On July 8, 2010, LeBron James announced a decision – a decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent and join the Miami Heat for the next six seasons. Lebron has never made it a secret that he wants to win and win badly. Aren’t we all granted the freedom of choice to make decisions based on how it moves us closer to our goals and dreams?
On December 2 (yes, today), it marks the first time King James will face his dearly departed Cavaliers in Cleveland. There’s no water under the bridge; people still harbor resentment and death threats still linger in the air. Then there’s the “open” letter from Dan Gilbert, Cavaliers owner, to Cleveland fans. With a scathing and sarcastic tone, Mr. Gilbert rants about LeBron’s “cowardly betrayal,” “shameful display of selfishness,” and “shocking act of disloyalty.”
Gilbert promised fans that Cleveland will claim an NBA championship before Miami Heat. Only time will tell if Dan will be able to take that promise to the bank. His letter sounds more like the temper tantrum of a three-year old, not the classy acceptance of a team owner. Sure, Cleveland adored their demigod, LeBron. In his typical, generous manner, he helped hundreds of businesses improve and he continues to provide financial resources to needy children and single-parent families; all from a heart of gold and the abundance of the LeBron James Family Foundation.
LeBron simply made a decision to improve his life…to win. Whether it was truly an improvement or not is up for debate, but shouldn’t he be the one making the call? He knew he would not be given a chance to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Cleveland. As a result, he’s been cast as the spawn of Satan. A selfish villain; clothed in narcissism, with horns of betrayal.
LeBron did what any top executive in any arena would do; he positioned himself for success. He’s worked hard for a stellar record of accomplishment; he’s led a clean life – no scandals, no jail, no drugs. Major life decisions are forged in secret. There’s a ton of soul searching, of gathering opinions from trusted confidants, especially when you’re in the public eye.
On a live ESPN special, The Decision, Lebron stated, “In this fall, this is very tough, in this fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat… I feel like it’s going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win for multiple years, and not only just to win in the regular season or just to win five games in a row or three games in a row, I want to be able to win championships. And I feel like I can compete down there.
Miami Heat needs more synergetic puzzle pieces to win a championship. And, it really doesn’t matter who wins first, the Cavaliers or the Heat. What matters is that one of the greatest basketball players of all time made a decision he thought was best for his career. However unpopular he has become in Cleveland; the gift of time always tells whether a decision has been a good one. And a good decision doesn’t always mean the road is smooth. Although he’ll be playing with Miami’s other All-World free agent signees Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, I don’t predict big wins this year or even next year.
The Cavaliers’ head coach, Byron Scott, has exhibited the classiest behavior of all. When asked about the ‘big’ game, he did not give special attention to the ensuing drama. He’s busy preparing his team to win against whatever opponent they face. Byron is not burying his head in the sand by not addressing it, he’s just refusing to give it more energy than it deserves.
Whether you agree with the way Lebron James handled his decision or not, we can all agree that we’ll be riveted to our seats in watching how his career unfolds and how he continues to handle himself on and off the court. LeBron has the heart of a champion and he continues to reveal that wherever he goes.
What do you think will happen tonight? Is it time for both LeBron and Cleveland to let go and ‘just go out and play ball’?