During a certain day in the first week of May, there was a euphoric buzz around a ceremony.
This ceremony marked the path from young child to face of the NBA.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am talking about Lebron James 2009 MVP trophy presentation.
The event was held at James’ alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron, Ohio. Where else could it take place besides inside the old gym that was the launch pad for his super-stardom?
Nostalgia was at an all time high as Lebron drove his Ferrari down the streets of his beloved hometown, in route to receive one of the most prestigious awards an athlete can accept. Hundreds of people in the streets full of joy watching the pride of their city chanting “M-V-P!”. All this makes for such a great and heartwarming story, being that he has been loyal to Ohio his whole life. But that brings me to my question- What will Lebron do in the summer of 2010 when his contract is up and there are an abundance of premier players available in free agency? These players include Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson, and Amare Stoudemire among many others.
Having an elite sidekick could mean NBA dominance for Lebron, Michael Jordan style. But who knows who it will be? Word has it that James has contacted Chris Bosh specifically, and the two have expressed very serious interest in playing together- which most likely had a lot to do with the time they spent together dominating the Olympics in route to a gold medal. Sure, Bosh is a unique and supreme talent, but who could argue with Wade or Stoudemire with Lebron? Lebron/Wade > Jordan/Pippen, and that’s no contest. This the reason you see so many teams are clearing cap space, its an attempt to sign two stars next summer and be set for the next 5-10 years.
But regardless of who Batman wants to be his Robin, where will he go in his pursuit of that elusive first title?
For one, Lebron has already stated he wants to be the first billionaire athlete, and he is well on his way.
On the other hand, he has “Loyalty” and “Family” tattooed on his ribcage, which are his two strongest values.
We know that there are teams that may, and probably will offer him more than Cleveland, and being that he is an unrestricted free agent means that Cleveland may not necessarily be able to match whatever offers he receives. So if money is the true motivating factor, it would make total sense to move northeast to the mecca of basketball, New York. Such a big market would generate even more COLOSSAL marketing opportunities and could make number 23 into an unstoppable freight train of a conglomerate. Just as big of a move would be to play for the Nets, who are partially owned by multi-multi-multi millionaire friend Jay-Z. Speculations say that Jay is trying to move the team to Brooklyn, which for obvious reasons to hip-hop fans, would also make sense for LBJ. A NEW team in The Big Apple could be a extremely lucrative investment. Not to mention a Brooklyn Nets starting lineup of Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Brook Lopez would look downright scary.
But then again, there is always the loyalty factor behind staying with the Cavaliers no matter what. Although he has declined to sign a contract extension in attempt to “keep options open,” I doubt he is seriously looking anywhere in particular, if anywhere at all. Another viewpoint he may have is that some players reputations get somewhat tainted by jumping city to city for the sole purpose of wining a title (see Chris Webber, J Kidd, A.I..) I can definitely see that happening in a lot of peoples eyes if LBJ were to jump ship. However, this monstrous decision could be made a little early by a third party. If the addition of Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker, Leon Powe, and most importantly Shaquille O’Neal brings Cleveland a title this year- Lebron James would almost assuredly stay laced up in the wine and gold. But that is a big if. As much as James wants to achieve his financial goals, id say the chances of him winning a title with Cleveland and going on to sign with another team are infinitesimal. San Antonio has already proved that a small market team can play with the big boys and dominate them at that.
While masses of people believe, or at least try to hype the fact that Lebron is going to dash for the money in another market, I personally would not be quixotic enough to believe that he would do it.
We have roughly 86 to 100 games, and if we are lucky closer to the latter, to enjoy the offensive and defensive show that Lebron James puts on night-in and night-out. So when the season starts, lets not worry about where he is going next season, as he himself shouldn’t. The focus for Mr. James right now should and WILL be 100% on avenging this past years disappointing finish by hoisting that Larry O’Brien trophy come June. You cant just anoint the Lakers NBA champs again just from the addition of Artest. Lebron is always right there, and he has a much better supporting cast now. Not to mention Lebron himself is getting better. Yes, i said it, better.
Its all broken down into these three parts. Loyalty v. Money v. Winning…
So, is Lebron James headed to New York? Brooklyn? L.A. …Memphis?
Until I Witness it, Im not sipping on that Stephen A. Kool-Aid just yet.