Four years. Four consecutive NBA Finals appearances. Two championships. LeBron James and the Miami Heat had, arguably, the best four years an NBA franchise could ever dream of.
However, at the end of the day, will the Miami Heat ever consider retiring James’ jersey after he left for greener pastures?
Shortly after his letter was published by Lee Jenkins and Sports Illustrated, Micky Arison, owner of the Miami Heat, tweeted a classy thank you message to James.
Leaving after four consecutive title runs is virtually unheard of. LeBron did it, spurning the Heat to make a return to his hometown, Cleveland. What hurts most Heat fans most; he never thanked them for sticking up for him when the whole entire world hated him.
When you think of players that have had the prestige of having their jersey retired, you think of a players that had longevity with their respective teams. LeBron only played four years for the Heat, but regardless of the amount of years, should his jersey be retired due to the fact that he won two titles?
Ira Winderman, of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel believes that at the end of the day, James’ jersey will still be retired even after leaving for the Cavaliers.
"Oh, I’ve never had an issue with LeBron’s basketball IQ, both on and off the court. But I also appreciate his perspective on his NBA legacy, and still find it difficult to believe anyone could (or should) walk away from his teammates after four consecutive visits to the NBA Finals. No one has done that. Ever. And yes I appreciate the few have even sustained that level of perseverance. I just take issue with the portrayal of the Heat somehow failing LeBron, forcing his hand. All of that said, his jersey still eventually goes to the rafters in Miami. These past four seasons were that special."
James’ departure will still go down as one of the most controversial in recent memory, but the Heat didn’t exactly do its best to convince James to return.
Mike Miller, James’ good friend, was amnestied after the 2013 NBA season. The Heat’s two biggest projects in Greg Oden and Michael Beasley miserably failed last season. Oh, then Caron Butler was bought out of his contract and became available midseason last year. The Heat were unable to lure him and Butler eventually signed with the Thunder.
No upgrades were ever made to the roster.
Am I disappointed that LeBron decided to leave? Absolutely. However,the Heat did force his hand by not making the appropriate moves in free agency to keep him satisfied.
At the end of the day, LeBron will have his jersey retired in American Airlines Arena up next to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Heat fans will remember the era of the Big Three, and how they revolutionized the Heat franchise.