I waited for Lebron James to enter the pros. I watched his first game in the league and I followed him faithfully for the next seven years. I’d found my own little superstar. I know, I shared him with millions, but I was still faithful. Typically, I’m a bit fickle, especially as a sports fan. I pick teams because of city, black presence, good characters, exciting cast, and a host of other factors. I went against the Steelers in this past Superbowl because of my belief their quarterback is a rapist in the making. It is forever changing. It is probably easier for me to tell you which teams I’ve historically disliked (Broncos, Trailblazers) than to commit to one. So what LeBron got from me was special. I was a witness.
When LeBron left for Miami, I was thoroughly disappointed. I still defended his choice. After all, most people have some say in where they work and he was just exercising this right. It isn’t something afforded to many players in the league; only the best of the bunch get to push for their ideal locations. Now, months into the basketball season and the Heat and struggling mightily against the best teams in the league. Who’s fault is it? Sorry to say, but the mighty triumvirate did this to themselves.
As general principle, I push back against the owners and managers in most sports leagues. I see them as exploitative and greedy. Not that I see the players as victims, but I recognize, even with the massive salaries, they are still workers. I recognize the inequity and massa-type culture from the offset. However, there are still rules. The creation of the mega-team in Miami wasn’t brokered by some Joe Dumars type managerial genius–it was a superstars’ dream deal. Of course, most teams (with the exception of Lakers and Celtics) would have bent over backwards to have James but that’s not how this went down. This was a player-constructed team.
And I hate to say it, players need to stay in their lanes. There is someone in the office who is more skilled at placing players. There is someone who can put together a team better than you can. There is someone who can make a Bulls team, who can turn Oklahoma into a playoff contender. There is someone who has a position above yours for a reason. Know your role. Play your position.