The decision is in. I’m just not sure the right one was made.
I’m not talking about the one LeBron James made concerning where he’ll play next year. You really can’t fault a move made to increase your chances of winning. That’s not the issue here. The way it all went down, that’s where the decision went wrong.
Where do you begin? The entire process leading up to the 1-hour special on ESPN was a mess. If anyone actually believes LeBron made his decision Thursday morning is naïve. The decision was made weeks, possibly months, in advanced. LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh knew what they were doing, and all 3 knew where they would end up. It was an orchestrated show by the players, their representatives and possibly even the Miami Heat. And everyone bought into it.
As I was watching the “all about me” special several things popped into my head. First and foremost, I began missing the Michael Jordan days. I don’t remember ever seeing Jordan, Magic Johnson or Larry Bird pulling stunts like this. A different era, and one that’s sorely missed.
The entire idea of doing this announcement on national TV was a joke. I realized the minute LeBron’s representatives approached ESPN with this idea the spotlight was all about LeBron and his “camp”. But I do not agree with the entire bashing of The Worldwide Leader. The egofest wasn’t their idea, and there’s not a network out there that would have turned it down. What you can criticize them for is basically false advertising. Word was the announcement would be made within the first 10 minutes. Of course that wasn’t going to happen because the network was going to milk it for all it could. The line of questioning leading up to the answer was just ridiculous by the reporter and those behind the scenes.
The production and setup of The Decision was also a joke. LeBron’s camp used the whole “proceeds to go to The Boys and Girls Club” as an excuse to justify holding the special. At least money was made for the charity, so something good did come from this. However, the way they used the kids and his “boys” as a backdrop was horrible. You could see right through this.
At 8:28 CST, out came the answer everyone was waiting for. LeBron said “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.” With this quote, the landscape of the NBA changed.
Being a free agent, LeBron had the right to decide where to play. However, the debate began on whether it was the right choice. Lebron left his team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, to join Wade’s team, the Heat. Would going to play on a team centered around someone else tarnish his image and his brand? I’m not sure, but the player introduction in Miami on Friday looked a little uncomfortable. The Heat brought all 3 onto the stage, with Wade standing in the middle and LeBron standing to his left. It appeared The King went from being a center piece to being second fiddle. Any Jordan comparisons that were left went right out the window. Further proof there’s no replacing His Airness.
If anything was learned during the hour special, it was how not to handle a situation like this. LeBron and his “camp”, “representatives”, “advisers” or whatever you want to call them dropped the ball. There’s no doubt this is a huge publicity hit. Nobody is really questioning the move, just the entire song and dance that occurred over the last couple of months.
Unfortunately, we were all a “Witness” to it.
Written by C. James