Lebron's Decision: Preventing a Legacy
It seems as if every sports fan has a take on Lebron... so here's mine.
Lebron's decision to join the Miami Heat with co-stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will mar his legacy.
This is certainly not a revelation by any means but I join those who say that this decision will haunt the 'King'.
Lebron seemingly has two goals: the tangible goal of winning championships (plural). The intangible goal of becoming the best basketball player ever. The pursuit and success of the former will aid the latter. However, unfortunately, this is a double-edged sword. His choice to take the apparent 'easy road' by joining Wade and Bosh to win championships will only hurt his perception as the best ever.
It is my opinion that Michael Jordan and Bill Russell are the best players to have graced the hardwood. They have 6 and 11 championships respectively. Jordan was aided by Scottie Pippen forming an unforgettable duo for basketball fans. Similarly, Russell was armed with Bob Cousy and John Havlicek to help him attain the record amount of titles.
However, neither Jordan nor Russell voluntarily chose their sidekicks. In addition, both superstars had memorable rivalries that elevated their hall-of-fame status and helped to define their careers.
Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls played Karl Malone's Utah Jazz in several epic NBA Finals series. Jordan hit clutch shots against the hall-of-fame pair of Karl Malone and John Stockton.
Bill Russell had legendary battles with Wilt Chamberlain throughout their careers. These were two of the best big men playing against each other consistently.
I believe that both Jordan and Russell would not want it any other way. They wanted to beat the best. They never wanted a win handed to them. They wanted to fight. Their hunger was seemingly insatiable. They played to beat the best.
Jordan would have never left to join Malone in order to win championships. The same can be said of Russell and his counterparts.
They did it on their own without seeking the assistance of others.
Lebron could have had the chance to build historical rivalries with the Miami Heat. Lebron could have joined a contender in the New York Knicks or Chicago Bulls... defined only by his presence.
Even more impressive would have been his decision to stay in Cleveland, demonstrate respectable fortitude, and win championships with what he has given. All while still fighting off the imposing figures of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, etc.
It could have been Lebron and Amare versus Wade and Bosh for years. Now, Lebron will be defined by his co-workers and the inability to build his own legacy.
This is admittedly a premature statement but given the recent events I feel confident in it's proclamation... Lebron will never surpass Jordan as the best to play the game... PERIOD.
P.S. And, no, I'm not an angry fan from Cleveland.
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