Archive for July 9th, 2010

“Championships are championships”

I suppose I can’t start by saying that championships are not championships. That doesn’t make any sense. But when LeBron James was asked if winning a title in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at his side would be any less fulfilling than winning one in Cleveland and responded with “Championships are championships,” well, that was, to me, the most disappointing thing he’d done in 2010.*

*And let’s be honest: Bron Bron has done a lot of disappointing things in 2010.

LeBron’s response–his LeBronse!–displayed an alarming lack of awareness. One of the things I praised about LeBron just yesterday was how he seemed to understand his position in the sports world and that he could market a one-hour special and draw huge ratings. But by saying “Championships are championships,” LeBron ignored the circumstances that surround winning them and their concomitant ramifications on his legacy.

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The LeBron Decision

LeBron James hanging up his Cavs jersey

It isn’t often that a player is accused of being selfish for taking less money in order to win championships. It isn’t often that a player is accused of being self-aggrandizing for holding a special that donates all proceeds to charity. It isn’t often that a player is accused of letting an entire city down after pretty much single-handedly leading his team to consecutive 60-win seasons.

But then again, LeBron James isn’t a normal basketball player, so comparing him to what “often” happens probably doesn’t make much sense.

There was something undeniably disappointing about the way LeBron’s decision played out yesterday. Maybe it was because of the slow, gradual, yet inevitable way it all played out: It went from possibly Miami, to probably Miami, to almost certainly Miami. By the time LeBron actually sat down for his interminable interview with Jim Gray, the outcome was all but certain, even if everyone was hoping that LeBron would justify our collective denial.

But it’s hard to see it being as disappointing if the gradually leaking information had all indicated that LeBron would return to Cleveland, or even that he would go to New York. No, there was something uniquely disappointing about LeBron signing with Miami, just one day after Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh announced their plans to play in South Beach.

So why, exactly, was this so disappointing? Was LeBron’s behavior really “selfish”? Did he really “betray” the city of Cleveland? Continue reading