ESPN and Newsday reported late Wednesday night that multiple sources were indicating that LeBron James has decided to join fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, forming a super team with all kinds of interesting subplots for the coming season.
Can the Heat contend for a title with three of the best players in the NBA and a collection of cheap replacement-level players?
Can James, Wade and Bosh co-exist, sharing the ball and the credit without their egos getting in the way?
Will the team’s alpha dog be James or Wade? Chris Bosh is automatically penciled in as the third wheel. There can only be one alpha dog if the three players want this experiment to work. Wade has the history and established fan base in Miami. I don’t see LeBron becoming the new king of Miami as long as Wade is there.
And that’s the reason I don’t see this as a viable option. LeBron James has never had to share the spotlight before. Now he’ll be ceding the majority of the glory and adulation to a player who is close to his equal in talent and his superior in charisma. Maybe James really is all about winning and he’s willing to give up his alpha dog statushe has spent his entire life cultivating for the chance to win multiple championships. I just don’t see a pattern of that kind of behavior in James’ life up to this point. If he’s willing and able to do that, credit goes to him.
James has to understand that if he goes to Miami and the Heat win a championship or multiple championships, he will never be viewed as he wants to be. He won’t ever come close to overtaking Michael Jordan for the distinction of greatest player ever. And I believe that is still very important to him. If it is, going to Miami is a mistake. Dwyane Wade has already won a title there. If the Heat win more championships, it won’t be perceived as LeBron leading a team to a title the way we look at the Bulls’ six championships as Jordan leading his team to six titles. LeBron will never have that in Miami.
If LeBron values his “brand” and wants to establish a true legacy, if he wants the chance to try and surpass Jordan, he can’t go to Miami. He has to stay in Cleveland and take the Cavaliers to multiple championships. He could possibly challenge Jordan’s legacy if he plays in Chicago. Because the Bulls have been so bad since Jordan left, if LeBron came in and won more championships for the Windy City, the perception would be that LeBron led the Bulls back to glory regardless of the talent level around him. He could infringe on Jordan’s legacy that way. New York? Definitely. Win some championships in New York and all the glory goes to LeBron. I don’t think the Nets or Clippers are in the conversation so I won’t go there.
If LeBron chooses Miami tonight, it will signal that LeBron values winning more than his personal glory or legacy. That would be honorable and deserving of respect. I just don’t think LeBron is wired that way, which is why I wonder if these “sources” have been set up as a very convincing bluff.