Month: December 2010

What should LeBron do now?

How about you play basketball?

Only LeBron James can push Wikileaks to page 2.  Well, Lebron and Lindsey Lohan, depending on who the bartender was that night.  Everyone is a buzz waiting for the game between the Miami Heat – James’ new team – and the Cleveland Cavaliers – the team James left for a whole lot of money, and no state income tax.

By now, perhaps most of us, if not all of us, or maybe just some of us, have seen the big ad campaign by Nike, starring James and focused on the tagline – “What should I do now?”  The ad is an attempt at portraying an introspective James, a boy now truly a man, openly questioning himself, and his motives.  It places him in a myriad of situations and positions, including a stint as Tubbs from Miami Vice fame, complete with a cameo by Don Johnson (as if Phillip Michael Thomas didn’t need the cash, too.)  The ad is meant to characterize the many emotions that James is feeling, and the pressure being put on him to be something he’s not.  To do the right thing, based on what others think the right thing for him would be.  James is constantly asking, “What should I do?”

How about you play basketball?

Instead of thinking about what I think you should be, how about you pay no attention to me, and just play basketball?  That’s why they pay you.  Yes, the people of Cleveland are infuriated with you for leaving.  These are sports fans who are used to abuse.  They have seen people leave…well, actually, entire teams leave – as the Browns did in their relocation to Baltimore, and their subsequent name change to the Ravens.  They saw themselves reborn with James, with a chance to be the championship city they once were in a heyday that was so long ago that heyday was actually a word that people still used.

And the people of Cleveland put up with you.  They put up with the ups and downs.  They put up with the lack of championships that your being there was supposed to bring.  They put up with your immaturity of simply walking nee running off the court during playoff losses, as opposed to congratulating those who were victorious.

But you made the decision, as a man, to leave.  As a man, you made the decision to take the money and run.  Yes, the people of Cleveland are upset.  Yes, they are disappointed.  Yes, they are furious.  Yes, they burn your jerseys…which makes no sense to me since they paid $35-$75 a piece for them.  But no one really blames you.  You want to win, and you want to surround yourself with the kinds of players who can help you win, and you want to be part of an organization that is committed to winning.  And, you wanted the money.  $110 million is a lot of cash.

You made the decisions, and now you ask us, “What should I do?”  Allow me to do my best Don Vito Corleone, slap you across the face on the day of my daughter’s wedding, and scream, “You Can Act Like A Man!”  Don’t look to the fans to justify your decisions.  Don’t hide behind a multi-billion dollar corporation (Nike) to show your sensitive side.  Don’t ask us to accept the decisions you make as a man when you keep acting like a child.

How about you play basketball?

We all have to accept responsibility for our actions.  For most of us, that action doesn’t involve $110 million.  Usually, it involves a lapse in reason, or a lapse in faith.  We accept that we haven’t been honest, or smart, or faithful, or kind.  We accept these things, and try to live a better life.  This usually comes with the acknowledgement that you can’t lead a perfect life, no matter what the fans or the main stream press would like to think or print.  Nothing you do can make all people happy  However, publicly whining about the windfall provided by your god-given abilities, your good fortune and your decisions will certainly upset those who see that whining as opportunistic and self-indulgent.  Because it is.

Yes, you practice.  Yes, you work hard.  Yes, you are entitled to the fruits of your labor: The money, the fame, the adulation.  We begrudge you nothing.

Now, how about you play basketball?

(NOTE: LeBron James scored 38 points in the Heat/Cavaliers game, and the Heat won the game 118-90.  Perhaps he listened.)