Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven — was LeBron James talking about rings or number of years with the Miami Heat? Either way, his actions fell embarrassingly short of his words, and the legacy of King James is now tied to the back of a pickup, hopping and skipping along a dirt road. He will surely put himself in another position to bandage these wounds, but in the here and now, James’ image is tattered and torn, especially if he decides to truly leave the Heat and sign with another team.
There is a very obvious reason why fans and critics won’t be taking lightly to this opt-out news, and that’s because of the fact just mentioned above. LeBron and company geared up before ever having even played a single game in Miami and put on one the most ridiculously bizarre parades in all of sports and its luscious history.
This was of course preceded by the infamous “The Decision” show, which also did LeBron few favors in his journey to become likable in the post-Cleveland Cavaliers days. We can safely argue that path has been a winding, twisting one and no end or light seems to be in sight, especially not now.
Another reason why this move is going to be receiving jeers across the board is money. It’s not like it’s any secret; when a big-time athlete puts his name out on the market, we’re talking Benjamins — and lots of them. And because it’s LeBron James, we are naturally going to criminalize and criticize him even more carelessly and ruthlessly than we would any other athlete. He has done a swell job of bringing some of this upon himself throughout the years, but it’s part of the nature of the beast to crack down on a star like James.
Twenty years from now, when we’re undoubtedly comparing the superstar of the times to LeBron, this is a blotch that will remain prominent in the discussion. We’re going to remember LeBron’s shows off the court and how they translated to his shows on the court. Because remember: We’re not criminalizing James at this time if he doesn’t put on that Heat uniform and count to seven.
The legacy of LeBron, though not entirely in jeopardy, is currently being beaten and bruised, not only by his own decision, but by those of us who really just wanted this to happen so we could take some more shots at the greatest basketball player in the world.
And so it begins.