So, the smoke has settled on the biggest free agent decision in the history of the NBA. Love it or hate it, Lebron James is now a member of the Miami Heat, and most people, especially those in the media, seem to hate it. There were so many elements to his decision and the way he decided to announce it. How will it affect the landscape of the NBA? Was the one hour TV special the right way to break the news? Should loyalty exist in sports? Let’s take a look at these questions and try to provide a little bit of clarity.
Loyalty in sports
Before I get into my thoughts on the TV special and the decision’s impact on the NBA, let’s take a look at loyalty, or Lebron’s lack thereof according to some. Loyalty in sports is over rated. Why should an athlete have to be loyal to a city and team? Because he was drafted by them and the fans show up and cheer? Does that mean he should be stuck there for his entire career? I don’t think so. Calling Lebron disloyal is unfair. It’s not Lebron’s fault that he was drafted by the Cavs, but it is the Cavs fault for not building a good enough team around him. The fans should blame the Cavs organization, not Lebron. Lebron did more for the Cavs than the Cavs did for Lebron, plain and simple.
When an ordinary person leaves their job for a much better opportunity, they’re called anything but disloyal. I realize that Lebron leaving the Cavs for the Heat is much more different than an ordinary person leaving Burger King for a gig at Applebee’s, but what about other people who make a living in the entertainment industry? Steve Carrell for example, recently announced that he’ll be leaving the hit TV show ‘The Office’ to spend more time with his family and to concentrate on making movies. If you think about it, this isn’t much different from Lebron’s situation. Carrell is leaving for a better opportunity, but as a result The Office will suffer tremendously without him and sooner than later the series will come end because it’s most popular character is no longer there. As a result, the millions of the fans that the show has will be disappointed that one of their favorite shows is off the air. Why aren’t people accusing Carrell of being disloyal? You could strongly argue that The Office made his career, therefore he should stick it out and be loyal to the show’s creators and to NBC. In no way did the Cavs make Lebron. It’s not like he got his big break with them, like Carrell did on The Office, so why is one strongly accused of being a disloyal backstabber while the other is wished good luck and given a pat on the back?
The bottom line is that professional athlete’s owe nothing to no one except themselves, their families and the people who helped get them where they are. There’s of course cases like a Gilbert Arenas or Michael Vick, who’s teams are taking a risk and giving them a chance, but this isn’t the case for Lebron. He simply wants to be better, and that wasn’t going to happen with the Cavs.
To read the more of my thoughts on Lebron's decision, please visit - http://whatupsports.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/defending-lebron/