Take all those nicknames for LeBron James and throw them out the window. Should the "Chosen One" need another superstar to win his first title? No. Does a "King" walk out on his worshipers and his hometown with virtually no explanation? Of course not. The only thing we've "Witnessed" is a young, brash athlete organizing a castration of the City of Cleveland on national TV.
I feel for the city on the Lake, I really do. But the city is not the story here. LeBron should have called Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. The whole breakup probably could not have been done in a crueler way. In many ways last night reminded me of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani divorcing his wife in a press conference before she even knew about it. It may have been the right decision to leave, but it was handled with no class.
No, yesterday's announcement has far more to do with the legacy of Mr. James. As of 9:28 last night, LeBron confirmed to the entire world that he will never reach the level of Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. Hell, he'll never be Kobe. And these so-called comparisons with Jordan. As far as I'm concerned, they're not in the same stratosphere.
Lets flash back to 1990 for a second. Michael and the Bulls had just lost to the Pistons in the playoffs for the third straight year. Did "His Airness" jump ship to Detroit because they hadn't won? Did he go team up with Bird in Boston so they could take down the big, bad Pistons? Not a chance in hell. Honestly, I think MJ would have rather retired than win that way.
It's naive to claim that LeBron's brand will be killed by this move. The sad reality is, a decent chunk of this country consists of bandwagon jumpers. For proof of this, look no further than the man in the Cleveland jersey in a Miami bar; screaming his head off in celebration after LeBron said he was coming to South Beach. We love winners, no matter how they're assembled. He'll get a few rings and make hundreds of millions worldwide. Not exactly a bad deal.
I have to wonder, though, how LeBron will feel about this decision 25 years from now. Remember, this is a guy who grew up worshiping the ground Jordan walked on. In many ways, I think playing in this shadow in Chicago terrified him. According to most NBA analysts, the Bulls would have been a better fit for his skill set. Reports came out today that Chicago was crossed off the list when management told LeBron they would not pay or placate members of his entourage. (This is another story altogether.)
Talent-wise, James is on par with the greatest to ever play this game. But mentally, he's not even close. LeBron's not a closer, he's a highlight reel. He's not killer, he's a businessman. In Miami, I don't see LeBron being Pippen to D Wade's Jordan (it is his team) as much as A-Rod to D Wade's Jeter. He's the most physically gifted guy in the league but I would rather have Derek Fisher taking a last second shot than him. Maybe LeBron doesn't want to be the next Jordan. Maybe he's content with winning a few championships with his friends in one of the coolest places in the country. If this is the case I'm happy for him. Still, as of last night, LeBron James is no longer and will never be "the King" of the NBA.