I apologize to all my readers for the hiatus. Partially self-induced and circumstantial, I have accepted the fact that I will have long periods where I can’t/won’t blog. I hope you understand and accept this.
Anyway, now that I’ve broken the silence, I figured I’d weigh in with my two predictable cents on LeBron James in Miami and the Big Three.
As a Heat fan since their first season, I’m obviously very excited. The subject of this post, however, isn’t about my feelings about the Heat in 2010 and beyond, but on the reaction to LeBron’s decision. Although I can’t relate 100% to the way devoted Cleveland fans feel, I understand their deep disappointment. I also understand their disgust, particularly in the WAY LeBron made the announcement (and, no, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers can’t excuse his infantile rant on him being a “fan”).
What’s obvious, at least to me, is the hypocrisy of many sportswriters and even general fans in criticizing LeBron for joining the Big Three in Miami. Let’s say LeBron, Wade and Bosh land in City X instead of Miami. You think City Xers would feel the same way? It’s all about “my city didn’t get LeBron”, simple as that. Understandable reaction, but making some righteous-sounding excuse instead of admitting that it’s sour grapes doesn’t make one look any better.
There’s also the anti-Miami sentiment. Jorge Costales (thanks for the call the other day, BTW) nails this particular aspect of the issue here. No need to expand or elaborate on Jorge’s commentary, except to briefly add that anti-Miamiitis doesn’t merely exist outside of South Florida. It’s alive and well in Miami itself. But that’s a topic for another day.
(UPDATE to above: the post at 2 Think Good was written by guest blogger Wichi).
As alluded to earlier, the way the whole process unfolded was distasteful in many ways and contributed heavily to the anti-LeBron reaction in Cleveland and elsewhere. Is LeBron’s cockiness/arrogance to blame? The easy and popular answer is yes, but I will contend that LeBron James is neither extremely cocky or arrogant. Cockiness and arrogance are linked to an over-inflated sense of importance, w0rth or ability. There’s no way a rare physical and athletic specimen LeBron James can exaggerate his abilities on the court. He’s damn good, and he knows it. Besides, a truly arrogant basketball player would refuse to team up with two guys of nearly the same skill level.
I would say LeBron is more narcissistic than cocky. Lacking humility? Absolutely. The whole free agency and “Decision” process, all the way down to the one-hour ESPN special, offers all the proof needed. Even here, one must consider the marketing and business side of sports in the modern age. As Dan Wiederer of the Fayetteville Observer astutely points out, it’s the nature of the beast and we’re happy to oblige and contribute to it. Guess all those Cleveland fans that burned his jersey must have had a sudden enlightenment as to King James’ opinion of himself.
I was closely watching LeBron’s body language during the “Decision 2010″ broadcast (BTW, rumor has it he’s a big supporter of the D side of the political house. I know…big deal). The hints of humility, even vulnerability, he showed as he was asked the questions leading up to and including his announcement of the winning franchise belied his ‘tude on the court and in the gym, and was more fitting of a 25-year-old young man who’s never been away from home (watch how he moves his lips silently after he stated that he was coming to Miami, almost as he was repeating it to himself in order to assure himself that it was the right decision). It’s like he knew that his decision was going to upset a lot of people back home (no doubt on that one), which would bother any mere mortal.
Finally, of all the sports columns I’ve read on the matter, no one hits the nail on the head like Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel on the man that made this happen. The Heat started the Summer of 2010 campaign early this year, no doubt hoping and anticipating for this scenario to play out. As Hyde points out, don’t think Pat Riley stumbled onto his good fortune, because he set it up beautifully like a Wade/James alley-oop. Riley is a master when it comes to the business and motivational side of the game.
Anyway, should be fun. I can’t wait for the spring of 2012 in Miami sports-land. Second year of the Heat dynasty and a new baseball stadium. Eat your heart out, New York, Chicago, LA, et.al.
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