Parody in the NBA died tonight. It didn’t get sick. It didn’t go on life support. It died. Lebron James had a chance to make the league great again. He had a chance to push the league to new heights, new levels, and popularity unseen since Michael Jordan left the Bulls over a decade ago. But instead of taking that responsibility and making it count, Lebron did something else. He did something that he never felt confident doing in Cleveland. He passed.
He didn’t have to go to the Knicks. He could have gone back to the Cavs. He could have challenged Kobe in Los Angeles. Or maybe start a new era in New Jersey with a bang. He could have done anything. Anything but this. Anything but go to Miami. In a sea of “right” decisions, Lebron picked the only wrong one.
Don’t kid yourself. The Heat will win. They will win a lot. They will win multiple championships. Maybe they won’t win five, but two or three would have to be more then a reasonable estimation. That may even be conservative.
The bench that is currently non-existent will fill itself out. More then a few players will be willing to take major pay cuts to be a part of this. Maybe it takes a year, but it will happen. The team will be a juggernaut. There will be no stopping them.
And that’s the problem. Teams will get close. Very close. But I can’t see this team being knocked off too many times. The options are staggering. How many teams would be able to stop Lebron, Wade, and Bosh in the final minute of a big game? Not many. I don’t care how defensively disciplined they are.
The intrigue of sports lies in the uncertainty of it. Is the uncertainty of “who’s going to try and knock off this team…and ultimately fail” enough to keep the league afloat? I don’t think so. People will get bored. When people get bored, people stop caring and, more importantly, watching.
Also, consider this- If the NBA was going to have a super team, Miami would be one of the worst places to put it. It’s not a great sports town. Check that, it’s an awful sports town. This is the same place that had one of the greatest players in NFL history, Dan Marino, for over 15 years and struggled to sell out games. They may be dancing in South Beach for the next few days, but check back in two years (after a potential lock out, no less) to see if the fire, heat (pardon the pun) is still burning. I bet it’s not. This team will get all the national hype it can, but flounder in it’s home state. That’s a big problem.
But its clear Lebron doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about the league’s well – being. He doesn’t care about the historical significance of his decision, how it could set the league back instead of moving it forward. He cares about championships. When he spoke with Stuart Scott on ESPN shortly after the announcement, he spoke of the games highest team achievement, saying “The only reason we play this game is to win championships.”
That’s true, also. Maybe we’re giving Lebron too much responsibility, but that’s what he commanded when he decided to carry on like a contestant on “The Dating Game.” If he didn’t want the responsibility of taking the league to new heights, he never should have pretended.
This isn’t the 1970’s. The NBA didn’t need saving. It may have needed enhancing, tweaking, primping, but certainly not saving. But what it didn’t need was what happened tonight.
It didn’t need killing.
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1