me

  2. all money made from the special last night went to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Nike also donated $3 million.

  3. You make a lot of good points, the only problem is all the bad/weak points. I'll state now I never cared for Lebron and I actually enjoyed the circus around the three free agents this week. I enjoyed the fact that there was a special last night, but it was a bit disrespectful to the other teams involved. I think ESPN should've gone over the top and packed the arenas of each team involved with the teams and fans associated with them and had cameras on them while he one by one dismissed teams until he got to his choice.

    1) The three said they would take less money to win titles, which is irrelevant because they will make it up in endorsements. But non of them have signed deals and Miami is looking to give them max money if possible.

    2) Cleveland tried to put players around Lebron, Shaq was a joke but nobody knew Ben Wallace's career was over when he went to Cleveland.

    3) Shaq did win with Kobe, but it was Shaq's team. The last two it was Kobe's team. The Bulls were Jordan's teams not Pippen's. Just like the Lakers were Magics and the Celtics were Birds. Celtics were Pierce's team too. The Heat is and will continue to be Wade's team. Pippen wouldn't have been a top 50 player without MJ. LBJ would've been, but now he will be Pippen to Wade's Jordan and Bosh will be Rodman. They will win if Miami does sign them for less and they can add good supporting guys like Jordan, Kobe, and Duncan have had for there championships.

    4)Phil Jackson was not a top 3 coach of all time back when Jordan had opportunities to leave early in his career. But Lebron wouldn't have won in Cleveland so this point is moot.

    5)This is my point, Wade has been one of the top players in the league during the same period Lebron has been playing, now that Lebron is in Miami, Wade ends up going down as the greatest player if this threesome is able to win multiple championships.

    6) The Miami Thrice, I prefer Tres Grandes.

    Regardless I am going to go watch these guys play and it will be fun. I still dont like Lebron, but I like Wade and hope they can get some bench support so these guys dont have to play 40 minutes a night.

  4. Not to be 'that guy', but I do want to re-but a few of your points.

    1)Miami can't give all three max deals unless they want to have 4 players under contract. That's a fact. What they make in endorsements is outside the game. Its the reason players build their brand. However, 'self-centered' superstars giving up salary is big sign they're committed to winning.

    2)Only strong attempt Cleveland made to help LeBron was Antwan Jamison...too little, too late. Ben Wallace only played there for 2 years, and they weren't consecutive. Shaq was a wasted effort, Anderson Varejo is not an elite player. Point is, they NEVER gave LeBron a legit #2. And you MUST have one to win a title. Fact.

    3) At this point that's speculation. We don't know how it'll turn out with Wade/Bosh/James in Miami. It should be Wade's team, but that's yet to be seen. So, speculation for now. We can see how it actually turns out. Again, point is you MUST have a #2 (or #2 and #3) to win a title.

    4) Phil Jackson was a reason to stay in Chicago, Mike Brown was a reason to leave Cleveland.

    5) This is VERY possible. Wade is an INCREDIBLE player, I don't doubt that for a second. He's always been overshadowed by the hype of LeBron and I think now we will have a great chance to see who the dominant player is. This alone is exciting for basketball.

    6) I can dig it.

    Love the feedback Chad, I always enjoy discussing and disagreeing on sports with you!

  5. AJ, you can't go back and forth on MJ for the purposes of your argument. You consistently argue that Kobe has always had a dominant #2 which is why he can't be compared to MJ and can't be used in the same sentence but now you're going to start citing other people around him who helped him win championships. No dice. Stick to one argument or another. Fact is, even with lower contracts, who are they also going to get to be on that team? A bunch of no body's who will work for Mt. Dew and Funyons just to win a championship? With less than max even still, that's three hefty contracts to hold up and still put any sort of a team around them. So half way through the season when Lebron has a torn achilles, Wade is still rocking it out, and Bosh has lost his legs in 'Nam, what will that team be? If you want to argue that lesser guys will step up to win who get paid peanuts just to be on that team, I would counter that it could have happened in Cleveland too.

    Cleveland added a new coach, and could have tried going forward to give Lebron what he needed. They learned from the Shaq mistake and could have put some resources to putting someone there with him. They even tried to get Chris Bosh, but the fact that he refused goes to show that he's more concerned with his ability to hang out with hot Cuban women than he is with getting paid to win championships.

    Say what you will, it could have been a better decision. Could have not taken up so much ESPN time if he would have just announced it when he decided and save us all a headache.

    I know I'm not the most basketball savvy person, but I can smell a fix when I see one. And I think this one is going to fall through