With the news that LeBron James is open to leaving Cleveland (again), I am going to post this Nike commercial from this summer with no comment.
Fun segment about Jonny Manziel and Canadian basketball players. Â Apparently we are too laid back as a country to be basketball stars. Â Someone needs to tell Steve Nash.
Bill Simmons has a great article on Grantland about Dirk Nowitski. Along the way he gives a theory about what happened to LeBron James
Remember when Wade tore into LeBron with three-plus minutes remaining in Game 3? When he yelled at him for eight solid seconds? When there was genuine anger in his eyes? When he did it right on the court, right in front of the other players, right in front of 20,000 fans and 10 million TV viewers?
LeBron was never the same after that.
When was the last time anyone ever really yelled at LeBron James? You’d have to go back to high school, right? He just spent the past 10 years being coddled by everyone (teammates, coaches, agents, entourage members, yes-men, general managers, owners, media members, etc.). Imagine he was a little kid (which really, he might be to some degree), and imagine you were his father and didn’t believe in yelling at your kids. Now, imagine your kid screwed up in his second-grade play and, for whatever reason, you broke character, snapped, and berated him for eight seconds in front of everyone. How would he handle that? Poorly, right? He’d pretend it didn’t affect him, but the more he thought about it, it would gnaw away at him (especially once his buddies said, "I can’t believe your dad yelled at you like that").
Could that have been what happened to LeBron? Did those eight seconds shake his confidence beyond repair? Did he resent Wade for embarrassing him? Did he think to himself, "Fine, you want to act like this is your team, then YOU win this title?" I believe every basketball champion needs a pecking order of sorts; that’s just what the history of the league told us. Miami tried to cheat this concept by putting two of the league’s best three players on the same team. It worked for 8Â½ months; LeBron and Wade ran the team together and deferred to one another depending on the moment. Then the Finals rolled around, Wade kicked it up another gear, LeBron didn’t do the same, Wade called him out â€¦ and the team was NEVER the same. These are the facts.
The video is a mashup of previous commercials but itâ€™s well worth seeing. Here is the commercial that was the basis of most of it.
While Toronto has been able to get over Vince Carter and eventually Chris Bosh, Cleveland will never forget or forgive LeBron James. He abandoned his hometown, humiliated them on national television, and then profited from his decision. While it may be great for the NBA and Nike, he hurt an entire city and state with his actions. Cleveland will still be booing LeBron James at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Okay the Raptors are going to be horrible this season. I really donâ€™t want to cheer for them but according to the code of the sports fan by Bill Simmons I still have to, even after reviewing these exceptions. My comments are in red
Once you choose a team, you’re stuck with that team for the rest of your life … unless one of the following conditions applies:
- Your team moves to another city. All bets are off when that happens. In fact, if you decided to turn off that sport entirely, nobody would blame you. If only I was a Vancouver Grizzlies fan.
- You grew up in a city that didn’t field a team for a specific sport — so you picked a random team — and then either a.) your city landed a team, or b.) you moved to a city that fielded a team for that specific sport. For instance, one of my Connecticut buddies rooted for the Sixers during the Doctor J Era, then happened to be living in Orlando when the Magic came to town. Now he’s a Magic fan. That’s acceptable.
- One of your immediate family members either plays professionally or takes a relevant management/coaching/front office position with a pro team.
- You follow your favorite college star (and this has to be a once-in-a-generation favorite college star) to the pros and root for his team du jour … like if you were a UNC fan for the past 20 years, and you rooted for the Bulls (because of MJ) and then the Raptors (because of Vince). Only works if there isn’t a pro team in your area. Not a lot of University of Saskatchewan Huskies make it to the NBA
- The owner of your favorite team treated his fans so egregiously over the years that you couldn’t take it anymore — you would rather not follow them at all then support a franchise with this owner in charge. Just for the record, I reached this point with the Boston Bruins about six years ago. When it happens, you have two options: You can either renounce that team and pick someone else, or you can pretend they’re dead, like you’re a grieving widow. That’s what I do. I’m an NHL widow. I don’t even want to date another team. This would give Toronto Maple Leafs an out.
So itâ€™s going to be a bad season but I will continue to cheer for the Raptors as I have some faith in Jay Triano and Bryan Colangelo and I plan to channel a lot of my anger over this season onto Chris Bosh. For those of you who are fans of successful NBA franchises, please be kind to me as this season is going to be a long one.
Also I would like to extend my thanks to all of you who have not taunted me over the Denver Broncos debacle last weekend. These wounds are going to take some time to heal.
Update: The Ego that is Chris Bosh
Staring at the swath of Boston Celtics banners hanging from the TD Garden and at more television cameras than he claims he ever saw at his only previous NBA home, Bosh essentially said what many in Toronto suspected:
We werenâ€™t big enough for him.
â€œI mean, really itâ€™s all about being on TV at the end of the day,â€ Bosh said following the pre-game shoot around, the first look at the Miami Heat circus about to play at an arena near you all NBA season.
â€œSeriously, a guy can average (20 points and 10 rebounds) and nobody cares. If you donâ€™t see it, it doesnâ€™t really happen.â€
Toiling in the perceived anonymity of Canadaâ€™s biggest market doesnâ€™t really cut it for any NBA star worth his ego. These are the guys who lust for Sportscenter (the ESPN version) not Sportscentre (TSN style). Tuesdayâ€™s tip off to the season was broadcast nationally in both countries, although only one apparently matters to Bosh.
While I am at it, I might as well roll this article about LeBron James into this post.
When LeBron James was running roughshod over the Cleveland Cavaliers, it became common for him to respond to tough coaching and differing degrees of conflict with the sheer shutdown mode. There goes LeBron, stomping off to the locker room with a staff member in hot pursuit to talk him back into practice. Come on back, King. We need you.
James would mope back onto the floor, reluctant to be told that someone disagreed with his belief on a matter. The Cavaliersâ€™ culture of enabling, letting things go and go, exacerbated these issues. James stayed in a cocoon of perpetual adolescence.
â€œHis coping skills,â€ one perceptive ex-teammate said, â€œhad been largely underdeveloped.â€
Itâ€™s what I have always said, LeBron James is a 15 year old in a manâ€™s body.
But Colangelo is right, and whether Bosh wants to delude himself or not isn’t our fault. Whether he likes it or not isn’t our fault either. I watched those games. Raptors fans, and there are many, saw those games. And I’m sure the bulk of them appreciated his amazing run over the first 50-plus games and can also understand why a guy takes it easy after being enervated by yet another middling season amongst a group of players who can’t defend or rebound. You’re still safer wearing a Bosh jersey in Toronto than you are wearing a Vince Carter jersey.
This wasn’t a tank job. And it certainly wasn’t every game. Maybe not even every other game. This was just Chris at about 85 percent of what we saw from him earlier that season (and his contributions agree with that percentage), and about 90 percent of what we’ve seen from him for his career. This wasn’t Carter. It wasn’t even Pau Gasol in his last year with the Grizzlies. But Bosh wasn’t going as hard in March. Especially on defense.
And when you act the way you’ve acted? Soliciting free-agent suggestions over Twitter on April 30 even though you’re still technically a member of the Toronto Raptors until July 1? Following Dwyane Wade around North America like a tagalong little brother? The Hamptons nonsense? The All-Star admission? Just being in the same picture as LeBron James, who has become public enemy No. 1?
It allows for those with long memories and nothing to do on a Tuesday night in March to recall what went down. That’s what you’re left with, Chris. And you’re best served not protesting too much. Better to let this slip away.
Kind of like you did with the Raptors’ season.
Whatâ€™s best for Paulâ€™s family is best for everyoneâ€™s family in the NBA. It needs James to restrict the polluting onto others of his own warped value system. James plays for the Miami Heat, but somehow he wants control of transactions elsewhere, too. He wants the building of these so-called super teams to protect his own legacy, to make it look like he isnâ€™t the only superstar searching for the easy way to championships.
Adrian Wojnarowski dishes out how the Cleveland Cavaliers lost their childish superstar to the Miami Heat
When the NBA powerbroker and adviser to James, William Wesley â€“ famously known as Worldwide Wes â€“ heard the news, he was duly impressed. After all these months, all this careful planning, Riley had cleared the cap space to give the three stars of free agency contracts starting at about $15 million.
For months, Wesley had believed Jamesâ€™ choice would be the Chicago Bulls, but no one had counted on Rileyâ€™s relentlessness in clearing enough cap space to accommodate the three stars. Free agency wouldnâ€™t officially start for another week on July 1, but from then on, Wesley had two words about LeBron and the Heat for the closest of associates: done deal.
Worldwide Wes had understood something about James the Cavaliers refused to believe, and even Jamesâ€™ childhood buddies from Akron were still somewhat unwilling to accept: LeBron James was never re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and now it was a matter of securing him the proper complement of teammates for the greatest free-agent haul in history.
Riley was 65, a five-time NBA champion, a Hall of Famer and he wanted a dynasty to fade into the sunset of his basketball life. He had kept his word, continuing to dump contract upon contract in a high-wire act that left him without a safety net.
Riley believed he could unload those contracts. And mostly, he believed in his own power of persuasion. He is still the biggest presence, biggest voice in the room. Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, a statistics analyst, met with Chris Bosh at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 armed with an iPad. Moreyâ€™s cult followers on the web hailed it as a resounding success, but Riley never believed he was losing Bosh to the MIT gang.
Riley believed in his ability to get into the room with James and sell him on the way the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers sacrificed salary, shots and statistics for the greater good of a dynasty. Most of all, Riley believed he could benefit on the close relationship that James had with Wade, and that there wasnâ€™t a franchise with cap space that could offer such a compelling case to the two-time defending MVP.
The article is a great one and goes a long ways to show how incredibly sheltered and immature that LeBron James and his inner circle are and why his legacy of one the greatest basketball players in history will always be tarnished and redefined as a self-absorbed, manipulated, quitter. Quite the price to pay for a championship ring.
Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, writes an open letter to fans on his website about LeBron James. First of all, he seems a little angrier than I would have expected. I wonder if LeBronâ€™s camp lead him to believe that he was going to stay in Cleveland. Secondly, he used Comic Sans as his font. If I was a Cleveland fan, I may consider that as the final straw. Lastly, I would assume some very large fines are coming Dan Gilbertâ€™s way. Some of what he said seems to cross the line.
Probably more interesting than the font, is the accusation that LeBron quit during the playoffs. If he was right, the same thing could be said about many other players but most times their owners donâ€™t say it publically.
Finally, it has to suck to be a Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, or New Jersey Nets fan. Your team got rid of a lot pieces so it would have cap space to get LeBron, Bosh, or Wade and now you are all fighting over Carlos Boozer and not much else. Good luck with that since by almost all accounts, you donâ€™t seem to have a Plan B. Yes, NY got Amare but they donâ€™t have much else in terms of talent.