Aaron Mueller: Even Jordan can’t believe LeBron went to MiamiPublished 8:28pm Monday, July 19, 2010
Can you imagine Michael Jordan having teamed up with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird?
Neither can he.
Like everyone else, Jordan gave his two cents on LeBron James’ decision to jet to South Beach to team up with buddies Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to create a star-studded team.
“There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team,’” Jordan said after a recent celebrity golf tournament in Nevada. “In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.”
Since James’ nationwide hour-long decision special on ESPN, all the analysts, experts, ex-NBA players and basement bloggers have scrutinized, analyzed, second-guessed and criticized his decision.
TNT analyst and ex-NBA All-Star Charles Barkley said James “will never be Jordan” no matter how many championships he wins with Wade and Bosh. The Cavs owner Dan Gilbert ripped LeBron and his “cowardly betrayal” of his home state and team.
I don’t know if one athlete’s decision has ever been so much under a microscope. I must admit that initially I was frustrated with King James’ decision to create what will amount to an all-star team, and I still don’t like the unclassy way he announced his decision.
But now I almost feel sorry for the guy (although it’s hard to do so when I look at all the zeroes that are in his contract). James never signed up to be the next Michael Jordan. The guy has been anointed as the Second Coming since he was a teenager in Akron, Ohio — a ton of pressure at such a young age.
James’ decision makes sense and captures the true, simple spirit of sports. He just wants to play his favorite game with his buddies and win. He doesn’t care about being “the guy,” he doesn’t mind not being compared to MJ and he doesn’t mind having his legacy being defined by one controversial decision. He’s not trying to prove himself, do it all by himself or be somebody he isn’t, which is refreshing.
He just wants to win and have fun doing it.
And I, for one, respect him for it.
Aaron Mueller is a reporter for the Niles Daily Star. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org