You’re 25 years old, you have two NBA MVP awards, more money than you can spend in a lifetime, but no titles. You can buy a chain of jewelry stores, and yet you don’t have a single ring.
LeBron James made a choice that should be heralded and applauded, but instead it’s been met with a tsunami of negative criticism. Don’t we constantly rant and rave about how athletes don’t care about teams or championships? Don’t we always complain about how sports stars are only in it for the money?
By choosing Miami as his next team, LeBron squashed all the claims that he is an egocentric diva. James’ critics claimed that he would never fit on Dwyane Wade’s team because his pride wouldn’t allow him to play with another (I despise using this phrase) “Alpha-Dog.”
To put it simply, LeBron passed up over $35-40 million during the next five years so that he can play basketball at the very highest level with his two friends. Doesn’t that scream of anything but narcissism? How many people do you know that would ever leave that many millions of dollars on the table? He sacrificed his “name brand,” a huge amount of money, and also his home.
The easy choice for James would have been to stay in Ohio. He could’ve re-upped with Cleveland, signed a max contract, and stayed in his home state while most fans there would’ve never cared if he won a championship.
But he didn’t take the easy way out. He chose to push all his chips into the middle of the table and said “I’m all in.” His legacy and reputation have all been mortgaged for the possibility to “make history.”
In every interview with Bosh, Wade, and James, they all stated the same thing, that they want to win. That they would rather sacrifice money and play at a discount in order to be champions. They chose a potential dynasty and team success over being much richer but irrelevant during the NBA Finals.
This is something that should be looked upon with admiration, not disdain. Not only did he open himself up to this backlash, not only did he let his wallet take a hard hit, not only did he swallow his so called pride, but he also helped make a huge contribution to a worthy cause (The Boys and Girls Club). In the end, James made the single hardest decision he could have.
LeBron is moving to Miami knowing full well that all the expectations and pressure will now be placed upon him and his teammates, and based on the statements he made last night I think that’s just the way he wants it.