Lebron James: Legacy vs Wins

Yesterday while watching the news from my couch,  the news was on and just as they were going to commercial break I hear…. “Breaking News, Lebron James has decided to go sign with the Cavs”.  Instantly but not so instantly, my response was “But what about three… four… five… six… seven?????”.  I have a feeling that somewhere in America, Michael Jordan is high-fiving Scottie Pippen.  After a long tenure as “King of South Beach” this “King” is going home.

His decision was swifter and less flamboyant than what I would call “Jamesgate”. My first thoughts were obviously this is damage control. Let’s be serious, when he left home they made music videos, commercials, and eventually burned his jersey.  Who knows what would happen in Miami, a place where he helped his team win repeated chips. Gauging from the blog posts and comments, it would seem that Miami is a “classy” place as some posters and commenters would put it.  Yes, there are the few that are biased and there are those “band-wagoner’s” willing to root for James if he played for the Niagara Rafts… Yet for the most part they were thankful for what he did for their team.

That is one of the few places I can, not see error in their ways. Let’s face it, he did help Miami win repeatedly and he was an amazing factor on their team. I am not here for that though; I am here because I read through and between the lines and quite frankly I want to know when did Lebron’s focus/agenda go from wins to legacy.  The way I see it, the name of this game is Wins vs. Legacy. I spoke to a couple of my good friends who follow sports more than I do and its interesting to get their take on what James has done. They both had the same harking end result he is in rebuilding mode for his legacy.

My question to anyone reading is why Cleveland? Then I am answered with, “it is because it is his home.”  Then I was directed to an open letter that was penned by Lebron explaining his return to Cleveland. He wants to return home to lead and mold his team into what they “should” be and I put should in quotations because there is no should with the King in my opinion.  That is all well and good on paper, but what I was told by both of my good friends was that they viewed him as  a “stimulus package” for Cleveland. We agreed that were on the same page and I have the perfect solution to making this palatable.

King James should be a king and decree that in his absence the total revenue lost at Cleveland should be tallied and he shall only be paid the bare minimum by league standards until his debt to his “province” is squared. Before anyone decides to complain that he needs to get paid, please shut your face. This man made $90 million before he played his first game. I’m pretty sure he is living off the interest of that alone not to mention his endorsements and tax write offs and yada yada yada.  Remember this man is not just a ball player, but he is a brand.

If you haven’t been keeping score all ball players are brands.  Keep in mind these branded gentlemen are getting paid ridiculous amounts of money for something that men and women partake of everyday as a recreational activity.  Next comes the age-old question, “would Lebron do it for the love of the game?”  Being a musician, my second friend asked me if I would perform for free, make music for free, so on and so forth. My reply to him was, I am doing it now for free.

Given, at this stage I am establishing my brand and admittedly, I am starting to think more and more about the monetary aspect of what I do.  However, one thing I can say is that through it all I cannot miss something I’ve never had. For instance, if I was signed to a major record label and we had a successful run,  but then we started to lose steam and lose sales, we would need to figure out what’s the next move. Typically the label could either cut me or put me on the shelf, while my choices would be to either switch labels or go independent. However, our long standing relationship isn’t to be ignored. What we really need is to sit down, focus on our strengths, cut our weaknesses and begin to rebuild. No running, no switching. This is how legacies are built and continue to thrive. Lebron keeps running and switching.

Now back to this move for Mr. James. I told my friend it would tarnish his brand, which in reality it probably won’t because Cleveland will welcome him back with open arms.  It just sucks that when a whole state wouldn’t give up on you and you decide to go to win in another state then when its time for you to make a new move you decide to go back home.  If it was up to me I wouldn’t take you back at all, we don’t need you we don’t want you.  So in order to spurn this spark from becoming a fire what do you do?  You write and open letter.

Great!! This man is genius. In this open letter he compares going to Miami like going to college.  That is grossly annoying. I went to college didn’t win any kind of championships there. I guess he’s trying to synthesize it as a learning experience. That’s cool. Jay Z has a line that always reverberates with me every time I hear it. “F–k the NCAA N—-/ Let a young N—- get paid N—-/”.  As always Mr. Carter is always spot on.  These young men play their hearts out in these tourneys and for what? To have a menial shot of making it to the pros?  Now what they play for a “full ride”?  What about those that don’t have a full ride? Even better what about those that don’t have a shot at the league.  They’ve played their hearts out. Some get injured, some graduate, few go to the league, and others either get jobs making nowhere near they would if they were getting paid and others get nothing at all.

Meanwhile the money that’s made off of their backs is insane.  Coaches are paid seven figures with bonuses, add ons, sponsorships and donations from alumni given to the schools.  So who is really  winning is it the players or the schools? As this debate continues to rage on, we all know the answer to that question.  At any rate “King James” is going back to Cleveland and word is that they have acquired another big name player in Kevin Love.  In a world of instant gratification, we are losing sight of the long lost art of finishing what you started.

Using Jordan as an example is senseless because he won a number of championships with the Chicago Bulls during his tenure. Even though he retired for family reasons, and baseball, he  always played for the same team. This is long a forgotten art. Nowadays the name of the game is,  “I want to go where the winners are and win.”  Much love to the players that stay on a team because they are a cohesive unit with their teammate and their fans, win or lose.  I was asked by my friend if given the opportunity to have Lebron on my team would I take him. I replied no I would rather have Kahwi Leonard.  I was then bashed with statements such as the devil is a lie and he is nowhere near Lebron. Yes I understand this fully, but Kahwi is great team player and that is why I would rather have him.

If I wanted to be a Lebron fan I would rather him play golf or be a bowler. These are sports where solely one person is responsible for their win or loss.  LeBron’s sport is basketball and is meant to be a team game.  He is not my cup of tea just plain and simple. The man can ball let’s not get it confused, however his style of play doesn’t match the mentality he brings to the game. He get’s compared to Magic Johnson, team player, makes others around him better, etc. However, his approach is selfish, “If we don’t win I’m taking my ball and going home.”

I ask you again, when did it become Legacy vs. Wins? Going home to repair your legacy is all-fine and good. My problem with it, is don’t write an open letter giving an explanation for your move. (Damage Control) If he felt the need to write one, this is how his open letter should have looked.
Dear Cleveland

I apologize for leaving in search of something that I could have attained if I would have just stayed at home and built and built and built.  Given the fact that I am the franchise player and have more power than I imagined ,I could have done everything in my power to bring all the components here.  This is what I plan to do now. Please allow me to play for y’all once again. I was blinded by the allure of winning. To make it up to every man, woman, and child that has believed in me, I will play for the league minimum as reparations for the loss of revenue in my absence.  While my motives were less than kingly I want to get back to the basics and be the king that not only you, but I know I can be.  Please let me back in, not to rule but to help our kingdom flourish.

Your Prodigal King
“King James”

Mr. Refined™

Marc is the Founder of Mr. Refined. Marc has an appreciation for high street style aesthetics and high end luxury. His vision is to expose men to the fine art of combining both in a way that isn't cliché as a revival of the Harlem Renaissance Man.

1 Comment

  • Reply July 14, 2014

    Ronda Lee

    Being a Chicago native, please stop comparing LeBron and current players to Jordan. Jordan is synonymous with basketball. He is a living legend, something myths are made of. Now that I have cleared that up, let’s move on to the Win vs Legacy and love of the game analysis. I disagree with you on both points. First, I grew up with Jordan and the old school greats (Spud Webb, Dominique, Clyde, Bird, Mailman, etc). Back in the day, it was magic. No matter what team you called your own, you watched other games because you knew the guys were playing 100%. You can’t compare that generation of basketball to today’s generation. I regret that today’s players seem to lack the heart and love of the game as in the “golden era.” I also feel the accolades they receive is not justified when most have not proved themselves. I am old school so show me your hard work.

    Also remember that Jordan was not the highest paid basketball player when he played the game. His money came from building his brand. Salaries that okay players receive today was not heard of back then. Let us not forget that the rules have changed for the better for players, such that they can negotiate their worth. If the options that are available to LeBron, Melo, and Howard existed then, it would be foolish to think that a Dream Team would not have been created in the league before the 1992 Olympics.

    Lastly, this is a business. Whatever your profession, you are a brand and a commodity. Lawyers, accountants, brokers, and other professionals switch firms and take their clients with them. No one gets mad. It is a business decision. Whether or not it is for more money, quality of life, or personal reasons does not matter. Regardless of your salary, everyone has the same worry of how will I take care of myself and family especially as I age. This is a reality for athletes in baseball, football, and basketball because it is not a career that you retire at 60. Athletes have a short shelf life, especially if you are just average or sidelined by injury. The money you make in 3-10 years is what you have to live off of the rest of your life. Athletes going broke is not a cliche. So please spare me with the you’re upset he switched. This was a career decision. He wants to make a change for whatever reason. The only question that needs to be asked is whether Cleveland or Miami got their money’s worth. The answer h*ll yeah! Here’s a comparison to Jordan that LeBron deserves. Jordan was the reason that Chicago had an economic uptick. The Jordan factor had wealthy suburbanites move back to the city and invest in bad neighborhoods and schools. Tourists came for the Jordan factor. If you watch ESPN, you know very well the economic boost Cleveland and Miami received from the LeBron factor. LeBron’s announcement of returning to Cleveland had an immediate impact.

    Don’t get mad at LeBron. Don’t hate the player, hate the NBA. Like other companies who’ve forgotten about employee loyalty and discard faithful and hardworking employees, let us not pretend like just because these players make a lot of money their workplace environment is not similar to ours – Donald Sterling.

    Please people stop hating LeBron for switching as if you would not do the same. Yes I said and I will say it again. Lay off LeBron. To end this, let’s all pray for Derrick Rose to be healthy so Chicago can put all this to rest and bring home a championship. Welcome Gasol. Yup, I live in NYC, but I am still a White Sox and Bulls fan. If you disagree, we can talk about it over Chicago style stuffed pizza. I double dog dare you!

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