The good, the bad, and the Heat

I want to start off by saying hello! Welcome back to our returning students, and welcome to your first year at Allegheny College to all the new students out there. I hope you all had a fantastic summer!

Hopefully it was filled with late nights, lazy days, and tons of fun. Or maybe it was like mine, filled with late nights that did not always mix well with working days, and one major, crushing, heart–wrenching disappointment named LeBron James.

Photo by Keith Allison/Flickr

I know it’s been a while (almost two months now) since LBJ decided to abandon Cleveland, Ohio, the city that built him up and crowned him The King that he is today, but it’s something I’ve wanted to talk about. If I waited any longer, it would be even less timely.

I know that, for me and many other Clevelanders, it’s still a fresh wound that deserves attention.

Living 20 minutes outside of downtown Cleveland, I’m a little biased regarding The Decision, LeBron’s hour–long ESPN special during which he announced his choice to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and take his talent south to the Miami Heat.

I love my city, and as much as I would like to sit here and bash LeBron for choosing to leave us, I’m going try to look at this situation as objectively as possible.

LeBron took time to weigh his options and figure out who to sign with, so I’ll take time to look at the good and the bad regarding this turning point in Cavaliers’ basketball history.

The Good:
LeBron informed everyone at once: Using a TV special to air his decision was a good way not to leave anyone guessing. If he had told one person or a group of people, there would have been a chance that they would have leaked the information to someone else, or they could have been harassed by other people to release the decision. LeBron left no one guessing.

LeBron showed his true colors: Having once promised to bring a championship to Cleveland, LeBron proved that he is not a man of his word. Sure, it can be argued that such a promise isn’t one you can really guarantee –– a lot more than words goes into winning a championship.

Still, if you want to bring a title to a city so badly that you promise it, you should stick around and do everything you can to fulfill that promise. By backing out after the Cavaliers yet again didn’t win, LeBron showed that his promises mean nothing and that he’d rather look out for himself. Do you really want someone like that playing on your team?

LeBron proved he’s not in it for the money: By transplanting himself to the Miami Heat, LeBron took a significant pay cut. The Cavaliers had the ability to offer him at least $30 million more than any other team in the league. At least now we know that LeBron plays because he likes basketball, not just the money.

But this idea of playing for love of the game, not the money you make, brings us to The Bad of LeBron’s decision. If LeBron were really playing for love of the game, would he care so much about winning?

The Bad:
LeBron showed that winning a title is greater than playing with a team and for a city that loves you: Cleveland, Ohio can, without a doubt, claim that it is the city that made LeBron the player he is today. It’s a city that drafted him in 2003 as an 18–year–old kid and has worshipped him ever since.

Hailing from Akron, Ohio, a mere 45 minutes from Cleveland, LeBron is an Ohio boy, born and raised. Leaving the place that idolized him, however, wouldn’t be such a big deal if he hadn’t promised so much and had so much given to him.

He showed everyone that it doesn’t matter what ties him to a city. It doesn’t matter if the city would have given everything they had for him to stay –– all that mattered was getting a championship ring on his finger.

LeBron told everyone at once: This one is a double–edged sword. Yes, it’s nice that no one was left guessing, but LeBron didn’t even tell his coach, manager or teammates that he was leaving before announcing it to the world.
He was nice enough to call Miami and tell them he was going to sign with the Heat, but he forgot to show some respect to his former team and let them know he won’t be around next season.

Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, wrote a scathing letter about LeBron to Cavs fans the day after LeBron left. He was criticized for his aggression and anger towards LeBron, but can you really blame him?

Here’s a man who gave everything to keep his star player happy. What does he get in return? Not even the courtesy of knowing that this star player is going to leave.

It’s like changing your relationship status to “single” on Facebook without letting your significant other know first.

Going along with telling everyone at once, the medium LeBron chose to air his decision, an ESPN special, shows how much importance LeBron assigns to himself. Professional athletes switch teams all the time, but none of them take a whole hour to air their trade on national TV.

LeBron showed that he is nothing more than a self–centered basketball player. It’s not so much that he chose to leave Cleveland –– it’s that he did so in a way that played up his selfish desires to win championships and remain the center of attention, with no consideration or even thanks to the city that put him where he is right now.

I would feel much less anger toward “The King” if he had just acknowledged Cleveland and given us a little bit of credit. God knows we gave him everything else.

Final Grade: D-