Monday, July 12, 2010

In Defense of LeBron

The Internet is awash with invectives castigating LeBron James for leaving Cleveland. Now there are certainly some things LeBron could have done, from a PR perspective, to alleviate his departure, such as conducting it less publicly and remaining in communication with the Cavalier organization that had supported him so thoroughly in his career. (Supposedly, James refuted all Cav's correspondence in the week leading up to his decision.)

But, understand that he as a player has every right--just like every other group in professional sports--to pursue his best interest, which he identifies as winning a championship. Players aside, the two best groups to compare James to are coaches and owners. Elite coaches, like elite players, have no intention of staying on with a team that has no hope of winning. Take Phil Jackson. Why do you think he left the Lakers after the 2003-04 season? Because the team sucked. They needed to be rebuilt. As an elite coach, he didn't need to stick around for the rebuilding process. He preferred rejoining when the Gasols and Odoms came into the picture. Jackson even one-uped LeBron in terms of ill-advised PR decisions by publishing 'The Last Season' in which he attacks Kobe Bryant, whom he had only won 3 championships with.

As for owners, look what's going on in New Orleans (or Phoenix in hockey). The city cannot support two major professional sports teams. The team's ledger is bleeding so the owner wants out. There's no concern about the corp of young talent on the roster, or that--when healthy--they have the best point guard in the NBA. The owners can say that winning is the top priority for them but its not. They play for cash. When the money's not coming in they bolt. So, the next time some myopic blog, like this one, goes off on LeBron for leaving a city that had become so dependent upon him it was almost scary, remember that in pursuing his best interests he's just mirroring all of the NBA's other elite groups.

1 comment:

  1. You might be right, but I think he crossed the overarrogant line when he started asking people to add a 3rd capital letter to his name.

    Lebron James to LeBron James.