The Boogie Man Came Out And There Wasn’t A Hooded Man In Sight
Preseason in the NBA and already the controversy is raising its ugly head and if things surrounding the LeBron James’ saga hasn’t been weird enough . It now appears that James won’t let this episode die a natural death. LeBron James in a statement allays to the fact that one the reasons he left the Cavaliers is that ‘race’ became an issue in his departure from the franchise. And it certainly hadn’t helped that neither of the lead characters in this soap opera appears to have been able to show any sign of maturity. Instead Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert came off looking like an ass and the player wasn’t that far behind in his own behavior and that rather idiotic interview (entitled ‘The Decision’) he granted to ESPN with reporter Jim Gray, in tow. In all honesty this whole episode has been about as interesting as having an enema !
Slide show for your perusal.
One would’ve thought with the PR people surrounding the player that he’d be able not to court this at all but instead he issued a statement that now becomes cannon fodder for the press and those who’ll use this as evidence to make a inane statement about race in this country. This whole issue has nothing to do with race but more about ego and more about two individuals who are driven by greed and money . James states that he’s striving to win a title and granted he was ill equipped to win with an organization who literally didn’t know how to assemble the prerequisite staff to make the Cavaliers a competitive team. Danny Ferry who at the time was the general manger of the team couldn’t galvanize this roster to mesh and Mike Brown as coach, couldn’t communicate with the players on this team. But what might have been even more telling was that in the off-season with the firing of Brown , Gilbert sought not to seek any input from his star player as to who Brown’s successor should be. If that wasn’t enough of an indication to James that it was time to move on then I don’t know what is. And the rather idiotic fans there in Cleveland who sought to burn the player’s replica jersey in what they felt was an act of betrayal by LeBron James clearly have no concept of business or for that matter integrity or loyalty. Now all they have to show for the franchise there in Cleveland is an aggrieved owner in Dan Gilbert and unfortunately for Mike Brown’s successor Byron Scott, a team that’s liable to become a bottom feeder within the Eastern Conference of the NBA .
Now while this is all going on there has been sniping at the Heat organization and the fact that Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison had the bravado to pull off such a coup in landing both James and Chris Bosh. Truth be known, the Heat needed to do this merely to stay a viable concern within the NBA from a financial standpoint. The franchise having posted a $45 million loss in 2009 had a declining attendance for the Heat games at the AA Arena (Miami) and it has to be said that without this orchestration to land the duo we might have been looking at the departure of Dywane Wade from the team. Now the pressure is on the triumvirate to prove that this all isn’t a ruse and that they’re intent on bringing another title to South Beach.
And while the Heat seem to have been anointed the preseason favorites to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy next June , I’m of the opinion that it’ll take a great deal more than the showmanship and the greeting of the crowds before James and his buddies can simply think that the title has been won. The NBA season simply isn’t about creating hype and then not playing the games as can be seen in the pitiful experience and aftermath of the season had by the Los Angeles Lakers and their subsequent loss in the NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons . That year all the praise being heaped upon this team which at the time had five predetermined Hall of Famers on the roster led by Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton , Karl Malone and their coach Phil Jackson . The Lakers were summarily dispatched by the Pistons in five games (4-1) with there being a great deal of dissent and bickering between the quartet of players.
Now while I don’t discount the fact that the Miami Heat will be viewed as the prohibitive favorites for the NBA title, to my mind absolutely nothing is set in stone. The Lakers as reigning champions are still the team to beat and until they’re knocked off their throne all things start and end with them . Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has the enviable task of coaching this triumvirate but at the same time he also has to get the best out of the role players on this team. And it will also be interesting to see who defers to whom and the roles to be played by LeBron James and Dywane Wade in this whole scenario. One ball and two rather egotistical showmen on the court at the same time each looking to showcase their talents and attain the praise of the fans . Can anything go wrong? Well, each of the three say that they simply want to win and that their goal is to bring another championship to Miami. The thinking is that should the team fail to make it to the Finals then the finger pointing begins and all eyes will be on James as to the reasons behind any failure.
From the social standpoint and the racial accusations by James I think he ought to step back and think long and hard about his statement ! If he really wants to talk race then he ought to take a look back at the pages of history and the plight of the “Little Rock Nine” and then see that his situation bears nothing at all about race , more to do with ego and the fact that he was slighted by an owner who simply didn’t want to defer power to him as it concerned the Cleveland Cavaliers. And though to my mind neither party is without blame at the fallout from his departure from Cleveland , I do now believe that James if anything is now showing further signs that he’s yet to mature as an individual. Winning they say “cures all” and that may well be the case as clearly James yearns to be seen as a winner _ an Olympic gold medal and two time league MVP pales into comparison when you can say “look at me I’m an NBA champion” ? And that is literally what is biting at LeBron James at this juncture as he’s seen his peers in Kobe Bryant having won twice since his entry into the NBA and that of elder statesman Kevin Garnett lead the Boston Celtics’ team to their most recent title win. James doesn’t want to be viewed as the player all the hype was created over and at the end of the day he simply has nothing to show for it after 5 years in the league. Impatient as he may well be , he’s simply got to learn that before you can earn respect you have to give respect to the game. And while undoubtedly he’s done a lot since his entrance into the NBA you get the feeling that the player feels that he’s entitled to have it all lavished upon him simply because of who he is ………. and the fact that he’s the self anointed ‘King James’ global icon and superstar.
Whatever the season now holds not only for the Miami Heat but also the remaining 29 teams around the NBA, one thing is certain the scrutiny that the Heat will be placed under will show warts and all the underside of everything that’s good and bad about the game. Commissioner David Stern and the league’s hierarchy may well welcome this all, as it takes all eyes off the game’s state of affairs as it relates to the league’s ongoing negotiations with the NBPA (players’ union) and trying to renegotiate the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Take that from under the microscope and have this, a season long running roadshow and that might just keep the fans at bay and extremely happy. One way or another it’ll make a number of teams in the Eastern Conference exceedingly happy knowing that the Heat is part of their schedule and the same can be said of their counterparts in the Western Conference as there’ll be a great deal of money to be made for all parties concerned.
One thing that does placate this whole situation somewhat is that once the controversy has been created the easiest way to negate that all is to simply have money awash the whole scene and it’s so easy to forget what brought this all to the fore. Chances are a month from now all this will have died down and we’ll be talking about the Heat , how many games can they win and whom they may well face in the NBA Finals ? Not so fast may well be those dissenting voices who feel that the Miami Heat roadshow isn’t the only game in town as they’ve won nothing as of yet in their present guise. But it will be fun watching to see whether or not this team does prevail or if they simply fall by the wayside as some may well expect them to do. From my own view point I look at this all as a jigsaw puzzle that’s yet unfinished as there are so many pieces yet to fit into place. Once that the puzzle is finished then we’ll see the whole picture clear and as it’s meant to be.
For LeBron James, he brought up the subject of ‘race’ and the ‘tabooed boogie man’ was nowhere to be seen ……… no hooded horseman ranting and shouting racial epithets . So it begs the question what was this all about in the first place ? Ego once again quite possibly ? Or is it James and his handlers wanting to court the press merely because he wants to be viewed as the face of the NBA ? Clearly he’s still not happy at his perceived treatment by Dan Gilbert and the remarks that were made by the owner after his departure. But as I alluded to earlier the evidence shows that neither party handled the situation well and in fact they both showed the petulant behavior of a rather infantile child . Common sense still hasn’t prevailed and it’s unlikely to at this juncture .
Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original sized format.
James’ statement as you view it , do you feel that he makes a valid point ? In his making the claim the way he was treated by Gilbert had to do with his race was one of the reasons he left the franchise, do you truly believe that there’s any veracity behind his argument ? Chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and anything else that might be of interest to you with regard to the NBA and its ongoing story-lines.
NB James’ manager Maverick Carter reiterated in an interview conducted with a journalist from CNN that ‘race’ did play a part in the player’s decision to leave the team.
To read more about the Little Rock Nine simply click on the link provided . Little Rock Nine
Alan aka tophatal …….. 🙂 _ 😦 _ 🙂
Eye candies courtesy of Smooth Magazine . Candace Cabrera
More ‘candy’ Candace for us all and that has got to be a good thing don’t you think ?