when good isn’t good enough

Posted on March 10, 2012


LeBron James

As a student and a keen observer of basketball, I have had some burning questions and thoughts that I needed to ask. These questions/thoughts probably don’t even have any direct answers. I just feel they needed to be asked/shared to perhaps start an intelligent conversation and more than anything for me to clear my head by seeing them in writing. So here it goes…

In professional sports the athlete is the product. That product is poked, prodded and presented to the masses on a nightly basis. If the product is not good enough, he is let go very quickly. There is rarely any loyalty to that product. However, we live in a world where it is assumed that the product SHOULD be loyal to the owner and the masses that watch.

Is it only because the spotlight is on the product nightly and the owner is in the background? Or is it because that is how it has always been done, so anything against the status quo is treated with venom and heavy scrutiny?

If the product is marketing himself, in order to maximize HIS earning potential in a limited window of opportunity, does that automatically make him a villain? Do we not live in the world of 1% versus the 99%? Isn’t the product, regardless of the millions he racks, still in the 99% versus the owner who writes his check?

Why is it that LeBron (product) leaving Cleveland treated with such venom from the owner (Dan Gilbert)? Or even the masses (the fans and media)?

Is it because he chose to make the “Decision” on ESPN with an approximately 10million people watching and earned over $4 million in an hour? Or is it because he only donated $2 million of it to charity and pocketed the other $2 million before even signing a deal with any team?

Is it because no one in professional sports has ever come up with such an idea to maximize his free agency and earning potential beyond the scope of the respective sport?

Is it because for one night the product made the owner feel helpless and completely out of control? Does the owner fear exclusivity is maybe a thing of the past because the product is beginning to understand the BUSINESS of sport, à la Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods?

Did Kevin Garnett give up his PRIME because he was “loyal” to the Timberwolves and Is Nash doing the same thing now?

Did LeBron owe his whole career to Cleveland and an ownership/management that continuously failed in building a contender?

Was LeBron hated “pre-decision”? Could you hate someone with 2 MVPs on a team with an extremely limited talent level that overachieved and won 60+ games TWICE  with Mike Brown as the coach and Mo Williams the only other All-Star to show for it?

Without the “decision” would we even know who Adrian Wojnarowski is? OR would Skip Bayless basically have his own segment on 1st & 10?

Is winning a championship the ONLY way to be considered a great player and a teammate? Were Elgin Baylor, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, John Stockton and many others ALL failures as legitimate first ballot hall of famers?

Is Miami the ONLY team to ever have two superstars with one star?

Are Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh considered clutch? Did they not lose the championship last year to the extremely HOT Dallas Mavericks? Didn’t the Mavs sweep Kobe and the defending champs Los Angeles Lakers AND cause a “rift” between Durant and Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder?

Does clutch ONLY mean taking and making the last shot or does it mean making the RIGHT play, no matter what the clock says? Are certain RIGHT plays valued less than others? What is a RIGHT play?

Did his pass to Udonis Haslem in the waning seconds of the UTAH Jazz game RIGHT after the All-Star game PROVE that he’s afraid to take the last shot? Did MJ NOT pass to John Paxon and Steve Kerr in the FINALS? Is instilling confidence in your role players a BAD thing especially in a meaningless regular season game? Does it matter that Udonis Haslem has hit those same shots to win games before on passes FROM LeBron?

Does winning one in the case of Wade forever make him untouchable in the clutch talks? Will that happen if LeBron wins but without having a lucky “clutch” moment?

Why are the HEAT more favored to win the championship than the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks this year? What if the Heat win 4-0 with all blowouts in the finals this year and LeBron gets the Finals MVP, does that make him clutch?

Is Carmelo Anthony considered clutch? What has he won again?

Is Robert Horry the most clutch player to ever play the game? Do his 7 rings value more than Wade’s 1 or Olajuwon’s 2 or even Shaq’s 4? Would you rather have Horry’s career or LeBron’s career?

Is emulating and being an obsessed clone of someone else the ONLY way to garner respect in basketball?

No room for LeBron?

Are sports immune to maturity and the maturing process? Does having millions of dollars automatically teach you how to be a man?

Have there EVER been reports of LeBron being a terrible teammate? Is he selfish? Can you be a superstar and NOT be selfish to some extent?

Has there ever been a more successful 27 year old in Team Sports? Has there ever been an athlete who was dubbed “The Chosen One” in High School and succeeded to this extent?

Is LeBron the Alex Rodriguez of Basketball?

Is #BlameitonLeBron a REAL thing happening in the media? Wasn’t it Dwayne Wade in the All-Star game, who fumbled a perfect pass out of bounds from LeBron that would have given the East their first lead, in the last minute? Wasn’t it Kobe, that missed the free-throw that would have put West up by 3? Didn’t Melo and Deron WIlliams miss game winning 3’s from perfect passes by LeBron?

Wouldn’t Tom Thibodeau (great coach) design a play that had LeBron NOT shooting the last shot (especially after that turnover)because he wants the LeBron “non-clutch” talks to continue?

Don’t all GREAT coaches play “chess not checkers”? And didn’t Tibs do exactly that, by putting more negativity on LeBron’s shoulders going into the second half of the season, battling for the best record in the east?

Are we REALLY talking about the All-Star game in a serious manner?

Would taking and making the LAST shot in a meaningless All-Star game make LeBron’s “un-clutch” legacy go away? Is that all it takes for the masses to stop or even BEGIN to stop the hate? Because if it is then was it ever really justified?

As a rival in the business and sports world wouldn’t Kobe say, “why didn’t you shoot” knowing he’s miced-up to add on to the “non-clutch” talks?

Is LeBron hovering close to perfection with averages of 27PPG, 7APG, 8RPG, 1.8 SPG, 54%FG, 41% 3pt and 32.42 PER this year?

Would it even matter IF that’s the highest PER ever recorded and beats MJ’s best season?

Is LeBron the perfect basketball ATHLETE? Does he need to be the perfect basketball PLAYER?

What is perfection in terms of basketball? Is it Kobe’s almost robotic obsession with the game? Is it Michael Jordan’s ultra-competitive nature? Is that the ONLY way of achieving “perfection”?

Will LeBron ever be considered a success if he only wins 1 ring, 2 rings, 3 rings or even 8 IF they ALL came with Wade and Bosh?

Would LeBron have been loved more because he was “loyal” and stayed with the Cavs to perhaps NEVER win a ring? Or were the masses just waiting on for LeBron James to make a “mistake” because he had succeeded and exceeded expectations coming out of high school in business and basketball?

OR the BIGGEST question of them all…Is LeBron James just afraid of the MOMENT?

Isn’t LeBron the PRIME example of the YouTube, Social Media and ESPN created hype that has actually lived to substance? Hasn’t LeBron been in the moment since he was 16?

The Chosen One

Didn’t he leave a small market team to go to a bigger market, just to be in THE MOMENT all the time? How can someone put himself under SO much pressure willingly and not LOVE the moment?

Are we just missing out on appreciating a transcendent product because the masses and the owners are unhappy over a “decision”?

mE –Sunny Saini


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