So we've heard all the angles of how LeBron James turned his back on the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise. We've heard that he was selfish and the opposition that he was ready to win a championship and forgo his ego to be on a competitive team with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Other than the fact that LeBron's ultimate hour long special ruled the world for three days, here's what I concluded during and after the ESPN special.
The Lebron James Network
For almost the entire day, and two previous days, I flipped back and forth between all of the ESPN networks and listened to nothing but LeBron James news. It was like the Brett Favre watch of the NBA. After the time got closer and closer to 9 PM, I just couldn't take the speculation anymore. I couldn't handle listening to the hype and I was upset about Michael Wilbon crediting his sources as well as others for being, reliable, with the information saying that James was going to Miami. At that point, I wanted LeBron to go anywhere but Miami, hoping all the analysts were guessing, so that they could take the heat for listening to their sources. So around quarter of nine, I spent the next fifteen minutes watching a WWE Divas Tag Team match. Much more entertaining that highlights of LeBron James and far more entertaining than seeing everything but LeBron's decision.
The ESPN special finally started and I expected, like we were first told, that James would announce his decision within the first ten minutes. Although ESPN did later say that it would be within the first twenty minutes, I was hoping for ten still. The interview began very uneasily and seemed like useless small talk to keep viewers tuned in to boost ratings, that way the NBA can make sure they're getting their money's worth out of LeBron. James seemed to have great answers and it sounded to me like most of them were scripted and I was watching a Bill Belichick post game press conference. 9:12 PM, commercial.
Just Tell Us Already
ESPN brought us back with some more LeBron James highlights leading up to the 9:17 PM decision that he would be bringing his talents to South Beach with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Re-Enter Michael Wilbon. The special then turned from an interview and an announcement into an interrogation of LeBron James, which I expected there to be some issues concerning the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. For a man that had every right answer and spoke so profoundly, even with a few sarcastic shots at Wilbon and the rest of the media, LeBron became very nervous, stuttering and shook up when he was asked about the CBA. Once the CBA was brought up, LeBron couldn't formulate a complete sentence correctly, nor could he prevent himself from covering his mouth and scratching his upper lip while saying, "It was never about the money".
I assumed that there was a far bigger reasoning for the national broadcast and the CBA couldn't have been a better cherry on top for me to see. The fact that LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh all met for lunch to discuss their free agency and what their thoughts were seems like a violation to me. Not to mention possibly collusion, as defined by wikipedia:
Collusion is an agreement, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, which occurs between two or more persons to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage.
The three players all met for a lunch where they decided to discuss what they all had planned for their free agency period. There is no public record of their conversation, but based on the above definition, it sounds a bit suspicious to me. I'll allow you to form your own opinions.
A New Perspective On LeBron, The Person
The remainder of the ESPN special seemed like an all out attack of Wilbon and Barry teaming up against LeBron to make him say something he'd regret, slip up or look like a jerk. Under all the pressure, LeBron continued to give the right answers, remain confident and even slip in a few more digs at the analysts, media as a whole and even the fans deemed "fake" by James. I'm still a huge LeBron hater, but my respect for the man increased after this special. I watched less for his decision and more to see how he handled himself and he did an amazing job under the circumstances. It kills me that he's now on a team with one of the most electrifying players in the NBA that I love to watch in D-Wade, but it will make for a great Eastern Conference Finals series at the Garden.
So let's get excited for next season and until then, let's see which way the media tries to spin the Miami Heat. Are they going to be elegant and determined like the Boston Celtics or are they going to be ego ridden, money hungry divas that won't win without a bench full of role players? I go with the former that D-Wade knows what it's like to win, LeBron wants to finally feel it and Chris Bosh is good enough and lucky enough to be along for the ride.