I know what you are thinking. ANOTHER article about LeBron James? Really? Is this all you ever write about? Well, it is for the most part yes. But this one is different. This is inspired by the article WFNY (DP in particular) wrote about not losing any sleep over LeBron leaving if that’s what he decides to do. And let’s face it, it’s not like this will be the first time if it happens. Remember Boozer? Remember Manny? Remember Thome? It’s not like we as Cleveland fans aren’t ready for it to happen, and if this series ends tomorrow, I have a feeling we will get a refresher course in what it feels like.
What seems to be on most peoples minds now, is that LeBrons got the talent, he lacks the drive to be a champion, he doesn’t have the disease of Kobe, or MJ. His aspirations lie away from the court, and this skill he has, his game, is just a platform to propel him to where he wants to be. He doesn’t want to be a champion, he wants to be an icon. He knows that a title will make or break that image. But it’s not something he feels he needs to kill himself for. If he can’t win one with this team then maybe next year, no big deal. Or if he can’t win one as the leader maybe he can hitch on to a young star and nab one on the way out. An NBA title isn’t his main concern. All of these people. Are right. It’s not his #1 priority, he’d rather be in Jay-Z videos and be recruiting top college players to his talent agency.
We all see the way he is using his talent. He isn’t using it to be in the discussion of best ever, he is using it, and the NBA as a stepping stone. And you know what? Good for him. At least he shows desire to achieve something. Even if it isn’t what we want him to be putting his effort into, at least he has the desire to work for something. To a lot of people, his lack of the killer instinct, the MJ Gene. The Pathological Need to Win. Call it what you will, his lack of that on the court may to some people seem like he just doesn’t care. And right now, I would have to agree. His whole career, every time the Cavs get knocked out of the playoffs, I have always said “This is ok. This is good. He needs this because he needs to see what it takes to be a champion”. Not this year. At this stage in his career, and his life, he should not need getting embarrassed and humiliated by an inferior team to learn what it takes. He has had 6 seasons of that. And to be quite honest, I think he sees what it would take to be a champion. And decided it’s not worth it. He has seen what Kobe is like now, no distractions, nothing but basketball. 24/7. Thats his life. LeBron doesn’t want that. He has seen the toll it has taken on guys like KG, hobbling around and running on fumes. LeBron doesn’t want that. He has seen what that NEED to win has done the MJ, taking control of the Bobcats to get his fix. The gambling. The marriage issues. The racing team. LeBron doesn’t want that. He has been given everything up until this point, and now that he sees what he would need to do to win, and decided that it isn’t worth it for him. On one level, good for him, KG will be crippled for life by the end of his career. MJ is going to be looking for that fix, that W, until he dies. Kobe has become so consumed with winning his life will mean nothing once he can’t play. LeBron wants the rest of his life, he knows that he won’t be on the court forever and he wants the rest of his life to be good too. If that means he isn’t the G.O.A.T. then so be it. I think he has made that decision. He will play well, he will collect MVP’s for years to come, but he just isn’t willing to put in the effort to be a champion.
And on one level, I respect his decision, because that’s what it is, he has made this choice already. On another level, nothing could possibly piss me off more. He has all of the God given talent one player can hope to be given, he’s 6’9″ 250 pounds of solid muscle, he is built to run and jump and be physically superior to everyone else. He is smart, he sees plays that are only visible to guys like him and Magic. He has the ability to make those around him better just by being near them, in a way that hasn’t existed since Bird. On any given night he can decide, 50 points or 15 assists. He has that, almost without fail. And to see him not be willing to put in the work to go that little bit further, be that little bit better. It pisses me off because most of us, most of us sports fans never had that chance. I know I was never the best athlete on a team, I never had the obvious advantages. I was the guy that had to outwork everyone else just to be able to compete. I never had the physical prowess to outjump or outrun. It ticks me off to see someone with that kind of opportunity not willing to work that little bit that he needs to be better. I know this isn’t a fair comparison, it’s a different situation completely. But no matter what, inside of everyone who ever wanted to be a pro athlete but was never good enough, is the “I would do what they do for free” thought. And if I could of course I would. But thats just not the case.
So would I lose sleep over LeBron skipping town? No. To a degree I am rooting for him to go to New York, Cleveland needs someone with the desire to win, and someday we will have that. But if he stays will I be upset with making the playoffs and 60 win seasons? No. Even if that means not winning a championship. Hey, I’ve got 80 years or so to see a NBA championship come to Cleveland, but I might only have 48 more minutes to see the guy that should be the best ever play here. So I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the show. Go Cavs.