Lebron Going to Miami Means Much More than You Think

A Guest Post By: Jon Levin, Los Angeles, California

As much as everyone’s “sources” were saying LeBron was going to Miami, I thought the chances of it actually happening were slim-to-none. Maybe it’s because I’m a Lakers fan or because I’m not a LeBron James fan, but this entire free agency process made me like him even less.  I used to believe Lebron had something of a mental foundation in place, at least a  teaspoon of that “killer” in him that we see from  guys like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. The type of mentality that wills those around you to put forth  effort they might not have thought they had in them. Before the Boston series this year and last night’s announcement, I thought LeBron had enough of that in him to be able to be the primary leader of a team. I was  proven wrong when a mentally tougher Boston team took it to Lebron, who seemed disinterested in key stretches of the games. Now we see Lebron leaving his leadership role and his hometown to hit up Miami with D-Wade – a team with two proven stars and one in Dwyane Wade who, in my opinion, is most comparable to  Kobe Bryant in terms of displaying that “killer” mentality.

Lebron’s decision spoke volumes to me. I really think LeBron is not who many of us thought he was. LeBron seemed to desire the image of being a primary leader, a floor general as they call it. A Magic Johnson. A Larry Bird. A Michael Jordan. A Kobe Bryant.  None of these players left their team to join forces with others.  They recruited stars to their team to build a complete unit around them. They were the clear-cut leaders, both with their mentalities and with their play.  Tonight showed us who LeBron is. He joined forces with Wade and Bosh. Don’t take it from me, look what Pat Riley had to say about it,“We are thrilled that LeBron James and Chris Bosh have decided to come to Miami to join forces with our truly great player, Dwyane Wade.”

It may seem like I’m knocking LeBron’s game. That couldn’t be farther from how I feel.  He is the most incredible combination of size, speed, strength, and basketball skill that the league has ever seen. He’s the fastest and strongest guy in the NBA. It’s pretty insane to think about. I mean, he does seem to just bulrush the lane hoping to get an And-1 a lot, but it’s a smart call to make considering his size and speed even if its pretty terrible basketball to watch.

Many like to say, “Well Magic had Kareem and Worthy, Bird had McHale and Parish, Jordan had Pippen, Horace Grant and Rodman, and Kobe had Shaq” – but we can’t look at Lebron in the same light as Magic, Bird, Jordan, and Kobe anymore.  Those guys never gave up their primary role to co-lead with others on a different team.  Those four were born leaders; they weren’t forced into the role due to their overwhelming talent. I don’t blame LeBron. That type of role is an incredibly difficult role to play. It’s one you can’t force upon someone – it has to come naturally. Mr. James just isn’t that player — and therefore can’t be included in the type of discussions the legendary figures above are in.

So now to the state of the league.  Call me a homer all you want, the Lakers are still the team to beat. Period. Even without knowing the rest of the Heat’s new roster. I also still like the Celtics and semi-like the Magic over the Heat coming out of the east, but that could change with news that Mike Miller is going to be signing with the Heat and I’m sure a few other above average role players are soon to follow. I feel like the Celtics will follow a similar path leading to a deep run into the playoffs as they did last year. They will have multiple bumps in the road during the regular season and will go through stretches where they seem to be a bit disinterested in regular season action — but they are a veteran team and know how to turn it on come playoff time. Also, from personal experience, teams come out crazy-determined the year following  a Finals loss and the Celtics have retained their core players. Next year is going to be a blast to watch. I’m only three weeks off of a finals victory and I can’t wait for next year already. October can’t come soon enough.

(A side note: I don’t think the whole “King” nickname is appropriate anymore, or maybe ever was. Kings don’t leave their country (or team) to join forces as co-kings in other countries (or teams). Plus, you need to have accomplished something before being anointed a king metaphorically; something like winning a ring.)

Check out http://www.chrisross91.wordpress.com.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Lebron Going to Miami Means Much More than You Think

  1. John,

    I know this is your first post and all, but too bad. I agree that Lebron’s move is a different one than Jordan/Kobe/Bird/Magic used, but that’s ok. I think he made a damn good decision, and I think the Heat will literally kill teams next year. How do you expect the Lakers to possibly guard the Heat when those three players are on the floor?

    • J-Bone

      I was going to write something about this and you hit alot of the points I was going to hit. He is not the King anymore and should take that gaudy tattoo off his back. This is something Jordan or Kobe would never do, they care about two things killing you and legacy, Lebron apparently does not care about legacy. It is a no win, if he wins its Wades team, if he loses he loses. Mr. Howigit, who on the Lakers is going to gaurd the Heat? Who on the Heat is going to gaurd Dwight Howard? Who is going to gaurd Rondo? Gasol? Rose? Either Noah or Boozer? Thats the problem with three players none of which being a point gaurd or legit center those are the two most important positions to gaurd and they dont have either.

      • A. Rab Money

        How about Kobe, Artest and Gasol. They can certainly match up against those three. And J bone was right about them not matching up well against some other teams, but the roster is still lacking and a lot will change come fall. No matter how you put it this hurts his credibility and changes his status as an all time great from the moment he said South Beach.

    • Jon Levin

      How do you expect them to play once Chris Bosh gets in foul trouble? If Pau or Bynum get in foul troulbe we have Odom off the bench. Odom is our 6th man, and hes playing for Team USA this summer. Think about that. There front court will be thin no matter what, and thats the Lakers biggest strength. Also, when Wade plays the Lakers, he guards Kobe for 2 quarters and we all know LeBron cant guard him, so that puts a lot of pressure on Wade to guard Kobe more, and thats a tiring task. Plus im more than content with letting Artest guard LeBron, thats why we got him in the first place.

      • I agree Jon in terms of them having trouble matching up on defense. But I think they will score so many points it won’t matter I’ll that much. They’ll find a defensive system that can highlight their strengths. What that is, I’m not entirely sure — but I’m not am NBA coach.

  2. I don’t think it hurts his credibility at all if they win. Sure, they will have some issues matching up defensively, depending on who ends up playing point and center for them. But, Bosh, Wade, and Lebron are all very good defensive players — I think they’ll be fine if they can get a decent defensive center and point guard. Offensively is the issue — other teams simply will not be able to guard these three at once.

  3. Also, please note that I did not write this post. It’s a guest post from a contributor from LA.

    • j-bone

      I know it was a guest post and I think that he made some very good points. He absolutely hurt his credibility, he crushed the people of Ohio, his home state, but they screwed themselves. They added nothing and wanted him to come back so I don’t feel so bad for them but the all time greats have people that hate them because they are good, not because he screwed them. He changed the way he is viewed and will be viewed. He no longer can ever be Jordan even if he wins 15 championships with Wade and Bosh. He can’t even be Kobe. He basically said I can not put a team on my back and win a championship and I don’t want to try it.

      • Jon Levin

        completely agree j-bone. he gave up his prime years to be the man, which you can look at many ways. i look at it as taking an easier road to getting a ring. its easier when you have two other “redeem teamers” on your squad to share the blame with you if you dont win. Even with pau and odom, kobe took the majority of the blame for losing in 08. and im sure he’s just fine with that.

      • Lebron is taking the easier road, no doubt about it — but for people to not respect him for it is ridiculous. I’m not even a big Lebron fan at all, I just think he did what was best for him and what will get him a ring most quickly. And, I know he’ll make plenty, but I give all 3 players credit for putting a chance to win before their own individual contracts.

  4. A. Rab Money

    He definitely changed the way he is viewed, just by how he carried out this whole ordeal. He didn’t even have the decency to call the Cavs himself to say he appreciated playing there and wanted to move on. He now looks like a classless, selfish attention whore. Not to mention his quote saying ” I did what was best for LeBron James, and what made him the happiest.” I used to like him as a player and respected him as an athlete, i now have no respect for him.

  5. I am surprised by the backlash from both of you. I don’t think Lebron’s credibility should be hurt at all. I do think that he should have explained himself better to the Cavs, but the bottom line is they weren’t taking the necessary steps to win. He did what was best for him, what he feels will help him win a championship. I see nothing wrong with that. Who said he needs to carry an entire team on his back? We all know that with a legitimate supporting cast he absolutely could. Now he doesn’t need to. How can you say he can’t ever be Kobe? Kobe played with arguably the greatest center of all time in Shaq. If you ask me, Shaq carried Kobe. What makes you have no respect for him anymore? Clearly the people running the Cavs (see Dan Gilbert) are not the type of people you’d want to play for either. So why no respect? He took less money to put himself in the best situation to win — and thanked Cleveland, the fans, and said he greatly appreciated his time there.

    • Jon Levin

      1st, I dont think you remember in 2000 in that famous game 7 against Portland where Shaq was extremely passive and only took 9 shots. I remember yelling at the tv for him to take more shots. In that game, Kobe had 29 pts, 11 rebs, 7 assts, and 4 blocks. 2nd, in 2001 Shaq averaged 28.7 and Kobe averaged 28.5 in the playoffs. The Lakers only loss that entire playoff run was game 1 of the finals. Shaq battled foul trouble for most of that series and Kobe picked up the slack on numerous occasions. For anyone to say Shaq “carried” Kobe is extremely bold and in my opinion, wrong. Shaq was more dominant, hands down, but Kobe was already a “killer” then and came up huge in the biggest moments.

      Obviously, LeBron has had nothing close to a Shaq (well, he actually had Shaq but not 00-02 Shaq) but his decision to concede to being the primary leader of a team in the prime of his career speaks volumes of how he feels about himself as a leader. And like I said, theres nothing wrong with that, but most of the time when players with LeBron’s caliber of talent make that decision its towards the end of their prime (like KG and Ray going to Boston). I dont know about Ray, but KG went to McHale and said he wanted a trade so the move to Boston was a sacrifice of a role to win a ring and thats what LeBron just did. And that says something.

      • Lebron knows he could do it on his own — he just doesn’t need to. And Kobe was able to do what he did early in his career only because defenses had to worry about stopping Shaq — which opened up scoring opportunities for him.

      • Jon Levin

        LeBron might think he could do it on his own, but now that hes dedicated his prime to not doing it on his own, no one will ever know.

        And I completely agree with you that Kobe took advantage of of Shaq’s presence early on, but for the last 2 rings of our three-peat Kobe was more than a sidekick. He drew tons of double teams. You know how you’ll hear analysts say something to the effect of “LeBron’s gonna get his…” or “Shaq’s gonna get his…” but they follow that up with “…but you cant let the other guys around him beat you.”? Thats how it was after that 1st championship. Shaq still drew doubles, but teams game-planned to stop Kobe because there were way more quality wing defenders than post defenders in the NBA then, and even with the best post defenders of that era they couldn’t guard Shaq. All the great centers of the 90s besides David Robinson were way past their prime or had retired. Kobe definitely took advantage of Shaq being on his team, but he was heavily game-planned for after 2000 and had his offensive options limited due to that.

  6. I still think they are a number of pieces away from being a true championship team. Well a centre and a shooter for starts but we’ll see.

    Good article again bud.

    • j-bone

      No respect because he had an hour long sit down press conference to announce something every body knew 8 hours before. No respect because he didn’t call any of the teams that he turned down. No respect because he had everyone fly to Cleveland. No respect because, I am stealing here, he used the term LeBron James 5 times in 45 minutes. No respect because King James went to another kings court. No respect because I could very easily argue that the Bulls have a better chance of winning now. He went about the entire process in the worst possible way. This is a guy who models himself after Jordan and Jordan would do none of that shit. I don’t care that he left Cleveland, Cleveland sucks as a staff, record label, and a crew. It was the fact that TO handles free agency better. LeBron has handled himself very very well all things considered since he got in the league and he handled this the worst possible way. Not just the team he chose but the entire way he did it.

    • Thanks Chris. Pat Riley will get em something good.

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