“Hopefully the league can figure out one way where it can go back to the ’80s where you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall of Famers on the same team,” James said. “The league was great. It wasn’t as watered down as it is [now].
Imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the [league]. Looking at some of the teams that aren’t that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren’t that good right now and you add him to a team that could be really good. Not saying let’s take New Jersey and let’s take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I’m not stupid, it would be great for the league.”
I guess LeBron James is not content with destroying basketball in Cleveland. He now wants to destroy it in Minnesota, New Jersey, and maybe Memphis, Charlotte, New Orleans, Toronto, and Sacramento as well. I don’t know what’s happened to LeBron James in the past six months, but it appears that he’s determined to throw his career into a Britney Spears-like tailspin. Between “The Decision” and the seemingly endless barrage of stupid/inflammatory comments he’s been spewing, LeBron is effectively pulling off the sports equivalent of marrying Kevin Federline, gaining 35 pounds, and shaving his head.
It’s almost as if LeBron, realizing that he’ll never be able to regain the “hero” status he once held, decided to pull a Hollywood Hogan and go “nWo”. The Miami Heat are clearly the league’s definitive “heels” (I’ll be rooting for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers for the first time ever on Christmas), so why not play into the role, say calculated things to get the fans riled up, and turn every road game into a main event of Wrestlemania-like proportions? If that was truly his angle – to feed off the boos, achieve an “us against the world” mentality to motivate his team, to turn the NBA finals into a must-watch event that would eclipse the Jordan-era, and to turn his first NBA championship into a giant middle finger to waive in front of all his haters – if that’s what he was trying to do, I could understand it. In fact, I’d secretly like him for it. Every good story needs a villain, whether it’s Triple H, Captain Hook, or Darth Vader. For example, the Celtics/Lakers Finals was so much fun because Boston fans felt that the Lakers were pure evil and Los Angeles fans felt the same way about the Celtics.
Unfortunately, what we don’t need are scumbags. Triple H was a character. Darth Vader isn’t real. And whether you backed Kevin Garnett or Pau Gasol in the post last June, their “evilness” only existed in our minds. LeBron, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be hamming it up and creating false hype. For the past six months he’s proven time and time again that he’s an egomaniac who’s completely lost touch with reality and the public’s perception of him. You want to talk about what’s “best for the league”, LeBron? Here’s what’s best for the league…
- When a young superstar actually shows loyalty to his home state and brings them their first championship instead of ripping out their hearts on national television
- When three players don’t collude to tip the scales of competitive balance in the league
- When the biggest star since Michael Jordan decides to step up and be a man instead of playing second banana
- When said superstar stops saying ridiculous things that further ruin his reputation
That’s what’s good for the league, LeBron. You know what also would be good for the league? If you and your other two amigos lead the campaign towards non-guaranteed contracts in the next CBA. That’s what would really be good for the league – a hard cap, non-guaranteed contracts, and some competitive balance. Maybe basketball wouldn’t be dying in Memphis if you and the rest of your greedy associates didn’t sign $80 million dollar contracts and then mail it in. Maybe if New Orleans fans didn’t have to worry that their super star was going to pull a “LeBron” and high tail it out of town the first chance he gets, they’d be more passionate about the game. Maybe if Minnesota actually had a prayer at signing a decent free agent, the Target Center wouldn’t be a cavern.
The reason that the NBA isn’t as great as it was in the 80’s has nothing to do with expansion. (And by the way, the Heat are the sixth youngest franchise in the league, hypocrite!) The reason the NBA isn’t as good any more is because the players’ actions and their salary demands have completely erroded the foundation of the league and soured most of its fans. You, LeBron James, stand at the core of that erosion. If you really want the league to return to greatness, either start acting like a man or retire. Either option is fine with me.