LeBron James’ latest ‘decision’ to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat and become a free agent on July 1 is a wise business decision. The NBA’s best player, and arguably its most complete player ever, now has an opportunity to maximize his position financially and competitively.
Notice finances came first, and there is a reason. Professional sports is a business, first. And, most times the men who play in the National Basketball Association are going to seek the best business avenue possible.
That said, money may not be at the forefront for James, whose earnings on and off the court will take care of his family for a lifetime. If he chooses, he can afford to pick the best competitive team that fits his skills, and that is the beauty of his decision.
He is maximizing his career choices. And that is simply good business.
Of course, James, the most criticized, ‘best player’ in the game, ever, is surely to hear more criticism.
It is amazing the amount of shots he has taken during his career despite his accomplishments. I think that is the case because he is a legitimate challenger to Michael Jordan as the best player, ever.
And, the longer the MJ era goes by, the greater MJ has gotten. While watching the Heat-Spurs Finals with friends, one buddy jumped all over James for a turnover.
” Michael Jordan never turned the ball over,” he told me.
Huh? He was barred from anymore beers after that statement. Of course, Jordan had turnovers, missed shots and even had a few bad games.
And, so what if James is never recognized as a better player than Jordan? What does that really mean, anyway? There are no awards for that mantra. It is a mythical title.
But James, wisely, has this all figured out. He has come to understand that despite taking Miami to four consecutive Finals – and w inning two – that n o matter what he does, it won’t be good enough for some.
And, nothing is more hypocritical than Heat president Pat Riley, and his challenge to Chris Bosh, Dywane Wade, and in particularly, James to remain in South Beach.
“This stuff is hard,” Riley said in an interview published in Newsday. “You got to stay together, if you got the guts. And you don’t find the first door and run out of it, if you have the opportunity. “
That is bull. Riley is the same guy who left the Los Angeles Lakers when their great run came to an end, to take a job in New York with the surging Knicks led by Patrick Ewing. After Riley couldn’t get the Knicks over the top, he left for Miami, which had an up and coming team led by Wade.
So, Riley wants his guys to show some guts, but how much guts did he show as a coach?
Riley did what was best for Riley. James is doing precisely the same thing.
And, I find the notion that guys from the 1980s and 1990s (which I do agree was a great period in the NBA) would’ve shown loyalty to their teams and stayed is utterly ridiculous.
The only reason superstars didn’t move from one team to another is they didn’t have the freedom of today’s players.
People have this vision that great players should stay with their teams for their entire careers the way Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did with the Lakers and Celtics, respectively.
Numerous great players haven’t stayed with their teams. Hall of famer Charles Barkley played with three different teams (Philly, Phoenix and Houston) during his career.
Another hall of famer, Scottie Pippen, played for three teams (Chicago, Houston and Portland).
If James decides to leave Miami for another team it will be his third team, that’s the same number of teams Riley coached, and Barkley and Pippen played for.
It is all part of the business of pro sports.
Fans may have loyalty to their respective teams, but they should understand, the athlete’s approach to this is strictly business.