LeBron James has essentially been the savior for Cleveland professional sports ever since the Cavaliers were lucky enough to land him with the first pick in the draft in 2003. All throughout the season there has been speculation from everyone under the sun that the superstar is ready to head for the Big Apple as soon as he hits free agency at the end of the season.
With the Cavs facing elimination against the Celtics tonight, basketball fans will be glued to the game in a couple hours, hoping to see what’s next for King James. While Cleveland fans hope for a game seven, and some new life in the step of their prized possession, New York fans are hoping LeBron’s poor performance in game five was an early sign that he is tired of The Forest City.
For those out there questioning LeBron’s commitment, remember you can count the number of bad games he has had on one hand. For seven years in the league, that’s a very silencing statistic, even to the loudest of down-talkers.
LeBron is a competitor who hates to lose. Not even the temptations of one of the world’s most impressive cities can change that. LeBron wants to win, and a bad game is no reason to question that.
How important is LeBron James to the city of Cleveland, or maybe more importantly, to the NBA?
First remember, no matter what he chooses to do at the end of the season, LeBron will go on to be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game. Regardless of where he chooses to play, he will continue to be one of the best in the league. Great players have succeeded by both sticking with their team (think Michael Jordan in Chicago), and by choosing to move to a bigger market (think Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leaving Milwaukee).
For Cleveland and its fans, life without LeBron would be hard to swallow. This season would likely feel like a repeat of the 1992 playoffs, the recovery time just might take a little longer. It would however create a new disdain and rivalry with the Knicks.
Then consider, that the best thing for the NBA as a whole would likely be a cross country rivalry between the two biggest stages in the US, Los Angeles and New York, LeBron versus Kobe, Knicks versus Lakers.
Or maybe all of this speculation is exactly that, and despite all the anticipation and doubters, it is simply a game. Albeit a game basketball fans won’t want to miss.