In yet another example of ESPN completely destroying all that is sacred about sports, we will be "witness" to Lebron James' free agent destination decision tonight in a one hour special on ESPN. Rather than repeat what was so eloquently written on Deadspin, I will add one more thought to this ridiculous media frenzy. In my opinion, the only way Lebron saves face is if he goes back to Cleveland.
We all know that Cleveland is one of the worst cities in the country. Moreover, Ohio is one of the worst states in the country. I would not blame Lebron at all if he took his one chance and high-tailed out of that stinking trash heap as fast as he could. However, that would be taking the easy way out. The only way Lebron will look like a main is if he sticks it out.
The Cavs completely whiffed this offseason. Chris Bosh basically put Cleveland in its place by saying that he would rather stay in Toronto than go to Cleveland. That hurts. Furthermore, Cleveland couldn't make a deal for any other running mate for Lebron. Even Lebron himself tried to sway some players to come to Cleveland, but nobody came. What does this say about Lebron as a leader and an influencer?
If Lebron leaves, that puts a wrap on the city of Cleveland. That place is done. However, if he stays he can save the city. Moreover, by not teaming up with other superstars he can prove that he is "The King" by winning a championship in his hometown. Easier said than done obviously, and it may never happen, but this is the only way Lebron doesn't look like a douche in this whole situation.
If Lebron does go somewhere else, it basically says that he is a bitch. If he goes to Miami with Bosh and Wade, rings will be plentiful. However, it basically means that Lebron is Dwyane Wade's bitch. What Lebron couldn't get done in Cleveland, Wade will have done in Miami. No shame in going to where you have a chance to win titles, but you ought to change your name to "Queen James" if you do.
If Lebron goes to New York, he would become a larger than life icon, but he would still have to suffer the weight of destroying a city, and essentially admitting that he couldn't get it done as the main guy in Cleveland. The same is true if he goes to Chicago or New Jersey. If he went to the Clippers, I would stand up and applaud. This is extremely unlikely though. The only way King James remains King James is if he finishes what he started in Cleveland.
Sure Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen, but he basically willed the Bulls to all of their championships in the 90s. Lebron needs to do the same in Cleveland if he wants to remain a respected player in the NBA. Any other decision (except for the Clips) immediately turns Lebron into the biggest villain in all of basketball. Be a man Lebron, stay at home.