Over the summer, in what turned out to be quite possibly the biggest free agency class in NBA history, LeBron James announced his decision.
With a controversial one-hour special James announced he will no longer be a member of his homestate team Cleveland Cavaleirs. Instead he chose to join the Miami Heat with Chris bosh and Dwayne Wade.
Many fans were upset how James announced his decision and for what seems to be a voluntary opting out of contention for the Greatest Of All Time consideration.
Instantly James was replaced in conversations from possibly being greater than Micheal Jordan to those on par with Scottie Pippen.
While it may be true that even in a superstar driven league, no superstar has ever done it alone. People are still upset that James, Bosh and Wade were able to form their own super team.
The Spurs won championships with a strong combination of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. The Pistons had four starters in the AllStar game, the Celtics had Paul Peirce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen and most recently the Lakers have had Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
So why is it so controversial that James decided to become a member of the Miami Heat?
James had the opportunity to become arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, from a physical standpoint.
He deprived fans a chance to witness him accomplish it or at the very least attempt it.
Maybe he owed it to Cleveland, which has been hit hard by the economic recession.
I, on the other hand, commend James for his decision to join the Heat alongside Bosh and Wade.
As a sports fans, we complain how greedy players have become over the past years and the fact that many athletes elect for wealth over success. James has not done that, opting for less money on another team that presented him a better opportunity for success. He has set himself up for his greatest opportunity to achieve that.
In life we strive to achieve happiness doing something we love.
Although many people would argue that every professional athlete gets to achieve this. Not many get to do it while playing with two of their closest friends and building a team that has the opportunity to dominate their sport for years to come.
Then there are the people who say things shouldn’t come that easy and we must struggle in order to achieve what we want. In America we associate struggle with reward. The more we work the more payoff we will receive from efforts in the future.
Most people are fascinated by stories and films that depict people who struggle only to achieve commercial success. But are we really better on how much we suffer?
James may not be the unquestionable leader of his team anymore and we may never get see him average 30 points throughout the season. But what we will get to witness is a dominant player whose strengths include incredible court vision and basketball IQ play, alongside two other superstars.
The last time a player like James played alongside two other superstars was the Showtime Lakers in the 80’s, Magic Johnson was dishing the ball to James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
One of the biggest sports mantras is that no individual is greater than the team. James should be applauded for trading individual success to achieve team success. For him, happiness entails winning alongside two of his closest friends, not an ego driven goal that revolves around whether he is heralded as one of the greatest players of all time.