“It’s not fair!” whine lazy washed-up sportswriters like ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons. But when LeBron James announced on national television that he was joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat my favorite team made itself an instant dynasty.
LeBron had already been hammered for making his decision on a one hour special on ESPN. But the program was the most riveting television I’d ever seen. Jim Gray was asking LeBron the most inane questions such as “Do you still bite your nails?” which was leading to me biting into my cuticles before finally asking which city LeBron was headed toward. Until he said South Beach I was sitting on a part of my seat that had only been used since I still considered Lost a good television show.
LeBron’s getting criticized for leaving his home state team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. But come on, he’s going to stay in a franchise run by nincompoops in a city that’s ten years from officially becoming a ghost town just because he was forced to work there seven years earlier? Cleveland’s a city most famous for its lake going on fire and whose major cultural attractions are Drew Carey and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If I was able to forego those harsh winters for a chance to get hit on by a much higher caliber of groupies my home state loyalty would go out the window.
I previously wrote about how much fun it would be to watch Wade and James play together. But sportswriters who need to fulfill word counts have been opining that their games are too similar for them to excel on the same team. They obviously know nothing of basketball. This is not football. There is not a distinct division of labor where one person hikes the ball, another tries to decapitate the quarterback, and another punts the ball. In basketball all players need to dribble, pass, rebound, defend, and shoot the ball through the net. LeBron and Wade are two of the top players in the world at these feats and Bosh is among the top twenty.
This is exciting.
The speculator in me is already rueing not making mad money by putting fifty bucks on the Heat winning the 2011 championship when I was in Las Vegas last month. Or buying season tickets for the Miami Heat weeks ago and scalping them to double my money or at the very least break even and watch the games when I’m in town for free.
The spectator in me can’t wait to watch the alley-oops, fast breaks, and sky high shot blocks. I’m looking forward to yelling, “King James” every time LeBron touches the ball like I once hollered “Daddy” every time Shaq dunked in two points for the Heat.
But all kudos have to go to my coaching hero, Pat Riley. I’ve mentioned in this space about the power of his motivational speeches. But he has proven himself to be the shrewdest of executives. He convinced three of the greatest athletes in the world to sacrifice greater riches for glories and honor that can not be counted monetarily. Do not ever let Pat Riley sell you a used car. He will always come out on top.