“My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys.”
As LeBron James took the time to name each individual player that he vowed to make better, the more sincere and convincing his Sports Illustrated seemed. However what has happened is the total opposite. The mindset of James and other players changed.
In the case of Mike Miller and Kevin Love, their attitudes on being Cleveland Cavaliers did a complete 180. But in the case of the Chosen One, his attitude towards working with the youth on his hometown team may have always been placed in your face as a harsh reality, wrapped in a pretty bow.
I mean any non-sports fan could see that there was no coincidence involved when James failed to mention Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett as part of his mentoring process, and then they mysteriously popped up in a pending trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Yet serious enthusiasts seemed to sweep the obvious under the rug — similar to the way we did with the early signs that the James family laid out about leaving Miami.
How could the King logically leave out the names of the last two No. 1 picks? Because locking in veterans was always in his plans. Which would explain the quick signing of the Miami Heat’s James Jones, the predetermined inking of Mike Miller and constant courting of the faux retirement-contemplating Ray Allen. Add that to Shawn Marion leaning towards moving to Ohio — following a reported call from James — and you see that seasoned players were always the goal.
It’s not hard to tell that the fear of James’ one-year opt out allows him to call the shots in Cleveland, the way he couldn’t in South Beach. So instead of an entire roster of youth to cultivate, LeBron worked his way into a pretty exciting balance of energy and experience gunning for it all.
The type of team that he is building clearly crushes the theory that he no longer wanted to play under the pressure of not only getting to the championship game, but also winning it. Regardless of how you feel about his moves or his double-talk, the one thing that remains the same for James is that “what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”
Rings are the sole purpose of playing for most legends so why knock him for not trying to be good, but be great?