LeBron James announced his decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers this morning. The story is big news, because, well, it’s really weird. Analysts agree that he’d have a far better chance of winning by remaining with the Heat. He said in the Sports Illustrated article where he announced his decision that he really wanted to go home. But James spends his offseason in Ohio. And he is going to spend so much time on the road even as a resident.
For whatever the reason, NBA stars have the biggest egos in team sports. Perhaps it’s because one good player can turn a doormat into a contender. If you look at how James handled the decision, he waited eleven days to announce it knowing that no one else would make free agency moves until he decided. He didn’t seem to care that he was messing with several other player’s millions. It would make sense if he was still legitimately deciding, but since he announced his decision in a Sports Illustrated article, he knew several days in advance what he was going to do.
I think there’s a bigger decision for him and his ego and that’s one of legacy. Twenty-one offseasons ago Michael Jordan made a big career move of his own. He retired to play baseball, a sport he sucked at. He had won three straight championships with no end in sight, but decided it was time for a change. Maybe guys like Jordan and James realize that no matter how many championships they have, they’ll never reach Bill Russell’s eleven. Instead they need to create a career arc that is interesting enough to be the subject of a documentary and that story can be their legacy. And if that’s the case, LeBron James is making one hell of a documentary.