Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron Bails on Cleveland

At least he didn't choose New York, right?

LeBron James just took his career south, literally and figuratively. He is signing with Pat Riley'sMiami Heat, and no, it was not the best option on the free-agent board.
If he was going to leave Cleveland -- and leave it LeBron James did in a staggering prime-time way -- the New York Knicks always made the most sense.
He would've won a couple of championships here with Amare Stoudemire and the third major piece the Knicks would've landed with LeBron in the fold, that piece arriving in the form ofCarmelo Anthony or Tony Parker between now and next July.
Those titles would've ended a Knicks drought of biblical proportions, and they would've belonged to the King and the King alone, just like the 1994 Stanley Cup was Mark Messier's for keeps.
First of all, no one thinks of the 1994 Stanley Cup as "Mark Messier's" cup because that championship was won in New York by a team, not a man. That's just bad sports writing right there, and the hoary image of an exited Messier hoisting the cup belies the reality that the entire '94 team was much beloved in New York, not just Messier. Hockey isn't about that. In Hockey, teams win cups, not players.
Second of all, this is just the sour grapes of a New York media market mentality that would have started tearing LeBron down the moment he landed. The Knicks franchise is a basket case, even today, and there's no questioning the fact that playing for a dysfunctional franchise is no way to win a championship. How, for example, does anyone really know how Amare Stoudamire would have handled playing second banana to LeBron James?
Third, if James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade win a championship, it'll belong to the three of them. Wade has a ring; James does not. Combining them is what the NBA does when it comes to championships. You need two or three superstar players to make a serious run at the title; Miami has that now. New York has Amare Stoudamire, and that's it right now.
Fourth, Pat Riley is not the devil. Pat Riley has a bunch of championships. No one in Cleveland or New York has what Riley has. Small wonder that that's what LeBron James gravitated towards.

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