It’s official once again, LeBron James is back on the free agent market and possibly looking for the next team he turns around, giving them a great shot at winning next year’s title. Of course there is the chance he returns to Miami with a restructured contract, which has been speculated since the Carmelo Anthony to Miami rumors began circulating on the internet. Whatever LeBron’s decision, it’s time to stop calling him a “mercenary”, “backstabber”, or even a “money-chaser”.
The man is a two-time champion, who throughout the 2013-2014 season carried the Miami Heat. He was required to give a lot more than in years previous, and basically played the same role he had with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, where was D-Wade and Chris Bosh, or the entire Heat team? LeBron gave a lot more than we all gave him credit for, and after this NBA season, it really is time to move on and let the man make his own decisions.
It’s time to end the LeBron James/Michael Jordan debate; there will never be another MJ. Kobe Bryant is the closest we’ll ever get to seeing the second coming of Jordan, and even some might say he’s not even close to the six-time champion.
At the end of the day the NBA is a business and LeBron is a contractor or employee of this league. We don’t stay at our first jobs because it’s nice to be loyal, we move on to bigger and better opportunities that allow us to pursue our dreams. LeBron is pursuing another championship, and quite frankly it won’t happen in Miami. The Spurs completely figured out how to beat the NBA’s first super team, and there is no doubt LeBron was envious of what San Antonio has. A team, where one player isn’t more important than the other. LeBron has reached the point in his career where he doesn’t want to be the main go-to-guy, he wants to play for a team that can compete at a high level that plays for each other, not just one player.
This isn’t your father’s or grandfather’s NBA, and it hasn’t for a very long time. Loyalty doesn’t exist anymore, and it has nothing to do with the culture of the NBA these days, but how our economy, and the economy of the league has grown and evolved. Let’s remember, Bob Cousy’s first contract was for $9,000, and most players at that time had a second job in the summer. Loyalty existed because they weren’t going to find more money on the other side and teams built through the draft, just as businesses add on employees who can help grow the business into something more.
I have no problem with what LeBron James is doing. This league is a business and should be treated as such, and players shouldn’t make decisions based on public opinions. The man deserves the respect he has so rightfully earned, and if you can’t give him that, you’re not seeing how great of a player he really is. To hold him to a low standard because of lack of loyalty would be a mistake, and if you were in his shoes, you’d chase another ring too, even if that meant jumping from team-to-team.