(500) days of Lebron

I know I’ve blogged about Lebron’s decision twice already in the past ten hours (hey man, I’ve literally been blogging about this since 2007, so cut me some slack), but the last two entries were more reaction to other’s reaction. Now, here comes my thoughts five basketball and one personal…presented Bill Simmons style, in random numberings. Onto thought #1…

1: The whole Summer of Lebron thing turned off alot of folks. I’d say Lebron is now more hated than ever. And many people are calling him a coward for betraying his home town. Others are calling him an egomaniac for having the gall to broadcast his decision in prime time. I agree with half the sentiment. Lebron egotistical? HELL YES. But coward? I don’t think so.

If anything, I think it takes a bit of bravery and candour to do what he did. He never sugarcoated anything–he knew he was the most coveted free agent in the history of sports and he knew everyone wanted him most, so he went about the whole free agency process behaving as someone who everyone wanted. He knew everyone wanted to hear his decision, so he made sure to give himself a platform to deliver the announcement. He knew he is one of the two best (the other being Kobe) at what he does and everyone wants him, and he has never tried to be humble about it.  He never admitted to wanting anything other than what’s best for himself, and he admits openly that he wants to be a billionaire and and icon.

He is sure of who he is, and he lives his life that way. How is that a sign of cowardice? If anything, what Kobe Bryant did in 2004–flirted openly with two other teams, and then when he finally re-signed with the Lakers, gave that whole “my heart has always been with the Lakers, I’ve wanted to be a Laker for life” speech–a bigger sign of cowardice? Three years later, Kobe demanded a trade from the Lakers, said he wants out, threw a fit on national radio, and then 4 months later–when his situation got better–he said he wants to be a Laker for life. Again. How is what Kobe did worse than what Lebron did? Lebron never tried to hide his ego or mislead people. He said all along “this is a business decision and I’m going to look out for myself”. Hate him for being an egomaniac, don’t hate him for supposedly being a coward.

2: This stings extra hard for the hometown because Cleveland is a city full of sports misery. They haven’t won nothing in 40 some years and everytime they got close, they suffered heartbreaking losses (such as Michael Jordan’s legendary game winner over Craig Ehlo in 89). But is that Lebron’s fault? I mean, why should he be held more accountable than say, Denzel to New York simply because Cleveland is a mediocre city and their people lack things of value to call their own?

3: I am still a bit shocked at Lebron’s decision. He is a tough one to figure out, that’s for sure. Never in a million years did I expect him to go to the Miami Heat. I thought he was going to New York for sure, simply because he craves the bright lights, the big stage, the attention (NY Media, and NY people in general,  is notoriously shameful in hyping their own shit up), and on top of everything, New York is the mecca of basketball. Rucker Park, the whole legendary crew of NYC point guards (most of them are overrated. by the NY media of course) , and the whole birthplace of hip hop culture and home of Jay Z and all that. I was certain NY was it. By going to Miami, a team with a player that is arguably his equal, he is opening the floodgate for criticism. If he wins, people will discredit it by saying he had to run to another person’s team. People will call him a second fiddle, a sidekick, because Wade has been with Miami so much longer (and Wade’s already won them a chip). And to top it off, Miami isn’t a big city, at least not NYC style, it’s definitely not the media center of the world like NYC, so it’s not going t odo much for his global icon aspirations. I mean, it’s a cool place to vacation, but shit, I wouldn’t wanna live there.

Also, he’s dropping nearly 30 million and has become public enemy #1 in Cleveland. Lebron had to know all that going in, yet he chose Miami? Complete stunning move. NY made sense because he wouldn’t be going to someone’s team, whatever ill-feelings he got from Cleveland would be canceled out by the NY media hype. And it’s NYC, he’d be chilling with icons and celebrities everyday.

He’s a paradox. Someone who don’t have that killer instinct or obsessive desire to win like Jordan and Kobe, but he’s not a apathetic non-competitive clown like Vince Carter. He wants to be a billionaire and schmooze with random white folks like Warren Buffet and Donald Trump, but he keeps a close group of childhood friends from the small town of Akron. He kinda wants to be America’s most beloved athlete like Jordan, but he ultimately decided to leave Cleveland and open himself up to hatred and criticism. Dude’s complicated.

5: Kobe fans are, of course, out to attack Lebron on all fronts. Even if Lebron’s team beats the Lakers this year, they will say that Lebron had to run to someone else’s team to do it and he couldnt do it alone. I’d like to point out that Kobe’s team is super stacked itself, in fact, it may just be the most stacked 2 through 6 roster since the 80s Lakers. I mean, Odom and Artest are bashed by Laker fans all the time for being inconsistent, but those guys got talent and are capable of dominating games…and they’re the 4th and 5th best player on the teams. Kobe’s team is stacked, and I wouldn’t say it wasn’t fair if the Heat beat the Lakers.

6: And finally, on a personal note…I’ve typed some form of “Lebron to Brooklyn Nets 2010!” on my xanga since several times since 2007. Always had this weird fascination with NYC. I think it’s because coming from HK, I like big, metropolis-like crowded cities with everything close by. So even though I grew up in Cali, I’ve always liked NYC more. The whole NYC thing took a new level of meaning when my then-girlfriend moved there, with us agreeing that I’d possibly move down. I was all set on doing it, and we had this joke that I’d be moving for Lebron, not her. Ultimately, it didnt work out. So I guess tonight, when Lebron stuttered for a second before announcing his decision, part of me–deep down–was hoping he’d say NYC, almost as if to keep hope alive. But it wasn’t meant to be. Lebron is not going to New York. And neither am I.

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