I was at my buddy’s place for the “The Decision”, aka King LeBron’s “Fate of the Union” address.
As Jim Gray built the suspense for the millions (and possibly trillions) of spectators glued to their television sets, we came to the following conclusion:
There was no way LeBron was going to Miami. Not if he was the alpha dog competitor he’s led us to believe he is for all these years, the guy whose drive to become the next Michael Jordan, the first LeBron James, was genuine. The guy who wanted to be as dominant and prolific as MJ on the court and as global as Jay-Z off it.
That guy, we determined, would never in a million years resign himself to the fate of second fiddle. That guy would diplomatically cut ties with the team he was loyal to but that could never provide him with an adequate second fiddle. He would apologize to the city of Cleveland, thank them for the memories and announce he was going to Chicago, where as destiny would have it, something darned close to the mid-90s Bulls would be awaiting him.
If Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng aren’t Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Dennis Rodman and Steve Kerr, they are surely in a neighboring area code. Tell me that assemblage of talent wouldn’t win multiple titles with a Jordan.
With a Jordan …
It was all there, tidily laid out for the King. From a booming and cosmopolitan city that could serve as his global platform to the complementary stars in place and right down to the building he would call home while adding more banners to the six already hanging in the rafters.
Instead he copped out. Actually, that’s not entirely true. The persona he conveyed and led us all to believe was really him copped out.
There is no debating that. Not when he’s joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on a team not called “USA”. Not when he’s coming to Wade’s city, a place that has already hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy courtesy of a Herculean effort by the Man himself.
Americans hate being duped. And that’s exactly what LeBron did to us for the last seven years. He made Joe Sports Fan believe he was the Chosen One, he made Cleveland believe he was the Messiah.
When it didn’t work out, Joe Sports Fan couldn’t really blame him. The Celtics were a better team than the Cavaliers in 2008 and ’10; the Magic were a better team in ’09. That was the window for these Cavs and the complementary talent simply wasn’t sufficient. That wasn’t LeBron’s fault. It was the Cleveland front office’s fault.
But that doesn’t change the dynasty on a platter that was served up to LeBron in Chicago. He could have had everything, and all he needed to do was sign on the dotted line, look into the camera and tell the world the next chapter in the brief but storied history of the Chicago Bulls was about to be written. By LeBron James.
Instead of penning that next chapter – as well as the defining chapter of his own monolithic legacy – in Chicago, he opted to become the copy editor for the Miami Heat.
For the next six years he’s going to correct some grammar, rearrange some sentences and of course, rewrite some endings. There is no doubt a successful writer is only as good as his editor. But no matter how great the editor and how much he facilitates the success of the writer, his accolades will always be secondary.
Lots of bling is coming for LeBron. The question is will he ever come to peace with the realization that Pippen is now officially the ceiling for his legacy as a player in this league.