An (Updated) Open Letter To LeBron (V2)
Yeah, I realize this is the second letter I've written in a little under a week, but I needed to get this off my chest. I've been writing for SportsBastards for about three years now, primarily on basketball because it's my love. I've been a basketball junkie since before you were a twinkle in your parents' eyes. You stand probably 48 hours or so away from making a decision that probably will for all intents and purposes impact the prime of your career. Allow me to break down for you exactly what this entails as it pertains to yourself and your legacy in retrospect...
These are the years in which you will physically, be at your absolute best. You'll be stronger, faster, better...to steal a pun from The Six Million Dollar Man or something. Do you really want to do it in Cleveland? Now, I've had a chance to glean from all that you've seen and heard, as well as what I feel they really said or showed you. So let me sort through it all for ya, because time's ticking...
Cleveland showed you some funny Family Guy shit, because quite honestly, they don't have much to work with. You've seen what the last 7 years of your career have been like here. You haven't had a coach worth a damn until now, but sadly for you, this coach only works well when he has a Top 20 point guard running his offense. I wouldn't even throw Mo Williams in the Top 50 at this stage of the game. If you stay, you're essentially telling the world that you're content with underachieving and more or less, being the new age Kevin Garnett. (Reminder, KG only had ONE great run in Minnesota before his supporting cast wanted to get rich and stopped trying. You had one great run, only your supporting cast got older, weaker and you had to try on behalf of 11 other people.)
Chicago probably sold you on its basketball tradition and everything else, which in the 90s, it had a TON of. Of the supporting casts you've got to choose from, even I can't argue with the fact that Chicago's easily the best of the bunch. But I'm not totally sold it's the best fit for you personally. You see, while you're switching jerseys this coming season, you're gonna have to play in the shadow of perhaps the greatest Chicago player this side of Sweetness or Gale Sayers in Michael Jordan. His statue will stand tall outside of your office everyday and those banners which dangle from the top of the United Center will look down on you as you try to add #7 to the rafter. It's going to be rough...but you'll have one of the best young guards in the league in D-Rose running the show. Catch-22 of it is, who knows what Thibodeau will do in his first year as head coach? Maybe he's another Phil Jackson, who in his first year as head coach of the Bulls, took them to a title. A combination of you along with Noah and Rose could damn sure make that happen.
Then there's the Knicks and as a former Knicks fan, let me tell ya something off rip.
You don't want to have many bad games here, if you can help it. Ewing will probably never live down his miss in Game 7 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals. John Starks will never live down his 2 for 14 crapper in Game 7 against the Rockets in 1994. Conversely, Larry Johnson is all but immortalized for his 4 point play against the Pacers in the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals. I should also add, that's the LAST TIME the Knicks made it out of the 1st round.
You'd be playing for a coach in D'Antoni who doesn't really preach defense, which is something you NEED to win a title. The rest of this roster aside from Amare is at best, sketchy. (And I'm being incredibly NICE in how I put that.) Maybe you go there and you can turn it around, but the media, fanbase and Association will be banking on you to do something that hasn't been done since 1973. Bring an NBA title back to the Mecca. Luck with that one.
Then of course, there's my "home". New Jersey. Many look at the Nets the way most look at the Clippers in Los Angeles, the White Sox in Chicago and the Angels in Los Angeles. Second class citizens, no matter what they do. The Nets have made two Finals appearances in the last decade, LeBron. The Nets have a fairly decent history in the last decade of being a rather formidable force within the East, until the last four years or so when the bottom fell out. The Nets boast a rather suitable supporting cast with All-Stars Brook Lopez and Devin Harris. You wouldn't have a bare cupboard to work with and on top of that, you have a billionaire Russian who's looking to go GLOBAL with this team in terms of appeal.
You're not going to do that with a perennial loser. Jay-Z's your best friend (or one of them) and please believe he's not trying to walk you into a losing proposition. Very few men of your caliber in the annals of the NBA have had the luxury of playing with a big the likes of Brook Lopez aka The Best Big Man Nobody Knows About...YET. The potential of an inside/outside combo with you two and Devin running the point is great, because remember...
Centers are a dying breed in the Association. Aside from Orlando's Howard, Portland's Oden, Kaman and Bynum in L.A. respectively, Bogut in Milwaukee and Haywood, what other bigs are out there worth a damn? Not many, if any at all really. New Jersey happens to have one which will be an All-Star for many years to come in Lopez. Favors will be a really good 4, given time and playing alongside you can only help speed the process up. Devin Harris has shown that he was held back in Dallas and now without the restraints in Big D, he's blooming in a big way. Yeah, I'm sure it's not sexy playing in Newark, but it's not exactly Siberia in its own right. Mikhail and Jigga will lay out a blueprint that will get you up there with them in the Billionaire's Club, while ensuring your hand gets heavy with NBA Championship rings. Please believe it.
Then of course, there's Miami. No state tax. Neverending Summer. Never a dull moment. Oh and Bosh and Wade are down there too. Problem is, what do you have after that? Keep in mind, they've only got TWO players under contract which means it's a MAJOR work in progress. In the history of the NBA, I don't think there has ever been a team with THAT MUCH TALENT in the respective primes of their careers to join forces at the same time. It's not to say it can't happen, but in doing so, you'd be admitting to the world I can't do this on my own on my own accord. I'm going to D-Wade's team to get this thing done.
The Knicks even with Amare, can't be certain his knees will hold up. If he goes down, it's pretty much a wrap as there's not much there to soften the blow if he's gone.
The Bulls wouldn't be bad, but playing in the shadow of Jordan's #23 even wearing #6 wouldn't be doing you many favors.
Going to Miami for anything other than a ciesta, basically means you're playing on Wade's team. Not sure that runs well for very long.
Then...there's the Nets. It'll be YOUR team. You'll have a better supporting cast than the one you drug to the 2007 Finals kicking and screaming all the way there. You'll have an owner who is dedicated to going global with this team and in doing so, that means building a team that's a perennial title threat for years to come. Losers aren't exactly coveted by the world in general, just so you know. LeBron, you're 40 plus hours away from making the decision that will figure to dictate how the next 3-5 years play out in the Association. You staying put all but assures the Lakers will threepeat. I don't think going to Miami stops it, although I'm sure talking heads will bust simultaneously talking up a Heat/Lakers finale next Spring. Going to the Knicks will probably boost their flickering fanbase, but so would a stripper pole in the middle of the Garden for the Knick City Dancers to grind on.
Coming to the Nets would inspire MANY "WTF are you thinking?!" questions, but those will be subsided when you win and win often. A Nets lineup with you, Brook, Lee/Boozer, Lee or Williams and Harris is easily capable of winning 50-60 games next year. You'll have the help needed to exact your revenge on the Celts (you'll see them early and often), not to mention the Magic. Hell, we might even get to see another Lakers/Nets tilt if all breaks right as I'm set that it should. (Miami's not a slam dunk with nearly an entire roster to piece together with scrap parts.)
A suitable replacement will be found for Thorn, so there's no worries there. Help will be kept around ya at all times, but again as I've stated before, it can't work without YOU here.
L. Net Fan
Posted 07/07/10 by Len | Filed under: An Open Letter To...
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