Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Open Letter to LeBron James

Dear LeBron,

I just wanted to write and say thank-you for the last two weeks.  No, seriously.  Summer is typically a sports wasteland for me.  I'm not a baseball guy, not a tennis guy, and definitely not a golf guy.  The World Cup is OK, and football is still a ways off.  So it was nice to have a constant stream of NBA-related news on ESPN.  And from what I can tell, that stream isn't about to dry up anytime soon.

What's even better is that the Jazz got in on the big show, too.  I never figured you'd consider making Salt Lake City ground zero for your magic kingdom, but I was excited that Kevin O'Connor got Big Al Jefferson and Raja "Clothesline" Bell into Jazz uniforms.  For a while there I thought the only Utah moves were going to be all of our unrestricted guys signing with the Bulls.

Speaking of which, if you had to leave Cleveland, why didn't you pick Chicago?  I think we can all understand why New York or New Jersey were dubious options (not to mention the career-ending decapitation/ACL tear that awaited you in Clipper-Land), but between Miami and Chicago, it seems to me that The Windy City held a lot more long-term potential.  Really, why wouldn't you want to play with this guy?

I get it if you just want to be able to play with your best friends.  It's your career; why wouldn't you want to spend it in the most enjoyable environment?  But that's where things get confusing.  Do you want to win titles and play with your friends, or do you want to be the Greatest Player of Post-Jordan Times?  Because going to Miami suggests the former, and leaving through a live TV special suggests the latter.

That's why the last two weeks has been so interesting for me.  It would be easy to just brush you off as another ego-maniac pro athlete, but there are too many angles to your story to dismiss it.  The Hometown Betrayal angle.  The Superfriends angle.  The Greatest Teammate vs. Greatest Player angle.  In the blink of an eye you went from beloved hero to Public Enemy #1. You turned the Heat into the East Coast Lakers.  You made Kobe likable.  At least MJ waited until his Hall of Fame speech to poop all over his legacy.  And now he's turned on you, too.

But don't get me wrong; aside from the way you treated my mom's hometown, I'd have to say that overall I'm pretty happy with what you brought to the table this summer.  And I can honestly say that I can't wait for next season.

Give my best to the boys.