Conservative Viewpoints

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The James Decision

Posted by Stephen on July 8, 2010

This story has taken on a life of its own. In my lifetime I have not seen anything quite like it within the world of sports that I love. Michael Jordan won six NBA championships. Joe Montana won four Super Bowls. I never saw either one of them create such a spectacle. I’d have to go back to the stories of Babe Ruth and his huge personality combined with party antics never before seen in the press to find something quite like this.

I’m going to put my two cents in on where King James will go, where he should go, who should be very happy, and who Cleveland and Chicago should really hate.

Where James will go…

I already gave away who I don’t think he’ll choose; Cleveland and Chicago. Let me add NY to that list as well. I believe he will choose Miami. This isn’t any great revelation considering all the major networks seem to be saying the same thing, but it’s the reasons he’ll make this choice that I think are particularly worth paying attention to. While I recognize that two of his good friends are down there, and it’s a great city to live in, and it’s a worthy market for any worthy athlete, and there’s plenty of money coming his way; there’s another reason that disturbs me the most.

Pressure………

I don’t think James is built for, nor can he handle the pressure that comes with the expectations that have followed him. Things came easy to him in high school and early in his professional career. Over the past few years things have changed. Jordan, he heard, already had a championship by this time in his professional career. Kobe’s added two without Shaq and the city of Cleveland still doesn’t have that NBA trophy. Add to that the fact that the media has made a special point to show and describe James’ failures late in games; he’s not a closer so they say.

James can’t handle the pressure and Miami takes all the pressure away. No matter where else James chooses to go he will be seen as the main man; the guy that has to come through in the clutch. In Miami it’s D-Wade’s team for as long as James wishes to defer to him and he can do that quietly. In fact until Wade begins to struggle it will be his team. Once, and if, Wade struggles then James will be seen as the savior as he rushes in to pick up his friends play. Don’t forget this will be a three headed monster in Miami with the signing of Chris Bosh. James now has two others to share the last minute shot, the struggles of a long season and the media pressure that will follow. At the same time, his great play will speak for itself. There’s no need for him to have to brag about that. He’s a great talent and at times a great player that is unstoppable. He’s no Mike and never will be, but either is anyone else.

That’s the demon that James hasn’t conquered. The comparison to Jordan is a curse all to itself. Kobe faced it but got passed it and has carved his own name in the wall of great players, and has the rings to prove it. James has not and it looks like he feels he can’t do it in Cleveland. Some of that is James’s fault. He has come up small at times including the series against Boston in this year’s playoffs. Some of that is managements fault. Jordan needed Pippen, Magic needed Kareem, the Dr. needed Moses, and James has not had that other player and it looks like James has lost his faith that they will get him.

Where James Should Go…

If championships are what he wants he should move to Chicago. Come on give me a break; the Bulls are built to win now. If James were to go to Chicago the teams in the East might as well mail it in. Yet, that pressure of expectations that I believe haunts James will follow him there. Even though it wouldn’t be the case, I believe James will feel obligated to be the man at the end of the game having to do it all on his own. Again, not because it’s true, but because he’s convinced himself that it is. Added to the decision is the fact that Chicago isn’t the market Miami is; it also doesn’t have a board walk quite like South Miami. To be the King of the streets where Will Smith and Shaq hang out has got to have James’ mouth watering.

If loyalty and the inspiration of bringing something to a community that has never tasted a winner matters then Cleveland is a no-brainer. The city loves him and I’m sure he has love for that city. Perhaps that’s part of the problem. He’s been there seven years and hasn’t delivered. Pressure…it can make life uncomfortable. It can make walking down the street uncomfortable, and when your summer pick-up games are with guys like D-Wade, who have earned their stripes, the pressure mounts. Where’s your ring James? The question haunts him and he knows he’s entering the point of no return in his career. The saddest part of this story is that James will be retired before he will understand what the love Cleveland has for him means. Of course don’t kid yourself, we are in the massive middle of the entitlement generation and me first comes without having to even think about it…that said, it’s bye, bye Cleveland.

Who Should Be Happy….

Everyone in Boston! If James ends up in Miami like everyone seems to think he will, it clears the way for the Celtics. They have resigned everyone and Doc Rivers is coming back to coach another year. The difference is that the playoffs are a series of games. There is a premium placed on the bench. The Celtics have one and Miami will not have one. With the contracts going to the big three in Miami, they’re going to have to suit up the custodians to play for them for minimum wage. They will be worn down by the end and the Celtics will win by attrition. Of course, the Celtics are old and maybe they wear down and maybe injuries take over, but then again maybe Chicago will be good enough without James to make a run too.

The other thing to keep in mind is that it is Championship or Bust in Miami. Pressure…James may play small ball again when it counts most and that will be all the Celtics need to sneak in there again. Again, James is a beast but something happens to him at that defining moment. It’s the same thing that happens to Kobe…except Bryant becomes a beast even if he’s not on his game; see game seven of the 2010 championships.

Who Cleveland AND Chicago Should Really Hate…

I realize that James will take the seat to the right of Art Model in Cleveland if he goes on national television to say good bye. However, the real villain here is…Chris Bosh. Bosh is the guy that refuses to move to Cleveland. He’s the guy that doesn’t think much of your city, and doesn’t think the market is big enough, and maybe doesn’t think HE can win a championship even with James on the court with him. Want to get mad Cav fans? Take it out on Bosh when he comes to town…

It’s the same in Chicago. Even though the sting will not be nearly as bad in the windy city, it is still Bosh’s fault that one of the big three isn’t there. If Bosh goes to Cleveland or NY, Wade goes to Chicago and who knows what happens with James. Chicago really got hung out to dry. They go from near the front of the line for James to leaving the dance alone….having done that before, it is really depressing….

At the end of the day, a nation with double digit unemployment, an ongoing environmental disaster taking place, and an economy that’s a bust, what James does is pretty inconsequential. Yet, it cannot be denied that we are watching. Sports continues to be the great distracter. It was baseball after 9/11, it’s football during the gloom of winter and now it’s “The Decision” during the dog days of a tough summer.

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