I wanted to be "above" all of this circus and not watch ESPN's "The Decision", but as much as I couldn't stand the media monster that had been created over the past seven days, I just couldn't look away as it all came to an ugly head. We had been hearing all day that LeBron was headed to Miami, but part of me just couldn't believe that it was true. I was really hoping that we'd be treated to the "right" ending. I wanted to believe that we, as a nation, could collectively get behind the biggest and now "most loyal" athlete in the world and cheer him and the Cavaliers on as the took on the Lakers in the Finals. After all, LeBron staying in Cleveland had to be the only logical outcome of this press conference, right? I mean, if you're going to leave the team that drafted you, the fans you spent seven years playing for, the city and state you grew up in, you don't hold a national press conference! Nobody in their right mind, especially somebody with a "team" specifically built to uphold his image, would do something that cruel in front of millions of people, right?
Last night, LeBron James effectively went on national TV, dropped his drawers, and defecated on the city of Cleveland.
To make matters worse, he went and chose the one location that was, in my opinion, inexcusable. Had he gone to the Clippers, he would've caught everyone off guard. We may have thought he was crazy, but you have to admit that there's something semi-heroic about stepping into Kobe Bryant and the defending champions' backyard and trying to turn the entire city of LA into Clipper fans.
The Nets would have been another intriguing option. Again, like the Clippers, it might've been questionable from a talent standpoint, but the Jay-Z connection, the Russian owner's global connections, and the "legacy" of building a team from scratch in Brooklyn does make the team somewhat enticing.
The Knicks would've been his biggest challenge, his moment to shine in the biggest city in the world. He would've been a savior in New York, even moreso than he would've been in Cleveland. Leaving a small midwestern city for the Big Apple might not have sat well with some, but still, it wouldn't have been like he was walking into a "perfect" situation. New York would have been a major project. It would have been intriguing to see if he could have really saved the day.
The Bulls were, in my opinion, the perfect fit. You couldn't for a better supporting cast to surround LeBron. In Chicago, he truly could have become the "next" Jordan. He also would have undoubtedly won multiple titles there. If he really questioned Cleveland's ability to win it all, you couldn't fault him for going to the Bulls.
Any one of those four cities wouldn't have been Cleveland, but they still would've allowed me to pull for LeBron next season. On the other hand, if the Heat do end up playing the Lakers in the 2011 Finals, I'll be doing the unthinkable and rooting for Kobe. At least Kobe had the cojones to run Shaq out of town and try to build "his" team. He didn't cower under the pressure and try to hitch his wagon to other stars to make things easy and "ensure" that he didn't retire without winning another ring.
Jordan, Magic, Bird, Duncan, Shaq, Kobe, Garnett... None of those guys won their titles by themselves. They each had their fellow all-stars to help push them to the top . However, none of them pulled the stunt we just saw from Wade, Bosh, and LeTurdster. None of those guys willingly jumped ship to ride another player's coat tails. They didn't hold a "summit". They didn't parade around like a bunch of attention whores for an entire week. On the rare occasions where they did switch teams, they did so without disrespecting the team and fans they left behind.
LeBron had the world on a string. He could've been Heir Jordan. He could've been the Chosen One. Instead, he'll always have one less ring than Dwane Wade. He'll never be the alpha dog on a title team. He'll always be the chump who wussed out during the summer when he could've made his bravest decision ever. He'll never have my respect, or the respect of millions of fans who finally saw him for who he truly was last night.
On the bright side, thanks to all these shenanigans, the Wolves landed THIS GUY!!!!
He may be completely out of his mind, but the man can ball! In terms of straightening himself out, I think Minneapolis is definitely a better location than South Beach for the big fella. Plus, in retrospect, this almost vindicates Kahn for passing on DMC for Wes Johnson, as Cousins + The Beas almost assuredly equals disaster.
Now if we can successfully trade Big Al for something nice... (Houston still needs a big man. We still need a SG). Your 2011-12 Wolves, barring a lockout, could look something like this!
SG: Kevin Martin/Webster
It's not a title contender, but it's a start. It's a fun team to watch. It's a team with pieces that could actually go somewhere with a few more moves...
I can't believe I'm saying this, but LeBron James may have just saved David Kahn's career!