The suspense is over. NBA star LeBron James has chosen to play for the Miami Heat. ESPN helped turn James decision into a spectacle by hosting a one hour prime time special, "The Decision", where analysts debated which team would be the best fit for one of the games greats. Never before has the sporting world witnessed such an event. Instead of talking directly to the teams involved (Cleveland, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Clippers and Miami) James chose to go prime time angering many along the way.
Headlines from the losing cities are tenaciously attacked LeBron. Sports editorials ripping him a new one. Some catchy headlines include (links included):
NY Post front page headline "LeBum" and front sports page shouted "Son of a Beach!" (NY Post)
NY Daily News front page "Who Cares!" and back sports page headline also read "Son of a Beach!" (NY Daily News)
Cleveland.com (online edition) has headline after headline tearing apart James decision.
You get the idea. The manner in how this all unfolded has ruffled many players, coaches, teams and fans. The harshest words have come directly from James former employers in Cleveland which even questioned LeBron's lackadasical playoff performances when the Cavs were eliminated by Boston. Team owner Dan Gilbert went the extra mile publishing an open letter to Cavaliers fans. I don't ever remember a team owner ripping apart a former player in this manner (read here). Gilbert called James decision a "cowardly betrayal" and went on to claim "In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight: "I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former 'King' wins one."
The only positive news came from South Florida newspapers who are joyfully predicting Wade, Bosh & James will deliver many titles. Personally, I feel James made the right choice in playing in Miami for many reasons. Tax concerns (no local & state taxes) allows James to keep much of his soon to be large contract and endorsements. New York & Federal taxes would have consumed 2/3's of money earned. South Florida is also a great diverse environment to live. Miami Heat are dedicated to winning and have a terrific organization. James also gets to play with close friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
On the flip side, did LeBron James really need to have a one hour ESPN special to announce his long anticipated decision? No! This was not the proper forum to flip off all those who worked so hard attempting to better their teams. A personal phone call saying "thank you for honoring me"... at least something somewhat responsible and respectful. To each their own choices but can anyone blame those left in the dust for having a bad feeling? James will hear it loud and clear from fans in losing bid cities once the regular season begins. He's now public enemy #1 in Chicago, New York, Cleveland, New Jersey and L.A.