King James has demoted himself to Prince James
Thursday, at 9:27 PM ET, NBA superstar LeBron James announced that he will be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign a free agent contract with the Miami Heat. The declaration was made at a Boys & Girls Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, as part of an ESPN special program. The Akron, Ohio native will be joining current Heat superstar guard Dwyane Wade and newly acquired big man Chris Bosh. The off and on the court ramifications of James' decision are wide ranging and full of more questions than answers.
The greatest impact will take place in James' native Northeastern Ohio and in the New York City metropolitan area. In the last 45 years, Cleveland and the surrounding region have been hard hit by turbulent economic conditions and a continual array of heartbreak when it comes to their beloved sports franchises. James will now join the ranks of former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, as one of the greatest villains in the history of this area of the country. Modell earned his villainess stripes by relocating the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996.
James has now alienated the only area in which he has ever lived. The psychological blow is that much worse because of the ostentatious manner in which James lowered the boom on the Cleveland/Akron area. Instead of quietly traveling to Miami to conduct a press conference, James chose a national television forum to humiliate and embarrass his hometown. The cruel gesture was made that much worse because he did not proclaim his decision until almost halfway through the show. This is a native son using his native area as a prop in his self-created three-ring circus. James will almost certainly have to relocate from his Bath Township, Ohio home, in the very near future.
A person is certainly allowed to live and work wherever he chooses. But, when a person is a public figure and a beloved icon, there is a level of class that should be exercised when dealing with an adoring fan-base. Look for James to spend his summers potentially in Los Angeles, as his life and career moves forward. South Florida is tremendously hot during the summer and James will no longer be welcome in his home state for any length of extended time.
Amazingly, James has also turned New York Knicks fans from disappointed to downright disgusted. The reason for this transformation is due to James' bizarre decision to hold his announcement in the heart of Knicks country. This occurrence brought the New York fans to the edge of their seat with excitement, right back to a feeling of dread, all within a 24-hour period. James created false hope for no reason what so ever.
In one fell swoop, the man who seeks global icon status has estranged his home area and the largest market in the country. James must be receiving consultation from the same people who advised Tiger Woods during his past year of blunder.
On the court, James has now declared that he is either unwilling or unable to lead a team to an NBA Championship. The self-proclaimed “King” is going to join a superstar (Dwyane Wade) who has already won a title in the city of Miami. James is the basketball equivalent of Alex Rodriguez joining the Yankees to ride Derek Jeter's coattails. All championship level teams need to possess great talent, but it is a very rare situation for an established megastar to give up his existing circumstance, for a location where it has already been done.
The Celtics big three (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen) were all titleless prior to coming together in 2007. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won their first titles together, as did Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrived in Los Angeles years before Magic Johnson was drafted by the Lakers.
The idea of the theoretical best player in the league, joining an existing winner during the primes of their respective careers is the complete opposite of being a leader or King. Because of his decision, James will almost certainly never win as many titles as Kobe Bryant or his new teammate Dwyane Wade. James has virtually no chance of being considered the best player of his generation because of this. He will still be an all-time great, but he will not be the King that he considers himself.
LeBron James may win several NBA Championships with the Miami Heat, but, because he made the decision to be a bit player instead of a King, James will forever be looked at in a far more princely manner than if he would have stayed home in Cleveland or moved to the big cities of New York or Chicago.
Check out some rarely scene video of LeBron James in an iFollo TV segment, hosted by Michael Essany.