LeBron’s next decision defines him


VIDEO: Pat Riley talks about LeBron’s free-agency

Pat Riley is right.

Now it’s about looking back and looking ahead.

Let LeBron James go away on vacation, confer with his wife and the rest of his family and friends. Then remember just how far he’s come.

Not just from the prodigy of Akron to king of the basketball world in Miami.

But from July 2010 to now. From those first days after the ill-fated, ill-thought “Decision,” to  his current place where the respect has come, albeit grudgingly.

As long as he laces up his sneakers and snaps on that headband, there will always be that part of the public that will never give him his due.

They are the segment of fandom that will never get over a Sports Illustrated cover that made him “The Chosen One.” Hyped up and pre-packaged is always a difficult bar to clearn.

They are the ones who’ll always claim they lost respect for him when he bailed out on the Cavaliers and took his talents to South Beach to chase rings, even though Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kevin Garnett and others had followed similar paths.

They are the ones who resented the fact that the Heat roster was filled with All-Star talent, despite the fact that it was different than those Lakers and Celtics teams that ushered in the so-called Golden Age of the 1980s in the NBA.

Those are the ones James will never win over, no matter how many he adds to the four MVP awards already in his collection and the two championships he won in Miami.

Even in defeat to the Spurs, there was no disputing who was the best individual player on the court in the 2014 Finals. The same as 2013, 2012, 2011.

Riley is right when he says too many are too quick to dismiss the Heat achievement of getting to The Finals four years in a row. We always overreact to the last thing we saw and so it is easy to say the Miami glory days are through.

Dwyane Wade is definitely far from his peak and some of those sharp edges have been worn from Chris Bosh’s game.

But of the current rosters in the Eastern Conference, which team would you put right now ahead of the Heat for next season? The fractured Pacers? The leaning-on-Derrick-Rose’s-bad-wheels Bulls? The Wizards who just won a playoff series for the first time in nearly a decade?

Sure, he could grab a horse and a cowboy hat and jump off to play with Dwight Howard and James Harden in Houston and probably have the most talent-laden, ready-made situation to hoist another championship trophy.

But as he creeps up on his 30th birthday in December, it’s time for James to be considering his legacy in the game and whether another successful chase-the-ring move would actually enhance it.

This really isn’t a question about loyalty, because we know it’s hardly a two-way street when it comes to teams themselves. Face it, the Spurs wouldn’t have hung onto Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all seven years between NBA titles if they weren’t capable of delivering the goods at an All-Star level.

James is carving out his place in history, still young enough to chase those five championships of Duncan and Kobe Bryant, even the six by Michael Jordan. However, in each case, the jewelry won is a matched set, all coming with the same franchise.

Choosing to return to the Cavaliers now won’t make everyone open their arms and forget that he abandoned Cleveland for four of the prime seasons of his career. Bolting for another city any place else in the NBA will only make him look desperate and cheapen the resume that he’s worked hard to rebuild during his time with the Heat.

Over the past four years, James has won over even some of the diehard critics and many of those who were on the fence. He’s been a dominant all-around force, the backbone of the Heat, more circumspect in the public eye, a leader.

By getting to four straight Finals alone, Miami has joined only the Celtics and Lakers in the record books. Magic Johnson’s Lakers only went back-to-back once. Larry Bird’s Celtics never did. Those five Spurs championships that are being celebrated now came over 17 years. The Heat have barely put a dent in that calendar.

To be sure, there is work to be done to pick up the pieces and make them fit together again in Miami. Nobody knows that better than Riley. And nobody should know that it is foolish to underestimate Riley as an architect, a maneuverer more than James.

Riley is right. It is a simple choice of staying the course or hitting the door.

James’ choices with the ball in his hands are almost always above reproach. Now is the time to see how much he’s learned off the court in the last four years about building a proper legacy. This decision defines him for good.

180 Comments

  1. SHUAN says:

    LEBRON NEED TO GO TO DIFFRENT TEAM N I DONT HATE HIM HE CAN START A PRIME CAREER!!!!!! NEW BEGING HE NOT THE GREATEST HE THE BEST BUT NOT THE GREATEST JUS A HUMAN NOT A GOD ANYONE CAN BEAT HIM LIKE KOBE BEAT HIM BACK TO BACK KOBE NOT THE GREATEST JUS A HUMAN NOT SUPER HUMAN WHO CARES WAT TEAM HE GOES……… NEW ERA …..NEW YEAR NEW TIME ITS HE CHOICE IK YOU GUYS LIKE HIM OR HATE HIM HE JUS A PERSON U NOT LIVING IN HIS SHOES HIS NOT GREATEST IT GOT MORE PEOPLE IN THE NBA CAN BEAT HIM OR GO AGNIST HIM NBA IS THE PLACE WERE EVERYONE THE GREATEST WEN U MAKE IT THERE I PROMISE U THAT ROAD TO GLORY NEVER ENDS FOR ALL PLAYERS N PEO[LE……….YOLO IF U BELIEVE IN FAITH N EVERYONE ELSE…….RESPECT FOR ALL PLAYERS IN THE NBA

  2. billy joe says:

    i love the way everyone else is determined to let LeBron know what a proper legacy should be. A legacy is personal…it’s his and his alone. Maybe it doesn’t turn out like MJ’s or whoever’s…but maybe, juuust maybe…LBJ is changing the game in his own way. When you’re the best, you get to do that.

  3. ko0kiE says:

    LeBron and Wade are staying in Miami, but not sure the rest of the roster will be the same

  4. Big Al says:

    The Decision Part 2: “I will keep my talents at South Beach and stay with the Miami Heat.”

    Wade may soon be done, but he deserves to retire as a Heat. He’s done this team proud pre-LeBron. Trade Bosh and Chalmers for Lin and Asik. Give Allen one more year and deepen the rest of the bench. Use Beasley more as well, perhaps start him at the four when that trade goes ahead. Spo needs to up his coaching this time, or pack up by 2016.

  5. lisa says:

    I’m with you Jacob come home Lebron we missed you you got your rings like you wanted now come home to us I’m a ride or die fan no matter where you are at mad love.

  6. ll says:

    I’m with you Jacob he got his rings like he wanted now it’s time to come home Lebron please I miss you and can’t wait to see you again.

  7. ll says:

    Lebron come back home please

  8. Scisca says:

    I think he’ll stay and suffer, cause the Heat won’t win anything anymore. Wade is just dead weight, but they won’t let him go, cause he’s D-Wade! Bosh is also average, but they won’t let him go, to make people think the big 3 is still there. This will lead to LBJ carrying the whole weight of the team and at some point will cause an injury. Nobody is immune to these, he should think about it. He can’t afford another season like this one, his body won’t take it. If I was him, I’d go to Washington. There are 2 big guys there to take the physical load off of him and the best point guard in the East totake over when he rests. Beal is an awesome SG, that would be a dynasty for ages. Heat? They are already done. The crew around LBJ there is too old.

  9. michael says:

    It’s not rocket science. The Spurs are the kings of the pick and roll offense. The pick and roll offense works well against teams that have no real center. If Miami wants to remain in contention, they better get a real center and design plays to get Chris Bosch more involved in the offense. Miami’s weakness has always been their inside game when it comes to defending the paint wich both Dallas and the Spurs have proven. Let history prove my point. It took the Spurs 17 years to get 5 championships because when they faced the likes of a Shaquile O’neal or an Hakeem Olajuwon, the Spurs where nowhere to be found.

  10. luis says:

    Wade se rebaja el salario y juega banco ,Udonis Haslem pasa a retiro con su amigo Battier,lo que tenian era una botella y Ryley lo sabia.Spoltra pasa a agente libre ,ese gano 2 campeonatos porque tubo un trabuco que ganaban solo; este año no supo jugar ajedrez ni nunca lo a jugado sustituirlo por Alonzo Morning ese si sabe jugar ajedrez y hombre de prestigio a Bosch lo ponen ajugar como lo hizo su primer año FC yle ponen las torres gemelas o un centro que lo ayuden ,Spoltra lo quiso convertir en centro y lo ha desestabilizado.de lo contrario el ultimo que apague la luz

  11. Troublemaker says:

    First, Pat Riley is desperate. If LeBron did not come to Miami does anyone think they would have even made the playoffs or if making them get out of the 1st round? Wade is finished unless he comes back with 2 bionic knees, Bosh is waaay too soft to have an impact on the offensive or defensive boards which they sorely need, Spoelstra still cannot understand how to use a bench and looks like a deer in headlights and sounds like a broken record every time the Heat are down and in the huddles, they have NO bench help. LeBron can’t play every minute of every game over the season. And finally, what the hell has Riley done other than bring the Big 1 in? They had no bench… He did absolutely nothing to bolster that roster for 3yrs…. Why? Because he rested on the championships and now that their opt out clauses are here he’s going to challenge someone? How about someone challenge his ability to bring in players to keep the reign going instead of talking like he’s really going to bring in some help… He should’ve done that already… They are never active in free agency… NEVER!! He’s failed and now wants to point the finger or put the onus on someone else so he doesn’t look like he’s over the hill and doesn’t know what he’s doing? The Spurs brought in players, the clippers, the Pacers, OKC, Houston…. Making the finals and not winning is unacceptable I’m sure in his eyes but yet he makes it a point to talk about Guts!! It takes guts to re-tool every year and be a better team year after year. Not be the same or slightly less and then when you don’t win… People don’t realize that his “Re-tooling” comment is not going to work now. Lebron will be a year older, Wade looks like he’s 50 and Bosh is not getting any more aggressive or stronger in his game. Outside of Lebron and a average Bosh, they have nothing… Sounds like a Re-build to me… I would get the hell out of there after the 2yrs… He will leave Mia with 2 championships just like he has now but in the “fans” eyes who he cares about and other people’s opinion he will have stayed 6yrs and be frustrated just like when he was in Cleveland… He should pack his stuff NOW!!!

  12. Blog-So-Hard-2014 says:

    The Decision II: James stays in Miami

  13. Linda Ann says:

    Labron, I admit the Mia heat is not my favorite team although I am a Florida native. I give you props on becoming one of the greatest basketball players. I love to seey brothers make it to the top. Continue accomplish your goals and aspirations and never let anyone break your spirit.

  14. A Suns Fan says:

    In all honesty, I do have a respect for LeBron’s game. He’s a great defender who can play almost any position and influence the tide of a game just by being on the court. In this year’s Finals, though, the theory that the West was grossly more powerful than the East was proven. LeBron had to play against the Al Jefferson-less Bobcats, the aging Nets, and the broken Pacers. Fun fact here for you guys: my Suns, the 9 seed in the West had a better record than two of those three teams, and beat the Pacers both times they played by quite considerable margins each time. The Spurs, on the other hand, had to go through Dallas, Portland, and OKC in order to get to the finals. The combined records of those teams? 162-84. The combined record of the teams the Heat played? 143-103. That’s a difference of 19 wins. Take into the account that the Pacers were on a huge downturn at the end of the year, and you see why the Heat were able to make it to the Finals with such ease.

  15. Haters says:

    Just to be clear, Magic asked to be traded because he didnt like his head coach. Jerry Buss dicided not to trade him and instead to fire Westhead and hire Pat Riley. Also Lebron didnt call the heat, the heat recruited him.

  16. Jacob says:

    He’s coming back to Cleveland. HOME IS HOME. He did what he wanted to do, win 2 championships. Now he is going to Finnish his legacy back where he started. IF ANYTHING, he would sign a one year deal with the heat again and make his decision next year. Its between the heat and cavs only. He’s not going to jump and jump to differant teams, that would hurt his reputation for his legacy. Overal, I think he’s coming back, or signing just won more year there.

    • LMAO says:

      Clearly delusional. Yall are the worst fans! Why would he ever go back after what yall did? He will stay with the Heat for the long term because
      1. They will make some necessary changes to keep him
      and
      2. He wants to be compared to the great and therefore does not want to tarnish his legacy

      • Richard says:

        Hell no, he hasn’t done or gotten what hes wanted. LeBron James Is only a 2x Champion And he wants to keep winning championships. no way he’ll go back to Cleveland. and why would he? Yall call him a trader and in reality yall are the traders. I was never a cavs fan till LeBron got drafted. and when he left I was happy for him I didn’t burn my jersey I dumped it in the trash and bought a Miami heat jersey.because a great player like himself deserves a great team. I don’t care what yall say bout Jordan or kobe theyd do the same if they were in LeBrons shoes. So scratch Cleveland off the list. If I was LeBron id stay with Miami a couple more years to try my luck. maybe win one or 2 more rings then leave to a better team so his legacy wont be affected.

  17. David says:

    The East is getting better, come on.
    The Pistons, all these teams know the Heat are not the best.
    They got so bad in finals, Lenard took
    Lebron down.
    It will always change, pay a player $100
    Million.

  18. debra says:

    I agree with Blinebury, all the things he says are true. LeBron should stay with Miami and build his legacy there, he has a good start and look at Duncan he didn’t break and run he stuck it out, mind you it took some sticking around. LeBron be the man that I think you are and do the right thing. Hang in there !!!!!

  19. David says:

    Magic won a high school championship
    2nd year NCAA and NBA championship
    Went to finals 10-11 yrs. Okay there ya
    go!

  20. MR210 says:

    Lebron will stay in Miami.

    He learned from all of the “heat” that he took after leaving Cleveland and The Decision.

    Next year, they don’t make it to the Finals as it will be a quick re-building/re-tooling year.

  21. debbie says:

    I hate Lebron:
    HERE IS WHAT YOU HATERS THINK

    Because he is the best player on the planet
    Because he is more athletic then you ever will be
    Because he is in great shape and most of you have a beer belly or worse
    Because has a nice family and doesn’t cheat on his wife
    Because he can play every position0
    Because he shows respect to other coaches/players
    Because he has more money than you will ever have
    Because he has made a life for himself and most of you are losers
    Because he is and always will be better than Jordan

    YOU ALL KNOW ITS TRUE AND WON’T ADMIT IT

  22. debbie says:

    first of all its nobody’s business where he goes – if you like him you like him

    appreciate his talent –

    who cares if he left Cleveland – its a scummy city

    MYOB

  23. Duke says:

    Got a couple issues with this article…first of all, who cares that the all star laden Heat made it to the Finals fours years in a row. As we all know, the eastern conference is extremely weak and they lost two of those four and got the 2013 by the skin of their teeth. Are they here to celebrate just making it? Isn’t the goal to win it all? Second issue I have is what makes a player the “best” individual player on the court? This is a sport where everything counts not just scoring. Defense, rebounding, disrupting plays, steals, blocks, etc etc. the finals MVP was truly the best player on the court. Lastly, the Spurs championship run has spanned over 15 years not 17.

  24. lakers says:

    hes staying in Miami…the EAST IS WEAK..he knows he can make it to the Eastern conference finals every year in the dleague we call the eastern conference…LBJ IS smart ..if he goes out west chances of him going to the finals are very slim..depending on what team..

    • Joe Lewis says:

      that’s not true, in the west Lebron would make a nice fit with the Clippers and put them right where they need to be

    • wbhallows says:

      I will only become a LeBron fan IF he comes to play with Dwight Howard and James Harden (and Chandler Parsons) in Houston. “The Decision” hype from four years ago and bragging about going to win “not 5, not 6, but 7 and 8 championships” just put a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Yes, he has grown up a little bit since then and this year’s “butt kicking” by a superior TEAM will also help that maturity process. So if he comes to Houston (and joins our team) I will gladly cheer him on to win more championships. Otherwise, he will be another arrogant player that I am just waiting to see him fail and fall short…again…and I will continue to cheer his opponents. If he stays in the “Weaker” Eastern Conference he will have it easier to get to the Finals, but will lose to better “TEAMS” from the Western Conference. By the way, the Rockets beat the Spurs 4 games to ZERO this season. Too bad the officials made sure the Rockets did not reach the 2nd round to play the Spurs this year. It would have been a GREAT series!! The Spurs won the NBA championship, but they could not beat the Rockets this past season!!

      • Julesjulius says:

        Yeah yeah the thunder also beat the spurs 4-0 in the season, but guess what the result was in the playoffs?

  25. SpursFan says:

    Lebron has already defined himself as “the best basketball player on the planet.” Now, if he wants to win championships, he should consider joining the Spurs. You know I’m right. :)

    • Barbara says:

      He’s not now nor will he ever be the greatest basketball player on the planet. Great players lead and he doesn’t know how to. Look at him on the brench during the fourth quarters of the finals. Is encouraging his team no his pouting like a baby. To be a true great you need to have great skills and motivate others.
      So stop crying for him when he finally grows up maybe he will be able to achieve greatness.

    • Joe Lewis says:

      Look Lebron has a lot of work to do, he needs to catch Jordon, Duncan, Shack, Kobe, Bird and magic. He only has 2 rings, and that’s what it has come too, how many championships has the so called best player lead his team to win.

  26. Michael J says:

    Michael Jordan started a stupid “more rings make better player” BS. It is not wise either to compare LeBron to Kobe, Michael Jordan. All the players are in different team, league environment. Michael Jordan’s rings thanks to so many teammates he played with and Phil Jackson coaching. Has Kobe won all his rings by himself???LOL

    • Wade says:

      did any nba legend beg to play with their competitor because they’re afraid of competition or maybe a little challenge? that’s what separates Lebron from all nba legends. Not his skills or talent, his confidence and self-esteem is no where near a legend’s.

      • timmied says:

        LeBron is good but it’s all hype… nba posterboy… love how he cries after every drive. ..I’d take kd in a 1 on one…and that’s just current stars… lebron won’t get 5 rings!

  27. MichaelA says:

    Cordell Why would Michael leave after winning multiple Titles .Michael played with Bulls for 7 years before winning 1st title . Who knows what he would have done if he hadn’t won in ’91. after 7 years. LeBron took less money and left Cleveland after 7 years…what’s the problem with that.?

    Re: someone getting hurt ; you can say that all you want but they DID go to 4 straight Finals.

    BTW If Magic and Byron Scott didn’t get hurt maybe Pistons wouldn’t have won their 1st title………….If Patrick wasn’t hurt in’99 then maybe Spurs wouldn’t won their first title Who Knows ?

  28. michael says:

    My issue with lebron james is simple. one other writer talked about it. i love basketball, it has been and always will be a team first game to me. the game itself, is always bigger than any individual to me. any great talent who purports to make themselves bigger than the game is a bum to me…..great talents let every play, every score, and every win speak for them. John Riggins,a beloved member of the washington nfl football team family, simply handed the ball to the official after every touchdown. he celebrated each win, when the last tick ran off the clock. Dignity as a player, and respect for the game. plain and simple.

    lebron is a phenomenal athlete, and a phenomenal individual player. in my opinion he is a steward of the game for the following reasons:

    gamesmanship, champions do not:
    – flop…ever
    – try to influence an official’s call
    – celebrate on every great play (see riggins comment)
    – mug for the camera
    – flex for the camera
    – complain over an officials call (timmy needs to lighten up too)
    – try to play out of position when the ego gets out of control (lebron, cannot play point guard, he is immensely predictable when he has the ball at the point, and teams in the league have figured it out)
    – impact a team mates’ playing time because the “champion” thinks a better combination would work
    – think so much of themselves that they allow their own handlers to talk them in to something like “the decision”
    – think they are bigger than their own franchise…free agency is still a team centered decision,
    – blame the media for their problems
    – tell mike wilbon in an interview that “I am the biggest target in sports.” which says that i thin i am bigger than basketball, and the nba, and the nfl, and mlb, and suburban youth soccer in cleveland when you are not
    – react to fans of other teams
    – treat reporters poorly, though at times they deserve the treatment they get when delivery questions without the context of the game itself
    – fail to forgive others who have attacked or hurt them
    – flop……eeeeever
    – allow himself to be taken out of a championship game with six minutes remaining
    – walk off the floor after a championship game without respecting the game by honoring your competitor

    in my opinion, lebron has become a great spokesman for the game, and does more right things than wrong things….respect grows incrementally. our wives remember the one bad thing we do, while ignoring the great stuff. fans are the same. a father’s presence is the cure for all of the bs in the players interpretation of the game.

    • FLOYD KELLEY says:

      Thats cool to the moderator you deleted my reply. what a little too harsh for ur sensitive readers. The bible speaks on the congeration just wanting soft words smh.

  29. Cordell Daniels says:

    Everyone stay making excuses for this man. When Espn and the media forces him down our throats like he is the goat is what makes me angry. Mike never left his team to chase rings that’s who I’m comparing lebron to since the media want to make him the goat. LeBron fan boys read that statement again. 2011 belonged to dirk patt sorry. Personally I don’t think heat would have been to four straight finals if drose never got hurt.

    • Lets get something straight… MJ never hit the market because HIS MANAGEMENT GOT HIM WAT HE WANTED. He was NOTHING without scottie, he got herbed by the pistosns, remember that?? or were u too young to do so? MJ IS the greatest of the game, but it took him 10 years to finally hit that gear… Remember when Isiah thomas and rodman herbed mj and his team? THEN they got PIPPEN, Kukoc, paxson, horace grant, u know star role players.. btw PIPPEN led the bulls to a fabolous record once jordan went out. Do you think wade or bosh can now? hahahha, james is a great player whose only improving… people say jordan never lost in the finals, lmao thats cuz in many years HE NEVER GOT TO THE FINALS. remember how the celetics destroyed him? He LOST, he also won. jordan too had a dumb Eastern conference on his path to the finals… now watch d rose come back and get eliminated by them again hahahha. oh wait, he already did couple years ago.

  30. MichaelA says:

    I’ m Right : As you indicate, certainly Kareem and Garnett left to go to stacked teams. Nobody ( LeBron Haters) wants to admit that. Moses Malone to Sixers with Dr. J , Cheeks, Toney too….and there are countless other examples . Chamberlain to Lakers with West and Baylor. Earl Monroe to Knicks with Reed, Frazier, Dave Debucchere( spelling ) Barnett and Bradley.

    • steve says:

      Did any of them do it on national t.v? Did any of them ever use the donation of money to make it seem like he wasn’t doing to for anyone but himself? Quick answer is NO…. You can’t compare the 2. People wouldn’t care if he joined dwade and bosh if he had gone about it alot differently

  31. MichaelA says:

    Wade : Why would MJ leave the Bulls after winning titles ? Lebron stayed in Cleveland for 7 years.
    Why would Kobe leave with Shaq , Fisher, Horry etc. etc. being with Lakers

  32. MichaelA says:

    Jerome : Not that it matters but I generally like your post.

    Few things though : People do actually HATE LeBron only because he left Cleveland
    When Garnett’s trade was orchestrated by T-Wolves GM and former Celtic Kevin McHale .you don’t think that Celtic team was “stacked” with Paul Pierce and R. Rhondo and Ray Allen ?
    You ever hear anybody criticize Ray Allen for signing with Heat w/Lebron, Wade and Bosh already there ? No ,and there shouldn’t be any criticism . People only seem to talk about Lebron’s decision.
    LeBron is the only NBA player that flops ? Manu was has even been called EL Floppo throughout the league and their are many others .

  33. ism says:

    “Even in defeat to the Spurs, there was no disputing who was the best individual player on the court in the 2014 Finals. The same as 2013, 2012, 2011.”

    So wrong:

    2014: LBJ
    2013: LBJ
    2012: LBJ
    2011: DIRK

    Ok, as a hypothesis, LBJ maybe was theoretically the better individual player, but since Dirk was in fact the better individual player on the better team that also happened to be winning, there was no literal meaning to LBJ being the best.

  34. Gene says:

    I think the whole idea of a player working his or her entire life to put themselves in a marketable position are being told that the only way to “win” is to forego their contracts by accepting less money is ludicrous. If the owners want insure maximum profits by restricting salary they should likewise be willing to live with mediocrity – the owners continue to make billions, but the players, supposedly in an effort to win are asked to give the money back.
    If you have a winning culture, as Pat Reily and others are claiming, then everyone from the President, general manager, coaches, owners etc. should be willing to accept less, or at least pay more. Pat Reilly and Phil Jackson should be willing to accept less, but of course you know that is not going to happen.

    • Wade says:

      i think the whole idea of afraid of challenges and taking the easy route to the title is the way for wussy! Even if Lebron gets 7 rings, it is stupid and irritating to hear the media comparing him to MJ. You don’t call people up and say “hey, i’m afraid of losing to you so let’s team up and play against the lesser competition.” I’m still waiting for another player like MJ or at least Kobe to come change the league back.

      • jimi says:

        Kobe cried in 2005 when he did not make the playoffs and needed players to help him out. He said he was going to leave.

      • lmfaooo KOBE DEMANDED A TRADE…. And lebron got no help for 7 years!!!!

      • Wade says:

        “demanding a trade” is never as bad as calling up your competitor and ask them if you could join them. That’s like running away from your challenge. He couldn’t face that challenge he had for 7 years.

  35. Jerome says:

    Omg you guys get everything wrong. Nobody hates lebron because he jumped teams. It’s because he jumped to a team and it became stacked as heck. PLUS with the fact that they had to flop to win instead of playing fair games just makes it worse on Lebron as a leader, who is seen to flop the most. Nobody hates Lebron for being who he is off the court, just on the court because of the stuff that he pulls and the way that the NBA star rises him to be the GOAT, when he’s really NOT. Nobody hates Lebron Really, a very small percentage actually HATES lebron, they hate what he did because he didn’t set good examples. Kevin Garnett and Kareem didn’t jump to stacked teams, they jumped to a team that needed help, and as far as I saw it, the HEAT are stilll a playoff team without Lebron.

    • I'm Right says:

      lol @ garnett and karrem didn’t jump to stacked teams…google boston big3 and showtime lakers

    • Joe Lewis says:

      I also think that they are a playoff team with out LeBron, the cast was playing in game 3, and 4 Lebron was the one with the problems.

  36. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    Pat Riley is trying to be calm, but he seems a bit desperate and not that confident that LeBron will come back to Miami.
    LeBron will be 30 next year, he cant keep playing as many minutes and he needs a better, younger, supporting roster to take the pressure off him so he can 100% come playoff time, he also needs a better coach than Spoelstra. If the Spurs had Spoelstra & the Heat had Popovich for the last 4 years – Miami would have won all 4 championships… Spoelstra has got to go.
    Right now there are a lot of teams that look better than Miami that LeBron can choose, Pat Riley should be nervous …

  37. Commentator says:

    Pat Riley said to see things in perspective. He said that other teams like the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics, Spurs all had more years without a title then with a title. Well Pat, thats true, but they didnt go around boasting that they are going to win not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7,,,

  38. MichaelA says:

    EL Stone : Get your facts straight …..Kareem went to LA after spending 6 years with the Bucks. He was 27 or 28 well within his prime

  39. MichaelA says:

    hdsnake867- Wow! I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy in life ( tear up his knee) . You must really hate LeBron. Unbelievable.

    I’ve seen players now and before in the NBA that I didn’t like for various reasons but I would never wish that on them.

    Question: Be truthful……..l Why do you hate LeBron so much ?

  40. El Stone says:

    You only partially hit on why people don’t like LeBron.

    Sure the decision was part of it. Not only how he handled it (in the most d-baggy way possible), but the fact that he conspired with friends to form this super team.

    Despite your claim, Kareem and Garnett didn’t do that- first of all, they didn’t make plans with 2 other superstars to join forces so that winning championships would be easier. Secondly, Kareem and Garnett were still serviceable, but not in the prime of their careers. So learn some NBA history before trying to make excuses for The Queen or as I like to call him The Frozen One (in reference to his muscles freezing up on him).

    People also don’t like LeBron because of how smug he acts at all times. He feels that instead of earning things through hard work, that stuff should be given to him. Hence joining Wade and Bosh and predicting 8 championships before the rest of the Heat’s roster was even complete. He always makes everything about him – from foul calls that don’t go his way to post game interviews.

    And while he can take over a game, he can’t do it like MJ. When LeBron takes over a game you often see his teammates standing around doing nothing. It’s like LeBron isn’t smart enough to figure out how to both take over a game and involve his teammates. For LeBron it seems to be an either/or type of thing.

    I also don’t like how LeBron complains that his teams aren’t good enough. Well guess what Buddy, this is the team YOU created. It’s who you wanted to play with so winning championships would be easy. And despite all that he’s still just 2-3 in the Finals. Quite poor. Not bad for the average player or team, but quite poor for the “best” player in the world and his super-hyped team of 8-championship-promising super friends.

    Did I mention that people don’t like that he’s calls himself King James and LBJ (sullying the name of a great president)? Did I also mention that people don’t like that he’s a poor sport who’s devolved from refusing to shake hands with opponents to now being satisfied with 50%.

    He’s just an unlikable character that people are tired of having forced on them by NBA, ESPN, ABC, etc. No NBA, I do not need to follow LeBron James on social media. Why do I need to know where a spoiled billionaire is vacationing with his kids?

  41. Jonah Haynes says:

    I would be quiet.😡 Lebron is the greatest player that ever lived besides Kobe and Michael

  42. MichaelA says:

    Trip – Lebron is know as one of the most unselfish players in the NBA. If his head was truly too big , he would have stayed at Cleveland and would have always been the “man”.

    Prime Time : Lebron retire ? Why should he do that ? You must be just a LeBron hater in general.

  43. aces says:

    This whole ‘legacy’ talk is stupid to me…The guy has 4 mvps n 2 titles, jus appreciate it and let him do whatever he wants to do. It’s ok for mgt to trade you to a star studded cast but you’re not allowed to make that decision for yourself during free agency? That’s bs.

    I hope LeBron says ‘I’m taking my talents to’…The euro or asian league where he is able to get paid over $50 mill a year. It should be about as much money you can make and how happy you are at a job….Enjoy life, I bet his kids n grandkids will enjoy the fruits of his labor more than these rings. I know someone is gonna respond n say, he already has a lot of money…you can never have too much money

  44. Jonah Haynes says:

    I think lebron should go to the cavaliers it would be a good suit to be up with kyrie irving. After all those years lebron and the Cavaliers could get in the championship once again.

  45. hdsnake867 says:

    Nobody likes Lebron because of his HUBRIS. “Not 1, not 2, not 3…” yada yada yada. From the year that he kept the Cavs hanging thru “The Decision” and on to the light & smoke show, he’s shown that despite his skills, he is easy to hate. I’d venture to guess that a lot of fans would love to see him blow out his knee. I wouldn’t shed a tear for him.

  46. anupj2012 says:

    LJ is the best player in the world and will continue to be for some time….Where ever he is and he goes, he can create a major impact on team and the players with his fitness and skills. Let’s admire this legend and wish him all the success…we have to see more of him entertaining the world of basketball for a long time to come….

  47. Trip says:

    People dont like Lebron-not because hes a really good player, its because his head is too damn big. Im not a Spurs fan but Im glad they were able to deflate his and Miami heads….I hope this will humble him up a bit.

  48. Prime Time says:

    Just retire. he prove he cant win without an allstar cast. they try to make him the baddest man in the nba. if thats what the nba got to offer..WOW… sorry league now. do us all a favor and make the right decistion..RETIRE

  49. Jesse says:

    LeBron was NOT the best player in the 2011 Finals. Did you watch his disappearing act in the 4th quarter? That Final belonged to Dirk.

  50. Rob says:

    Want to talk about legacy? Phill Jackson is recognized for being able to win rings with two different teams as a coach. Why wouldn’t Lebron be recognized for doing it as a player.
    Go to Houston, Chicago, New Orleans, Cleveland, or even Minessota and make Love stay. All those teams already have champioship caliber players and the first two have championship caliber coaches, I’m sure LBJ can help those teams to get at least one ring.
    Shaq and Kareem did it with two teams but only got one ring with a team and the rest with the other. If LBJ manages to achieve with another team what he as with Miami, that would only be because of his addition to the team.

    How’s that for a legacy?

  51. Arkh says:

    I think the comparison between LBJ, Kareem and KG is a bit unfair.

    – Kareem already had one ring with Milwaukee when he left the team
    – KG was already 31 when he was traded (no FA there) to Boston. And Minnesota was a worn out team which couldn’t compete anymore

    LBJ bolted teams with no rings at 25 y.o. to chase rings. I don’t recall any dominant player doing that since Shaq. A comparison with Shaq would have been relevant but not with Kareem and KG.

  52. TheKush says:

    Lebrons next decision doesn’t define him. He left his home state to pay lower taxes in Florida where ever Lebron goes the media circus will follow! In fact if he leaves and goes to the finals again this will cement his legacy on how dominant he really was. How many teams did Shaq play for? Shaq went to the finals with three different teams nobody questions Shaq? If Lebron leaves he’ll be good and his true fans won’t be mad at him

  53. MichaelA says:

    Kareem was 27 or 28 ( in his Prime) when he orchestrated a Trade to the Lakers. Shaq played for 4 or 5 years with Orlando when he left as a free agent to the Lakers. LeBron spent 7 years in Cleveland before going to Miami. There are probably more examples than that. Nothing wrong with either of those situations yet LeBron gets hammered for HIS decision.

    Lot’s of people just don’t like LeBron for whatever reason and they find anything and everything to criticize him…..that’s too bad.
    He will never win no matter what he does.

    BTW why would Magic test free agency and leave the Lakers, same with Bird ( with Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale & Robert Parrish) and MJ with Pippen Horace Grant etc .and then Rodman later on.

    Others like Allen Iverson should have left while in their prime if their current team couldn’t get better players…….maybe they would have won some NBA titles. Remember Barkley left the Sixers to try and win a title. Also remember that Moses Malone went to Philly later on to win a title and did just that. No criticism for those moves though and there shouldn’t be

  54. Alma says:

    This is a very interesting article, it shares distinct details and evidence of what the true meaning of building a legacy is. I for one have always been a LeBron James fan, and it was his decision to choose what he wanted to do. For me it was okay that he left Cleveland, and joined the Miami Heat. King James did amazing things with the Cavaliers, and he has gone to the next level with his career when he joined Miami, and has been there four years in a row, and each season taught him something different. If LeBron chooses to return to Cleveland, that is his choice, it would be awesome to have him back in Cleveland. If LeBron chooses to go to another city, yes I agree that would just be a desperate move for the road to more rings, but we also have to accept that it is his decision, whether people like him for it, or hate him for it; LeBron has faced critics all his life, and he still pushes on. I wouldn’t mind if he went to another city, as long as it is a team I don’t really like, but that is a personal issue. If LeBron chooses to stay in Miami, that is his choice, it may be the right decision, it may not, but he has set the bar, and his career improved and grew in Miami. Without a doubt, LeBron James is the best basketball player in the game right now, he is going to be marked down in History as one of the greats, but right now he is still in his Legacy and the Dynasty continues; yes top players are coming to take his spot, like Durant, and there are amazing players like Carmelo Anthony who we hope stays in New York to play with the Knicks, like Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Paul George, and so on and so on. The NBA Finals of 2013-2014, is a sad ending to the season, and that chapter has ended, the Spurs have won, and congratulations to them, but it is time to focus on the future, and whatever future LeBron decides, it will be his decision, we must remember that Basketball is More than a Game, and hopefully LeBron knows that, this is the NBA, and LeBron has made his mark, and he will continue to do so.

  55. Adam says:

    Lebron needs all the superstars he needs to win another ring. Wade and Bosh aren’t enough, so please Melo, Kevin Love, Gasol, Batman, Wonderwoman…go to Miami! Whatta joke this guy is.

    • Terry says:

      Stop hating on Lebron the man is wicked good and deserves all the accolades. Back in the day Magic had Jabbar, Worthy, Byron Scott and a wealth of players. Michael Jordan had named players like Rodman & Salley coming to the Bulls all the time. So wake up get a basketball IQ and stop hating on Lebron

  56. Joe says:

    LBJ should stick it out with Miami. He said it himself, his family love it there, so why speculate?

  57. Steve says:

    “Even in defeat to the Spurs, there was no disputing who was the best individual player on the court in the 2014 Finals. The same as 2013, 2012, 2011.”
    Someone needs to rewatch the 2011 Finals. The best player from the losing team clearly was Dwayne Wade. LeBron was a far, far, far second.
    Had Miami won that series, the final account would’ve been:
    Wade: 2 Rings, 2 Finals MVPs
    LeBron: 1 Ring, ZERO Finals MVPs. He’d been the Robin to Dwayne “Batman” Wade. Nothing more,

  58. Another Heat Fan says:

    Lebron is smart and mature enough to stay with the Heat. He knows it’s his best option. And he’ll do it happily he won’t resent nyone for anything.

    Miami’s a great place for him to live. He’s made great friends there. He’s gone through so much victory and defeat, with a wide range of emotions following both.

    He always said Cleveland didn’t carry personal significance to him it was mostly Akron he was attached to. But the Heat and Miami carry a personal significance to him now. He can’t leave.

  59. To LBJ,

    Stay with the Miami Heat. Build your legacy there. Ask Pat Riley to surround you with solid role players. There’s no point in leaving (again). Your decision will show if you have matured as a basketball player and as an individual.

    Lastly, Try to improve your mental toughness. The mind is a powerful thing! Learn ignore pain by your mind alone, you’re gonna be tough as steel. Try to improve your critical thinking.

    Good luck!

  60. Gazzuso says:

    I don’t see comparisons fitting. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar left Milwakee after winning a title there, his team was going worse every year and joined LAL to build another winning team there (he missed playoffs for 2 consecutive years after joining LA). KG stayed in Minnesota 12 seasons, joining often NBA all star teams but never achieving anything in his rares playoffs appearence due to low talented teams and bad team menagement (beside Minneapolis not being very attractive). Then he joined Celtics and won a championship there. LeFlop stayed in Cle 6 years (achieving a NBA final) then he left his team because he wanted to win an NBA championship soon and had no time to build a winning team. So he joined a heartless team stacked with talents. Miami should stack better otherwise James is going elsewere. Pls Melo, Love, Nowitzki, Isaiah, Gasol, Marion sign for Miami or he leaves!!! :'(

  61. Thomas says:

    LeBron, will stay BUT, these are the changes they need to make:

    1) LeBron, DWade, and Bosh ALL take pay cuts. Especially Wade and Bosh. Wade’s knees have taken him from being a superstar to being a above average player. Bosh takes WAYYYYY too many threes and can’t bang in the box with the real centers.

    2) Bring in Greg Monroe to shot block/redbound

    3) Bring in a REAL point guard and get rid of Chalmers

    4) Bring in another player that can play really good defense, AND shoot a high percentage-3… Kinda like Battier in his first year with the Heat.

    5) Get rid of Oden, Beasley, Douglas, Chalmers, and bring in a solid bench.

    If Miami does this, I would be very surprised if they didn’t win next year.

  62. hoopsie says:

    LBJ need support he cannot do it alone that is the reason he join MIAMI HEAT. But now he can stay in MIAMI but Pat RIley has to think about Bosh and Wade they are not the same as they were. Either let this 2 guy go and get some healthy player . Change the Roster or Let LBJ go to a team that can support him . I watch LBJ since he join NBA he always run out of gas once his teammate doesn’t support him like he was in CAVS now we can that in MIAMI .

  63. lacrampa says:

    lebron i’m joking, this is just a job. A JOB, the only one you have to be loyal with to be a man is your wife

  64. Wow says:

    Hey Lebron, take a pay cut and go to the Spurs. There’s another championship for you! Not 1, not 2, not 3……….

  65. lacrampa says:

    lebron you need to go back cleveland or your legacy will be cramped forever

  66. Mike B says:

    Does anyone talk about how WEAK the Eastern Conference has been over the past four years??? Clearly a watered down feat to just get to the finals – when there is no legitimate competition standing in the way!!!!!!

  67. igat_06 says:

    Wherever he (THE ONE AND ONLY LEBRON) people will be moved. He will be hated, idolized, FEARED. Much respect to this man’s legacy. I am not from the US but followed his life’s work in the court since his days together with the FAB FIVE. It all boils down to one thing come 29th of JUNE. RESPECT

  68. Karlo Garcia says:

    Maybe Pat Riley is on to something because he sounds certain that Lebron James will sign a new contract. He did sound upbeat regarding his future though.

  69. Tim says:

    Lebwrong is hated not because he chose ring over loyalty, as loyalty is a rare thing in any sport now a days. Just look at the Lakers being criticized up the Ying Yang for opening up their wallet in Kobe’s golden years to reward Kobe for bringing them 5 championships.

    LBJ is hated because of the way he spurned Cavs without any consideration for warning his team and allowing them to maneuver for a trade. Why did he do that? So him, Wade, and Bosh could play together in Miami for Pat Riley, a move that was obviously concocted much early on between the four of them against NBA rules. It’s like when you were playing basketball with friends when you were kids, and the few tallest players who are usually on opposite teams decided they would all be on the same team from now on. Along with the show they’ve put on that offseason, it felt very unsportsmanlike to the fans. That’s why the hatred.

    Winning those 2 championships did not redeem his reputation IMO. To win back critics’ respect, he needs to stick it out in Miami as they go through a rebuilding process. Bring in pieces that builds a true team, instead of the loosely thrown together wanna-be all star team that the Spurs had revealed them to be. Win a couple championship that way, then no one could say anything else about him.

    • jimi says:

      The cavs lied to him about his injury saying it was fine when it was not. How is that loyalty. There is no loyalty in sports when it comes to the athletes.

  70. prahumac says:

    i think lbj should stay with miami and help his team mates out and try to make them concentrate on their game and not to concentrate on his individual performance because every one knows basket ball is a team game and not a game of individuals!!!!

  71. True Baller says:

    The Heat can return next year most likely to the Finals, but there are a few factors. One being all the big name Free agents and the teams with the money to throw at them. There’s a lot of them this off season. Secondly, the east has been weak so long they have no competition which also hurt them when they met the Spurs. No idea what happened to Indiana. I hope they get it together. Barkley said it best the other night, these guys will do what’s best for them PERIOD. If it’s money and further increasing their financial stability so be it. If they are secure enough in their investments that their families don’t have to worry for generations they’ll take less which is still crazy since the Superstars get insane money reguardless.Just think with this off season a lot of teams will look way different next season and everyone forgot about Kobe haha. The Lakers are going to make some big moves with all that money having only kobe and nash under contract. I’m ready for next season.

  72. birdie says:

    If LeBron really wants to show what he’s made of, he should move to the western conference. As long as he is in the Leastern Conference, I will remain unimpressed with his going to the Finals 4 yrs in a row. Put any of the top 3 west teams in the Heat’s place in the east, and they would also have won 4 yrs in a row. The Heat conveniently ignore how little competition they have to face en route to the Finals every year. Apparently this writer also finds that convenient to ignore.

  73. Spire says:

    lol@LBJ being the best in 2011 finals. LOL

  74. Sanjeevi says:

    How about getting Pau Gasol to Miami for Center? Does that add value t Heat Team?

  75. Liams says:

    I appreciate something from this writer, they didn’t pretend like Lebron has a change at chasing Russell, maybe be can chase Kareem’s 6 and 6 (titles and MVPs)

  76. #30 says:

    hahaha. LMAO.

    Fun to suggest, LBJ go to Hornets,
    New jerseys fit for you and learn some MJ move. Hahahaha

  77. Tim Duncan says:

    Respect LBJ’s Decision, That’s it. Hate it or Take it or Leave it.

  78. Peter says:

    Nice article. Everything said makes sense. I think LBJ’s bond with Pat Riley and the coach is too strong for him to consider leaving. Yes, he should stay in Miami and try to build a legacy. Also, it is not easy to bolt somewhere else and start all over again with a new franchise. The Heat will definitely have to get a solid point guard and center. Also, a swingman like Ray Allen who can make shots from the outside. Wade should come off the bench as well. Have a strong feeling that LBJ will remain in Miami.

  79. JC says:

    to the heat continue to give a good game need:
    -Dwayne Wade should retire or go to the bench and give opportunities to others good players
    -Bosh have to another team , Miami gave him to opportunity to save the championship but he didn’t , he has scare attack the basket .
    -bring new young people to the team
    -Lebron stay and rebuild the new team , stronger than ever

  80. Explorer says:

    CHICAGO or Rockets

  81. Raph says:

    People hate Lebron going to Miami because of the decision, and the fact that they had Wade (proven winner) and Bosh (24-11 year before on Toronto) already on the team… You bring up KG going to Boston or Kareem going to LA, but check the age on those guys when they made those moves; neither were in their prime.

    • steven says:

      And KG was TRADED. MIN wanted to start rebuilding and convinced KG , who wanted to retire a TWolve that it was in the teams best intrests for him to allow the trade. Lets not re write history here, calluding with 2 other Franchise players in their prime to try and bum rush the league on one team and take a shortcut to the chip has NEVER been done before. Some greats have done it at the end of long careers, but not before giving all they had to their Franchises. .

  82. HEATneedsShotBlocker&PG says:

    if Chalmers and Haslem stay and if the Miami HEAT still NO Shot-Blocker inside the paint and NO Pointguard that can defend Parker or Westbrook,then LeBron James better join the Chicago BULLS.

    c – J. Noah
    pf- K. Love
    sf- C. Anthony
    sg- L. James
    pg- D. Rose

    or

    c – J. Noah
    pf- C. Anthony
    sf- L. James
    sg- J. Butler
    pg- D. Rose

    • DWadeTheOne says:

      LOL who told you Melo is going to Bulls? I HIGHLY doubt it. Even if the reports say he is interested. I would stay on the Knicks and give Phil Jackson a chance rather than go with the Bulls. He stays on the Knicks or go to Miami or Houston, but i doubt he is going to the Bulls.

      • The Truth says:

        Really? Melo ain’t going to Miami. Thus the Pat Riley speech… He knows what he’s doing and he knows Melo isn’t coming. That’s why he’s saying re-tool, not rebuild. I’d say adding Melo would be a rebuild. Even if you kept the Big 3 together…

      • The Truth says:

        Oh. My point. Bulls get Melo over Heat. I agree that he may stay in NY for the money. Rockets… Maybe, because they’ve proven they can get big names over there… He’d be making a mistake, though. Harden and Anthony? Really? Don’t know about that one. You want to maximize your max players’ talents, not overlap them…

    • NoMilitaryCoup says:

      dreaming much?

    • J says:

      lol this isn’t a video game buddy.

    • asdf says:

      YEAH LIKE THEY CAN SIGN JAMES AND MELO!!!!! why dont you just shut up, tired of people like you who dont even know what cap space is.

    • The Truth says:

      How in the world do you figure Bulls land Love, Anthony, and James? Is this that whole trolling thing???

    • Julio says:

      Seriously? Anthony as Power forward? He cant even guard the old Dirk. And Melo and LBJ in the same lineup? Sorry, basketball has only one ball in the court. Not enough for both at the same time.

  83. I believe he will stay in Miami because I don’t think he is ready to take the backlash once again. And there would always be an asterisk next to his rings if he keeps bolting. LBJ is more about building a legacy for himself and not just rings. His legacy would definitely be hurt if he keeps jumping teams.

  84. ben says:

    I THINK THE LEBRON COMPARISON TO JABBARS AND GARNETTS LEAVING IS TOTALLY UNFAIR COMPARISONS 0- NEITHER OF THOSE PLAYERS (ESPECIALLY GARNETT0 HAD AS GREAT OF A DOMINANCE ON THE GAME AS LEBRON DOES AND IN GARNETTS CASE HE WAS ALREADY OLDER THAN LEBRON WAS WHEN HE LEFT AND THE T-WOLVES HAD SHOED NO SIGN OF BEING ABLE TO WIN WHEREAS LEBRON HAD GONE TO CONFERENCE FINALS AND FINALS

    • Judge Holden says:

      What!? Kareem and Garnett in their primes were two of the most dominant players in history. What in the world?

  85. Cavs Fan says:

    First off this article is completely wrong. If Lebron came back to cleveland and won just one championship he would not only redeem himself but put him up near MJ in terms of basketball mortality because honestly who wins in cleveland? Lebron took a scrub team to the 2007 finals imagine what he could do with this current Cavs team (kyrie, dion, Bennett, wiggins, hawes). Especially now that the eastern conference is so weak.

    • asdf says:

      They would still be on of the worst defensive team in the league, waiters, hawes and kyrie cant defend a guy in a wheelchair.

  86. LBJ all day says:

    Riley calling out james(indirectly) in public signals that the talks with Lebron have not gone in the right direction. Its a no win situation for Lebron. If he opts out and leave MIAMI he will be cast as selfish ring chaser. If he stays in MIAMI he will end up with more or less same team. Dwade and Bosh are already taking pay cuts along with Lebron. They may not go too low since they are not making the same kind of money like Lebron on endorsements. Its a bad move by RIley to call him out like that and saying at the same time that he loves Lebron. Even if Lebron was thinking of giving another shot his ego may come into picture cause of Riley calling him out.
    The best option for Lebron is to stay and see how things go. Heat is playing at a great level this season. The worst thing that happened to MIAMI after 2011 bad PR is spurs in 2014.Saying MIAMI lost in 2014 finals is flat out disrespect for SPURS.SPURS cleanly snatched it from the defending champs and there is a little doubt that any other team in 2014 or in the past decade could have stopped them. The level at which SPURS played is unreachable and it can only done by them with their trust in POP and system attitude. I don’t think even the SPURS can replicate their performance in 2015.

    By next year his contract will be over. Dwade may be willing to take a huge pay cut unless he starts playing like vintage Wade for the whole next season. DWade may not be happy go else where after what he has achieved as HEAT player. Bosh may want to go elsewhere too depending on next year result.

    • ben says:

      i agree with everything u said except with that if lebron leaves hell be looked at as a selfish ring chaser which i dont think would be true if he went back to cleveland. i think if he did that and mANAGED TO WIN THERE HE WOULD GAIN EVERYONES LOVE BACK AND BE LOOKED AT AS SOMEONE WHO RIGHTED THE WRONG 9HISS LEAVIN TO MIAMI

    • DWadeTheOne says:

      I agree with you. He should stay at least next year on Miami, and see how things develop. The Spurs played at a extremely high level without a doubt. I also think that they aren’t going to replicate that next year.

  87. CAVS says:

    LeBron go back to cavs and make things right & the cavs have gotten so many top draft picks on their roster. cavs can also resign deng & get Kevin Love!

    PG: Irving/ Waiters
    SG:Wiggins/ Gee
    SF:LeBron/Deng
    PF: Love/ Bennat
    C: Zeller/ Thompson

    wow what a roster !

  88. Thumper says:

    Lebron to the bucks. him and ilyasova= perfect duo

  89. Balaji says:

    With all due respect Mr. Blinebury, this article is completely untrue and nonsense (apolgies for the language). As you yourself have commended Lebron’s individual talent, you go on to speak about him “shaping” his legacy. Mind you that this is an inherent contradiciton throughout this article.

    If Lebron James has played the best basketball of his career the past four years, and as rightly pointed out by you, has earned the respect of his worse critiques (including myself) and people “on the line”, then that is him “shaping” or already shaped his legacy. The decision of joining another team, or “abondoning” Cleveland, as you deem it to be does not shape his legacy. This is to say that, Lebron James earns the respect he deserves for who he is, and not based on his decisoin of joining a new team or joining his old one. The championships of Michale Jordan and Duncan that you refer to are all taken. However, what is recognized in reality are the championships alone these players have won, and not for whom they won it. This might sound shaky, but it is true. We talk about the individual championships as champions not, Lebron James’ championship for the Miami Heat. In that sense Mr. Blinebury, Legacies shape themselves, a conscious effort of directing a legacy is not going to happen. Ever. An individual’s effect on his legacy is the amount of hard work and effort he puts in to his career and then the legacy is what this becomes, not what the individual wants it to be. As recognised by you in this article, critiques and people on the fence, L:ebron James has put in the effort, has played the best basketball of his life the past 4 years, and is the “king” of the sport. In that case, his legacy has already been shaped by his work, and the tean he joins or the team he plays for is not going to alter this legacy in any manner whatsoever. Lebron James is rewspected because he is Lebron James, not because Lebron James plays for the Miami Heat or the team he might play for. If that were the case, Michael Jordan ended his career with the Washington Wizards, which would mean that his legacy is undermined or non-existent, according to what you say.

    • Ennis says:

      Man, you’re such a joke. Michael Jordan’s situation was so different, HE WAS 40 DAMN YEARS OLD WHEN HE PLAYED FOR THE WIZARDS!!! His legacy was finished years before, you clown, everyone knows what he did was just to stimulate the wizards fan-base, and not chase a ring like Lebron. Lastly, if Lebron jumps in to another team that seems “Championship ready” the moment he arrives, his legacy will definitely get tainted because, instead of retooling or rebuilding the roster around him in Miami- he will be taking a short cut to being a champion by joining a better team. True champions do not run from their teams, especially when team management is willing to accommodate a super star’s needs.

      • Starsleeper says:

        True,
        I just hope he’ll get a Pop or Zen Master as a coach. It’s an important tandem: coach-superstar

      • Jake says:

        I honestly don’t blame him for Cleveland though… what the hell was management doing to get him any help?

  90. Kome the Black Dumba says:

    I always got a soft spot on the Cavs because of Mark price and Larry Nance but I just don’t see any good player playing for Cavs crazy owner

    If Lebum’s intention is go chasing rings why would he be back to Cavs? Team up with tantrum Kyle? So Cavs will have two cry babies?

    Cavs just blew their chance to win a ring with signing like Mo williams, JJ hickson > healthy Amare, Jamison and a flat tire shaq.

  91. NBAfan says:

    I didn’t read the article but I agree with the title. His next decision (or non-decision) will define him…as a competitor.

    The way I see it, he has three options and corresponding outcomes:

    1. show some guts and stick with the Heat (you don’t build a Spurs team jumping around)
    2. go back to Cleveland as the prodigal son of sorts; he’ll be forgiven eventually, but the King James persona must go
    3. go somewhere else and be labelled as a mercenary

    All in all, I hope Lebron makes a BASKETBALL DECISION…not a PR one.

  92. Ellery G says:

    Ridiculous article. The best player in the finals was the winner of the finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Any team and any city would welcome Lebron with open arm. His legacy will be defined by his play on the court not by some posturing journalist.

  93. Kobe-James-Melo-Love-Nash says:

    C’mon guys.. He’s is going to LA with Melo.. LA will give him his 3-Peat..

    • AK47 says:

      haha, dream on laker fan. he’ll never go to LA and team up with kobe. And I don’t see Melo joining Kobe.

  94. Max says:

    Kawai,Hawaii, is just starting his Career, 1st Ring. Injury could sideline him in the Future, so NO comparison to LeBron, who has already “Walk the Walk”. LeBron’s life is his life and can do whatever he wants. Fans needs to just shut up, after all they do NOT even have a resume to argue their point, RIGHT?

  95. Max says:

    I cannot believe anyone would say that LeBron James owes his Career to anyone team. People from all types of JOBS pick up and move many time through their working years. So, what does James owe to anyone? His first and most important responsibility is to himself and his family. Anything else is just BUSINESS! Cannot believe that ONE Fan could say he owes his NBA Career to any team. Fans that feel that way, should put themselves in James position as the “Bread Winner” for his family. Fans need to just get over thinking James belongs to any certain team. James life his is LIFE, Not to any certain team or city!

  96. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    is it just me or did Pat Riley come off as desperate during his press conference? I think LeBron wants to leave, but the only thing stopping him is how his legacy will be seen.

    The Heat might not get back to the finals, or win a championship for years… but in the long term they are all better off staying together. As long as Wade and Bosh opt out and re-sign for less money.

    • I think that Bosh and definitely 60% of time healthy Wade opting out and taking less money. Lebron is carrying the team almost as much as he had to with the Cavs, therefore they only way i would stay if I was Lebron is if they split the over 60 million between the 3 of them 12.5 mil Bosh, 12.5 mil Wade, and 30 mil James, leaving 8 mil more to go in the decent help bag.

  97. Dave says:

    The only sensible team LBJ would go to would be Cavs, or stay with the Heat. Outside of those, he will be labeled as a quitter or leecher, only playing for a team that’s loaded.

  98. OKC says:

    Lebron should demand a max contract from everyone and see who is in the best spot that can literally pay him the league max. The chasing a ring doesn’t bother me so much, everyone does it and you only get heat for it if you are a super star, but what bothers me is top players in the league taking bargain contracts to give themselves an unfair advantage against teams that value and want to reward their best players by giving them max.

    and really… if anyone deserves a max contract in this league it’s Lebron…. and of course KD.

  99. ronhawkster says:

    This team has degraded (but not LBJ). The only reason it made it to the finals two years in a row is because the competition is so light in the East. Getting to the finals in a weak conference can fool one into thinking one is better than one really is. The west was loaded with some fierce teams (SA, OKC, Clips) while the east was not. So much for getting to the finals. Furthermore, Miami has no bench, and that thin bench is about to get thinner. They foolishly got rid of Mike Miller last year. Battier is retiring. And if Allen comes back (doubtful) he’ll be even older than he is (which is one of the oldest in the league).

    So, that brings us to “retool, not rebuild”. Yes. But Mr. Riley, friend, you forget who the owner is. He’s in a belt-tightening mode. The only way you could retool and bring in enough talent to replenish the lost talent AND the aging DW and CB is to have the big three opt out of their contracts AND take a pay-cut. But they already had taken a pay-cut to come here. You think they’d do it again? DOUBT IT!

    Lastly, to compare the aging Heat with the aging SA.. now that’s a bad comparison. SA is excellent in constantly bringing in and developing high quality talent, which is why they were in the finals last year AND this year and they might be there again next year. What has Miami done to bring in and develop talent? NOTHING!

    This team is done. LBJ can stay if he likes to. But I doubt he’ll see the result he likes.

    • Commentor says:

      I think the only difference between the Spurs and Heat is the bench player. Yes, Spurs develop young player that will be the next start players for the team. While the Heat, bench is not that helpful. Finals 2014, Allen, Lewis and Battier are all great shooters but when it comes to speed they are no match to the Spurs. The Heat does not need Carmelo. They already have the Big 3 they need the support of the other player (coming from the bench) and consistency. The Heats Big 3 is not getting any younger.

  100. Dirk says:

    Sorry, Lebron best in 2011? If you were on holiday and missed that series, check a stat sheet. If you were on holiday in Germany, ask a local. That’s just lazy journalism.

  101. Markus71 says:

    Why do U think He’s leaving Miami?

  102. Nba guru says:

    Isn’t it a contradiction that you say it’s an accomplishment to go to the Finals 4 years in a row but then go on to state how terrible the teams are in the East? The broken Pacers, defractured Rose, and the sub-par Wizards… Then aren’t you yourself discounting how “difficult” it was to manage that 4 consecutive year feat? I don’t know how else to interpret it.

  103. bballjunkie1 says:

    Excuse me defined? Lebron is already defined 5 championship appearances in 11 years with below average coaches, 3X MVP, 3X Finals MVP. Those that don’t like him because he got tired of a rerun movie (no plan, sighning the wrong players and having to do it all nite in nite out) playing in Cleveland, joined other players and brought championships to Miami so be it. They proved players or just as intelligent as inexperienced coaches, and coaches who are full of themselves
    Its Miami’s turn to put up or shut up. Coming out like some ganster pimp using language like coward, excuse me Riley u sound like a man that knows more should/could have been done ????

  104. KMIll says:

    I believe the author is wrong. Going back to Cleveland WOULD win over some of us who aren’t very big LeBron fans. I would be especially impressed if he apologized for the stupid “decision”.

    • k says:

      You do know he’s apologized for it multiple times…..

      • Judge Holden says:

        Of course people don’t know that. People cling to their hatred like it’s keeping them alive.

    • CHICAGO BULLS says:

      Lebron doesn’t care if you are impressed or not.

      Cavs are a joke of a franchise. Cleveland isn’t a very attractive city. Nobody would go there. Joakim knows. IF Lebron leaves, which he probably won’t, he’ll go to the clippers.

  105. Kimmy says:

    Good article. Lebron James will be criticised by the public no matter what choice he makes. That’s too bad.

  106. tanibanana says:

    I’m pretty sure, the trio will remain in Miami..
    The 4-years they stayed together produced a lot of accomplishments,
    A feat some Legends can only dream about.. 2-NBA Titles, 4-Conference Champs.
    That is enough reason for them to stay. But sadly the Heat need to rebuild; Point Guard & Center.
    And lastly, Bosh & Wade should realize they need to sacrifice a pay cut as well as LeBron.

  107. namcor says:

    Being a free agent won’t give you a third ring. You need to play with Tim, Tony and Manu. We will trade future hall of famer Cory Joseph for lbj (am i doing this right?)

  108. sedajames says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by “similar paths”. Garnett was 31, had already played 12 years for the Wolves, and most importantly was part of a blockbuster trade he didn’t force or request. LeBron left in his prime after only 6 years and left Cleveland empty handed and bound for the lottery by refusing to be upfront that he wasn’t going to return.

    If you want to make comparisons on how LeBron left Cleveland, the best one is how Shaq left Orlando. They both screwed over their teams and fans so they could chase titles they couldn’t win alone.

    And I’m happy to dispute with you that LeBron was the best individual player on the court. How about with start with his finals record for turnovers (7). That he was the only player who couldn’t perform in game 1 due to the broken AC. Or that he sat out the last 5-6 minutes of the final game because if he couldn’t win, he didn’t want to play.

    He was good, but hardly the best. Kawhi locked him down and had better all around numbers for three straight games.

    But you guys do love hyperbole, don’t you.

    • Judge Holden says:

      Garnett had actually made it pretty clear he wanted a trade to a contender.

      • Kstar says:

        No, he’s right about KG’s situation being completely different. What happened in Miami seemed more like collusion.

    • Knowledge says:

      Sat out the last 5-6 minutes of game 5? Are you serious? He was removed from the game by Spoelstra, players don’t take themselves out of games. Must be fun to see things only how you want to see them, and not how they actually are.

    • Marco29 says:

      You cannot blame LBJ alone for what happened in Cleveland. Its also tront office’s fault to let the situation come to the situation where he was a free agent and could decide to walk with then getting nothing in return. If they were not sure he would stick around, they should have traded to at least get something in return.
      Also, nobody in this league can win a tile by himself. MJ couldn’t, Shaq coudn’, Duncan coudn’t and LBJ can’t. Since Cas were not able to put a serious squad around him, he was right to go and join a team with more chances to win a tilte instead of wasting his prime;
      He didn’ have to make it the Decision and promise, not one, not two, etc… but the move itself was the right one.

      Now he is facing a new turning point and honestly, I think the window of opportunity of the Heat is closing now. DW and CB are no longer dominant players and Heat team has too many flaws (bench, PG, center and even SG with Allen retiring) to really be a contender in the future.
      Going back to the Cavs would be a nice story but it does not make much sense if he wants to win other rings.
      If he decides to leave, I would not blame if he does, he should go to Houston, Chicago (or maybe SA if Duncan retires).

    • jimi says:

      You are a hater you only look at one side. Lebron, in the last game in the finals, had 31pts 10 rebs 5 ast and 1 turnover he actually stepped up. Name me one player in finals history that has led his team in pts, rebs, asts, and steals in the series. There is only one Lebron James.; Yes he has his faults in the fourth sometimes, but take into consideration what he has to do on a nightly basis. Do you realize that tony parker in that last game was 0-10 when Lebron was on him. Then he switched to Kawhi Leonard and he went off.

      • Sonic says:

        Honestly, though, those shots Tony missed were pretty wide open and he usually hits those. He got a couple layups in the 4th, and then his jump shot started falling.

    • mikmaks says:

      leonard will be checked, just like other stars. when coaches and players look at him more. he doesn’t really have much moves. not even a head and shoulder fake. he either just go left or go right. his outside shots are not going to be that consistent. he was a little lucky last finals. LBJ was still the best player then. just that spurs was hitting all of their shots while miami wasn’t.

      • Kstar says:

        That’s ridiculous to say Kawhi was lucky. He’s a good player and young and will still improve. He was impressive defensively and aggressive offensively, shooting well from the perimeter and beating LeBron to the basket. But San Antonio is so good, that if he doesn’t do well, others can pick up the slack. LeBron is clearly better than Kawhi right now, though I would say Kawhi performed better the last three games. LeBron did terrible on the defensive end for the most part, and for LeBron, he didn’t really stay in attack mode much and tried to shoot 3’s instead. He also turned the ball over quite a bit. He was undoubtedly the best player on his team, but it most certainly wasn’t his most impressive performance in a series.

  109. Brad says:

    LeBron should go to Charlotte and help out MJ.

  110. EPaul says:

    If Lebron leaves to win more titles, his legacy will be tainted. It won’t be “the guy that worked for championships”, he’ll be “the guy that traded for championships”. I do believe that James wasn’t happy in Cleveland, beyond not winning a title. And that is why he left. But Miami has treated him well, and it’s only been four years. There’s no reason to leave, and only reasons to stay and battle another year or more. In addition, Wade and Bosh need to realize they aren’t worth nearly the money they’re going to get paid….they need to opt-out and take a lot less!

  111. Black Mamba says:

    Not sure what the writer is talking about saying the Spurs 5 rings came over the course of 17 years. Their first was in 1999, which is only 15 years ago. Check your facts!

  112. Brad says:

    due not doe

  113. Brad says:

    Dwayne Wade and Steve Nash need to retire doe to injuries.

  114. Jc says:

    This article realli said that Lebron was the best player on the 2011 Finals?

  115. Brad says:

    LeBron went to Miami to win titles. So much for the threepeat!

  116. LBJ all day says:

    Nice article. Right on the money.

  117. Kunjaymaster says:

    Clearly Wade and Bosh are the only ones not worth their money, and Lebron’s decision will be based on wether or not they agree to opt out and take less, to reload for the next 4 years. I’d be looking at a Luol Deng or a Trevor Ariza, a Gortat or a Pau Gasol, i mean this off season is loaded with unrestricted free agents.

  118. Ben says:

    Do the right thing and go home.

  119. timpson says:

    Let him leave the heat r done anyway.they want win anything else so just get some new faces in there and play ball wow how hard is that.

  120. Wade says:

    bs! lbj next decision was to take his family on vacation. that doesn’t define him by any mean. Next article!