July 8, 2010 10:20:00 AM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
"The Decision" will come today.
That''s what ESPN is calling the latest made-for-TV event. We''ll have to see if Jay-Z will provide the music that will accompany LeBron James'' announcement of which NBA team he will play for in the 2010-11 season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, the team James last played for this past season, hope James will decide to stay home. But news Wednesday morning that Chris Bosh decided to leave the Toronto Raptors and join Dwyane Wade with the Miami Heat created plenty of speculation that James would opt for the sun and fun of South Beach to form the league''s next power trio.
The Chicago Bulls, the New Jersey Nets, which Jay-Z is a part owner, and the New York Knicks are also thought to be on James'' mind. The basketball world will have to wait until 8 tonight on ESPN to see which team "King James" picks.
If you have seen any awards shows, the announcement likely won''t come until the final few minutes of the program.
Before that, ESPN will broadcast plenty of footage of James at various stages of his seven-year NBA career. There will be plenty of dunks and highlights of James doing wonderful things. After all, James is arguably the best basketball player in the world, and one of the greatest of all time, even though he hasn''t won a championship.
The program also is bound to feature analysts and pundits who will take their best guess at where James will land. The chatter has been going on for months. The Associated Press even has slugged its daily reports on James as "Courting LeBron."
The New York Daily News published a report this morning that James plans to join Wade and Bosh in Miami.
This mess can''t be over soon enough.
The only positive to come from "The Decision" is money generated from the show, which will take place in Greenwich, Conn., will be given to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, according to Maverick Carter, James'' business manager.
Let''s hope this is the last event of its kind. There is no debating James'' talent. His mix of strength, grace, and skill is rivaled only by former Los Angeles Lakers great Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, David Thompson, George Gervin, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are five of the greats in the past 30 years who belong in the discussion of best of all time. But the explosiveness and grace those players showcased overshadowed their strength.
James is the ultimate weapon on a basketball court. His strength is unmatched. His will to take the ball to the basket is unstoppable.
But someone tell him to stop this public relations nightmare. Too often in sports athletes believe they are bigger than the game. James has made millions of dollars exploiting the excess of a 24-hour, Twitter-happy, better-be-first-than-right news cycle that often is only so happy to hear itself drone on and on.
I won''t watch "The Decision." I am curious, though, to see which team James picks. Will he be "loyal" and stay close at home with the Cavaliers? Will he opt for the bright lights of New York and team with Amare Stoudemire and try to revitalize the Knicks? Will he take a chance on new New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire? Will he dare to work in Jordan''s shadow in Chicago, where the Bulls have a promising cast of supporting players but weren''t as good as the Cavaliers this season?
The answer will reveal a lot about James. His decision will show how much he covets winning a championship and will show how willing he is to join another player''s team -- Wade won a title with the Heat -- and be part of a "Big Three" a la Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics.
His decision also could show he feels he is ready to hit the big stage of the Big Apple, or to try to outshine Jordan. Those outcomes would fit better with the player James has been in the NBA. He has sought to be the biggest thing in the NBA. Odds are Cleveland is the only place he would be able to continue to do that. But he likely will have to convince the Cavaliers to buy a few more free agents.
A move to Miami would create a fascinating debate. If James wins one or multiple titles with the Heat, did he realize his goal because of his greatness or did he have to join Wade and Bosh to do it? That prospect could diminish his status as "King."
Here''s hoping James goes to Miami. It would show maybe he realizes a great team and team play are greater than individual grandeur.
If not, "The Decision" will be just another media event from a sensation who hasn''t delivered on the game''s biggest stage.
Adam Minichino is sports editor of The Commercial Dispatch. Contact him at [email protected]
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.