What’s Up With LeBron James?
As if there weren’t already enough LeBron James backlash from fans, the man the entire city of Cleveland loves to hate is about to give fellow NBA players a reason to start bashing him, as well.
One of the problems is that owners want a larger share of the overall profits. In other words, they want players to take pay cuts and sign smaller contracts in the future. One potential solution cited by NBA Commissioner David Stern is contraction—that is, cutting a few teams from the league.
Of course, any such plan will mean severe loss of revenue in many large cities and uncertain futures for plenty of current players (not to mention other team and/or stadium employees). No player should want to see any of his colleagues in this predicament for any reason, especially considering that, with better management and a few compromises, contraction shouldn’t be necessary.
However, the King Without a Ring has added his two cents to the conversation.
“Hopefully, the league can figure it out one day to go back to the situation it was in the ’80s, when you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall-of-Famers on the same team,” James told reporters last week. “The league was great. It wasn’t as watered down as it is. You had more (All-Star) players on a team, which made almost every game anticipated — not just a Christmas Day game, not just a Halloween game.”
“Imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the (league). Looking at some of the teams that aren’t that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren’t that good right now and you add him to a team that could be really good. Not saying let’s take New Jersey and let’s take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I’m not stupid, it would be great for the league.”
The fact of the matter is, sometimes players have to take their time and develop into superstars. By not giving these guys a chance to play in the league, and by shrinking the market, the league may very well be doing itself a disservice.
To make matters worse, James later attempted to explain his comments. Posted below is the best he could do.
“That’s crazy, because I had no idea what the word ‘contraction’ meant before I saw it on the Internet,” he told reporters after Monday’s practice. “I never even mentioned that. That word never even came out of my mouth. I was just saying how the league was back in the ’80s and how it could be good again. I never said, ‘Let’s take some of the teams out.’”
Just who’s side is LeBron on here? Does anyone really want to see a handful of elite teams stand head and shoulders above all competition all the time? If the players’ association is going to get what it wants from the league, the players will have to stick together. They can’t make statements (and horrible defenses for those statements) that show a lack of solidarity.
The Miami Thrice has already revolutionized the game of basketball and there have been rumors of copycat team assemblies ever since. There is no need to mandate them. If teams are contracted and checks stop coming in, James may become more of a villain than he ever imagined.
Hopefully, LeBreezy’s New Year’s resolution is to do less talking and more playing basketball.