The LeBron James saga isn't a big deal here in South Africa, but (for better or worse) it became such a big deal in the United States that we even did a promo for it during World Cup coverage. I don't care much about it from an NBA perspective, since I have no rooting interest in the league. I don't think I watched even a half of total NBA coverage this past season. I haven't read much about The Decision. It wasn't on TV here, and I was asleep anyway. But I am intrigued by the decision-making process of one of the best athletes I've ever seen, along with the implications of James stabbing a fanbase in the back by going to Miami.

I'm not necessarily saying that he should have stayed in Cleveland. The Cavaliers have proven that they don't know how to build a team around the most talented player in the league. Then again, it took the Bulls seven years to win a title with Michael Jordan (James just finished his 7th season). But from a pure basketball perspective, nothing made more sense than going to Chicago. He would have one of the best young point guards in the league (Derrick Rose), one of the best power forwards (Carlos Boozer), a very good role-playing center (Joakim Noah), a solid two-guard (Luol Deng), and a promising new coach (Tom Thibodeau). That would be the best starting five in the league, and there's decent talent filling out the roster as well. The only downside is that he will never be Michael Jordan in Chicago. He could win 10 titles there, and he'd never surpass the Jordan legacy.

But that argument can't be used as a reason for choosing Miami, which is Dwyane Wade's town. James will never own the city while Wade is there, and the Heat will never own the city the way the Bulls owned Chicago, which is an exponentially better sports town than Miami. Not to mention the basketball factor, as he's now on a team with three other players (Wade, Bosh, and Chalmers), a few draft picks, and almost no cap space. I'm not convinced that half a dozen minimum-salary guys can fill out a championship roster.

(On a side note, who's happier about all this than Chalmers? He's suddenly running point with two of the five best players in the league, and he owns the number 6 that LeBron wants. What's he going to get for that? A six-figure car? A second home? A small island?)

Putting on my amateur psychologist hat, look at the teams James allegedly roots for: Yankees, Bulls, Cowboys. Notice a common theme? They all had dynasties in the late 1990s, when James was an adolescent. He grew up in a sports-mad state, yet didn't root for any of the area teams. Admittedly, the mediocre Browns were gone for a few years, but the Cavaliers and Indians were consistently in the playoffs. To me, this says that James was missing a father. He didn't and doesn't have that invaluable male influence in his life, someone to teach him things both frivolous and serious, from sports teams to life lessons.

Now this paternal absence is rearing its ugly head again. Much like Tiger Woods since his father passed away, James lacks anyone who will tell him the unvarnished truth with no fear of repercussions. He's surrounded by lifelong friends, which is admirable on one hand and frightening on the other. None of these people appear to have the guts to be straight with him, for fear of losing their hanger-on status. They let him follow this seemingly ideal path to a glamorous Miami Beach lifestyle of fame and fortune without offering any true advice on loyalty or class.

I can hear the whole process...Hey, we should let all these NBA teams treat us like rock stars...then maybe we can get an hour-long special on ESPN to make the announcement...we'll even give the money to charity to look good...you didn't get recruited to college...we deserve all this...who needs Cleveland...they never respected you anyway...let's go party in Miami! Faaaaantastic.

When James played for Cleveland, people outside of Ohio rooted for him (or at least the team). It was a great potential story: Ohio kid grows up to break the Cleveland Curse and lead the hometown Cavaliers to multiple NBA titles. Now what? He's going to a two-decade old team with minimal history in a middling sports town. Outside of Miami, who's going to root for him? NOBODY! Michael Jordan and the Bulls sucked in casual fans from around the country (like me), and James was going down the road. I've watched playoff games simply because he's playing, for the possibility of seeing him do something great. James won't do that in Miami. This whole ridiculous process will make people actively root against him. I hope he fails miserably.

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