Kingdom Lease? Lebron James not Staying In Cleveland for Long Haul?

It’s official. In storybook fashion Lebron James, the king, has returned to the kingdom he left behind four years ago. While Clevelanders welcome back James with aspirations that he will finally bring a championship to the city of Cleveland for the first time in over 60 years there is a sign that this fantasy may not last too long.

Lebron James is returning to Cleveland to try to bring a championship to his home city but doesn’t have a long-term commitment to the city. His new contract with the Cavaliers is 42.1 million over two seasons. The length of this contract brings up an interesting point. Is Lebron looking to win and run?

Cleveland Time Share?

Cleveland Time Share?

Listen Cleveland, it’s great that Lebron is back but his lack of commitment to a long-term deal proves that he will be weighing his options once again in two years. My prediction? Lebron is hoping he can win a title in two years, get the title monkey off his back in his hometown, and then see if there is a better team outside of Cleveland after two years.

See if Lebron really wanted to win multiple titles for Cleveland he would have signed a longer deal. He’s basically saying Cleveland I want to date you, but don’t want to marry you. If James can bring a title home, it will help his national image that he deserted his former team. Plus if he wins a title in Cleveland, can they really be upset? They will finally have the championship they covet so much and Lebron has given it to them. Why would Lebron only sign a two-year deal? I think he has his eye on one team in particular and is waiting to see what they do.

Lebron James is one of the biggest brands in sports. So why not go to the media capital of the world? With Carmelo Anthony returning to the Knicks the dream of Lebron to play with Melo could happen in two years. James maybe waiting to see what Phil Jackson does as a general manager and how the Knicks will handle next years free agency with the cap space they will have after unloading some of their bad contracts. If the Knicks can get a big piece in free agency next year, say Kevin Love, then it would be very difficult for Lebron to turn down a team with that much talent and in such a big market.

Listen, Cleveland is a young team. It may take a few years until this team is truly a title contender. If the maturation process takes too long Lebron may decide that it is time to go to a team that can win now. If Phil Jackson can build a great team around Carmelo Anthony in New York and Cleveland struggles to bring in other pieces, Lebron may break the heart of northern Ohio once again.

In two years I predict that Lebron James will look to go to New York after two seasons in Cleveland, especially if he can win a title with the Cavaliers. The two-year contract just proves that Lebron will always be looking for the team that he feels will help him win championships.

 

Can they be stopped? When will the Heat’s reign end?

The Big Three now go for the three peat

The Big Three now go for the three peat

The 2013-2014 NBA season has many captivating story lines. Derrick Rose’s injury, Kobe’s bout against father time, and Eastern Conference’s futility. Still, no NBA team is stirring up more controversy and headlines then a certain team from South Beach. The NBA’s evil empire, the Miami Heat.

With the opportunity to three peat as champions and join some of the league’s most storied teams, the heat is on in Miami. The question is can a David step up and topple the mighty Goliath? Can any team upset the Heat and spoil their quest of dominance? The reloaded Nets and the Bulls struggles have many doubting their ability to knock King James of his throne. Can a team from the Wild West such as the Thunder, Clippers, or Spurs be able to shock the Big Three? Without question the Heat are the lightning rod for attention in the NBA.

Whether its Lebron’s legacy, the team’s health, it’s fans, or just the animosity that no other team seems to get attention in the NBA, the Heat are the logical focal point. It’s understandable why this team is hated so much. The best player in the NBA leaves his hometown team and community to create an all-star team just to win championships. Theres the constant media attention where the top NBA story always involves Miami. It doesn’t matter if Kevin Durant drops 50 points for the Thunder because ESPN  needs to analyze James’ supporting cast for the hundredth time. Miami is despised for having the worst fans in sports, who only either care about the team when they are winning or are so spoiled because they have jumped on the best team bandwagon. Heat fans are always complaining for no good reason! Why? Now idea, they’ve won three championships in a decade so what’s the problem? However, the biggest reason the Heat are hated is because they are the best.

They have Lebron James, and your team doesn’t. Their arrogance and cockiness about being the best team drives NBA fans crazy. This team just thinks it will be a breeze to win another championship. However, I think there is another thing at play here. People still love Michael Jordan. The fact that Lebron is threatening what many claim is the NBA’s greatest legacy strikes a nerve within die-hard NBA fans. Then you hear the criticism and laundry list of reasons why Lebron James will never surpass his Airness. The points, position, competition, the list goes on and on and on. The fact that Lebron threatens one of if not the most beloved player in NBA history, and the way he has achieved his success, just riles up Jordan supporters who will try to find any flaws within James’ game. However, there is no question that right now there is no better player in the NBA.

The question shouldn’t be if Lebron James is the best player in the NBA, he is, but is there a basketball team that is constructed better than the Heat right now? Is there such a team whose sum of parts will equal a greater team then the Heat? Obviously, Lebron skews this equation by being the best player in the game, but is there a roster whose depth and overall talent can expose the Heat’s flaws of being a team built on three players? These are the questions that teams in the NBA must answer. I think there is such a team. With so much talent in the NBA and a few teams with loaded and lethal rosters, it might be when not if the Heat are eliminated from contention this year. Will Lebron hoist his third trophy, or will some other superstar begin their own Hall of Fame legacy? We await with bated breath to find out if the King will get another ring, or if his mighty empire will be failed be a worth adversary.

Why Michael Jordan’s legacy is already greater than Lebron James

Throughout these NBA Finals I’ve been getting sick of the constant Lebron James and Michael Jordan debates about who will have the better legacy. While Lebron still has many more chapters to write for his legacy, the Jordan legacy is one of if not the greatest athletic legacy of all time. While these analysts will throw out statistics and try to analytically compare these two icons, Jordan’s legacy goes beyond the basketball court. While this debate will probably never end here are five reasons why Michael Jordan’s legacy is greater than Lebron James will be.

5) College glory

Unlike Lebron, Jordan has a National Championship on his legacy

Unlike Lebron, Jordan has a National Championship on his legacy

This one is a quick and one-sided debate. Since Lebron James never attended college he never had the chance to leave a legacy on college basketball. However, Jordan did. As a freshman, he made the winning shot against Georgetown to win the National Championship in 1982. With Jordan, the Tar Heels helped to build one of the best programs in college basketball which continues today. While Lebron supporters will say that it is more impressive to go from high school to the NBA, Jordan had one of the greatest college basketball careers and has added bonus points to his resume. Only a handful of players have made such an impact in both the NCAA and the NBA, and Jordan is one of them.

4) Hometown Hero

"The Decision" will always be a negative aspect of James' career

“The Decision” will always be a negative aspect of James’ career

Why is Lebron James hated so much? Well when you embarrass your hometown on national television people will tend to think you’re a jerk.  “The Decision”  which aired on June 8, 2o10 on ESPN is one decision that Lebron James wishes he could change. Not necessarily joining the Heat, but how he handled the whole situation. Instead of just having it announced like any other athlete, he decided to torture the Cleveland faithful even more by giving them just a glimmer of hope that he’d return only to take it away in an instant. Also it doesn’t help when you say that you made the decision that morning. Doesn’t look like you put that much effort into it. Personally I don’t think that going to the Heat instead of playing Cleveland should hurt Lebron’s legacy. However, Jordan did stay with one team and did win for the hometown team instead of leaving. For me though I think just how he handled the decision and turn it into a publicity stunt will hurt his legacy more in the long-run then actually leaving Cleveland.

3) Jordan’s impressive 6-0

Jordan's perfect tile record is one thing James will never be able to accomplish

Jordan’s perfect tile record is one thing James will never be able to accomplish

If Michael Jordan was a movie he’d be known as The Lord of the Rings. While he may not have the most rings, there is no question that his perfect NBA title record is unmatched. While you could possibly beat Jordan any other time of the year, when the lights where brightest and it was the final minute of the season, you had no chance. Jordan was clutch, and being able to go to six championships and win six rings in an amazing accomplishment. Heck if Jordan didn’t take off to play baseball he could have probably added another ring or two to his trophy case. Unfortunately for James, his 1 for 3 NBA finals record makes this is an easy win for Jordan. Even if James can pull out a title this season he’ll only would have won 50% of his NBA title shots. Sorry Lebron, Jordan’s got you beat here.

2) His Royal Airness

Jordan is just as big of a winner off the court as on the court.

Jordan is just as big of a winner off the court as on the court.

Jordans. Just saying that jars up the jump man image on the side of a sweet pair of sneakers. The “Air Jordan” brand has become a world-wide icon and cements Micheal Jordan as the most marketable athlete in history. James doesn’t have his own brand and will probably never come close to establishing a brand like Jordan has. Beyond the Jordan brand, while James will probably make more money off of endorsements then Jordan, his airness did create the market for modern-day stars. Jordan was a trailblazer for sports marketing and has allowed for athletes to get the endorsements they do to this day. Jordan’s impact is incredible when you realize how he’s become integrated into modern-day culture. Even today he is still a marketing juggernaut even after stepping off the hardwood more than a decade ago. Think about it Jordans, McDonald’s, Hanes, Gatorade, Coca Cola, Ball Park Franks, Wheaties and Chevrolet. Chances are you still have a favorite MJ commercial you remember and that you’ve seen all of his commercials from these brands. As for James, his only commercials are with Nike and his most memorable one is when he had this pity party commercial because people now looked at him as the villain. Sorry James MJ wins with impact, volume, variety, and doesn’t whine when it comes to his commercials. Also the man played with Bug Bunny in Space Jam! Seriously every kid I know has seen that movie. Have you played basketball with a world-famous cartoon character? Nope didn’t think so Lebron.  Click here for a trip down memory lane.

1 ) Coming through in the clutch

Now one was a better closer then 23

Now one was a better closer then 23

Game 7, clock about to expire, your team needs a basket who do you give the ball to? I’m betting that if you could choose any player to take the winning shot, it would be Jordan. This basket at the end of the 99 Finals is one of those moments when Jordan came through in the clutch. In the face of adversity Jordan always seemed to come up big. Whether it was game winning shots, dunks, or being able to overcome the flu (click here), Jordan’s career was filled with coming through in the biggest moments. James, on the other hand, has come up short in big spots. Sure he had the game winner against the Pacers this year, but other than the game winner in Cleveland a few years ago what has he done? Not only has Jordan created more clutch moments but, but he’s done it on the biggest stage in the finals. Has Lebron made any memorable plays in the finals? Jordan has, heck you could have a highlight show of all his memorable moments in the finals. In the end there is no question that when you want a game winning basket, you’re giving the rock to Jordan.

While I still find it difficult to pick between these two players, they’re both very different players in very different eras, in the end of the Jordan versus James debate it is clear that Jordan is the clear winner. Sure Lebron could break his scoring records and even title wins, but at the end of the day no player had a greater impact on the game of basketball then Michael Jordan. While statistically both these men are very close, and you could argue Lebron is superior, when you combine all of the other factors MJ is the clear victor. No athlete has had such an impact both on and off the court as Jordan has. While Lebron may truly end up being the king, there is no question that Jordan will always be the greatest.

Thunderstruck: Durant loses his thunder

Once again Durant will be haunted by another season without a title

Once again Durant will be haunted by another season without a title

Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the NBA today, period. However, he can never seem to get out of the shadows and into the limelight. When drafted, he was the number two pick after Greg Oden, and at the time considered the second best college basketball. Fast forward to 2013, and once again Durant is still number two behind the King, Lebron James. Unfortunately for Durant, no matter how many points he scores, or how many wins he brings to Oklahoma City he will never truly be inducted into the NBA’s elite until he wins a championship. It’s unfortunate, but even Lebron James went through the same thing. Lebron would have never been considered one of the greats until he won a championship. Now that the King has accomplished that, and will probably add another trophy to his hardware this season, he  is without question considered one of the greatest. For Durant he must win a championship to solidify his greatness. We can now say that Lebron James is truly one of the greats, however we can’t say that about Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, or Dwight Howard because they don’t have a ring. Is it unfair? Yes, but winning a championship is the finally piece of cementing a lasting legacy in the NBA. Look at Charles Barkley, undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball players ever, but will never be considered one of the best because he doesn’t have a ring.

Until Durant has a ring, he will be excluded from the NBAs elite club

Until Durant has a ring, he will be excluded from the NBA elite club 

The thing that worries me is that Durant has embraced the fact that he’s the Thunder’s star. He’s to0 eager to pass to his teammates in big situations instead of manning up and proclaiming that this is my team, I’m taking these important shots! Listen, I’m not saying that Durant didn’t have a good playoff series, but if he wants to be an elite player in this league he needs to step up his game especially in difficult situations. If it’s the end of a game and the Thunder need a big shot, he shouldn’t be looking at his teammates to take those shots, but demand the ball. By winning a ring, it proves that Durant overcame his trial by fire and deserves to be included in basketball’s elite club. Without question, Kevin Durant is one of the best in the game today. But, if he wants to be an NBA legend he needs to take his game to the next level and bring home a ring to Oklahoma City. This reminds me of a great quote from the Sandlot; “heroes get remembered but legends never die”. For Kevin Durant he can no longer be complacent with being the second best player in the NBA. He needs a ring if he wants to be one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood!