This Week in Sports: LeBron's Decision was bad for sports, but LeBron playing for Miami is good for sports.

Bill Simmons wrote a column during the 2006 NBA Finals, in which he describes two possible futures for the NBA. The Mavericks could win and convince NBA teams and younger players that the collective team concept was the best way to play. Or Dwyane Wade and the Heat could win and reinforce the idea that a perimeter scorer playing a clear out one-on-one game was the best way to win. Unfortunately Wade won and guys like Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, Gilbert Arenas and now Joe Johnson get max contracts.

Fans continually call out to their sports heroes to take less money to help the team sign other players good enough to help them win a championship and that is exactly what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did by agreeing to sign with the Miami Heat for less than the maximum contract available. Parents tell their kids to play as a team. We despise Kobe Bryant for taking thirty (30) shots to get his points when most observers would agree that the Lakers best chance to win is for him to create open looks for himself and the rest of his team. We prefer to see LeBron win getting a 20-10-10 instead of Monta Ellis scoring 42 in a loss.

The Miami Heat should be a team in every sense of the word. They should be able to win unselfishly and make people proud to be fans of the NBA.


  1. But having a one hour TV special was a horrible idea and I can only hope that other athletes see how poorly the public reacted to his Decision that they will simply follow MJ's model of faxing in a letter saying, "I'm back."

  2. Or Durant's tweet announcing his contract extension with the Thunder?

    I agree with almost everything about this article:

    - That video of Bosh will never get old. You could put it on a 5 hour loop, and still not convince me that he's the same Bosh we see here.

    - "The Decision" was dumb and arrogant.

    - Lebron in Miami should be awesome.

    However, you can't hate against The Mississippi Bullet (well, with Steph around, you kind of can), and we hate Kobe because he's a rapist.

  3. Aaron I'm very glad you did this instead of me. I would've come at it from the angle of someone with a very specific opinion of basketball at its best (Jordan), and the sadness of seeing the greatest physical specimen I can remember (LeBron) not try to chase Jordan's legacy.

    Also I love that video of Bosh and think that should be a requirement for any player who wants to be in the All-Star game - make your own "vote for me" video.

  4. While Jordan and the Bulls were basketball at its best, I think he made the NBA worse in the long term. Every team is looking for their Jordan and ends up overpaying high volume, often inefficient, perimeter scorers. You don't hear anyone talking about the next Kareem Abdul-Jabaar or Tim Duncan.

  5. I have two thoughts on this. (This is gonna be long, sorry.)

    1) I will agree that Jordan paved the way for wing players to be considered dominant in a way that only post players had been considered before. There were of course great non-centers like Oscar, Doctor J, Magic, and Bird before Jordan. After Jordan guys like Kobe and Wade have dominated in ways that only Kareem, Duncan, Hakeem, and Shaq would have been expected to previously. The NBA encouraged this exciting style of play from athletic wings with hand check foul rules as well. That said, a great center is still super rare and teams definitely want the next Dwight - this was the impetus for the Blazers erroneously choosing Oden over Durant if you recall. So that "next Duncan" mindset does exist.

    2) I completely disagree that Jordan made the NBA worse in any way. While teams have made mistakes gambling on high-volume wing scorers since Jordan, his era exploded the popularity of the sport. But disregard the NBA - what do you love about sports? What I've discovered about myself while ruminating on this LeBron Decision situation is that what I love most in sports is greatness... it's the same thing I loved about Jordan, Tiger, Federer, and Lance in my lifetime. You watch them, and you think "holy crap they might actually do this AGAIN" and then they go and do it again. They simply are better than anyone else. They are awe inspiring.

    So that's what I love about sports. And while what LeBron is doing with the Heat will be great - and it's the most fascinating sports plot since Jordan's baseball hiatus - it will not be Jordan/Tiger/Federer/Lance greatness. It will be something else. When LeBron performed the single-handed virtuoso evisceration of the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Spurs several years ago, he showed a flash of awe inspiring greatness. But in subsequent years he was not able to break through the Jordan level and challenge that legacy. And that makes me sad.

  6. The below email from Simmons' all-LeBron mailbag is essentially how I feel about the whole situation. I can understand if other people don't feel the same way about Jordan's legacy and how it's the pinnacle of sports, but I do.

    City: Akron, Ohio
    Name: Joel
    My perspective is simple: there is no way Michael Jordan ever makes this choice. None. It's sad for Cleveland, that is for sure. But, honestly, I think it's sadder for basketball because we're missing the chance to see a basketball specimen come into his own and reach that rarified level of transcendent player. Maybe the Heat play beautiful basketball, but I think no matter what this will be remembered for three things: LeBron's ego, the realization that he is scared to be great, and that we all know, no matter what, Michael Jordan never would have chosen this path. LeBron will never touch Jordan's shadow at this point, let alone surpass him. And I think that lack of chase is a sad day for basketball.