Four years ago we all watched the ESPN special, “The Decision”. LeBron looked nervous and uncomfortable as he said the words we will never forget, “In this fall…I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.” The NBA would change over the next four years as LeBron led the Heat to the finals each year. Would people have been so upset at his TV special if he chose to stay with the Cavs or join the Knicks or Bulls?
I commend LeBron for having a big TV special for his announcement. He did exactly what everyone wanted him to do. He made it a show. When LeBron signed a three-year extension back in 2006 he took less money but he would be an unrestricted free agent in 2010 allowing him to choose his next destination. James led the Cavs to the Finals in 2007 but they were swept by the Spurs.
Each year that passed the free agent questions would come up. If he played against the New York Knicks people would ask will you be joining the Knicks? Every year that the Cavs failed to win a title, free agency questions would pop up. LeBron handled it well, he never asked to be traded, and he never talked about leaving. The Cavs got eliminated, he took off his jersey and he became a free agent.
The decision had everyone’s attention. We were all locked in on ESPN. They generated $6 million in advertising revenue, while the Boys and Girls Club of America received $2.5 million. So it turns out the Decision was a financial success. I thought he was going back to the Cavs. I never imagined he would join up with Wade and Bosh. What would have happened if he said “I’m staying with the Cavs”? What if he would have joined the Knicks or the Bulls? I think people were more upset with him for saying “I’m taking my talents to South Beach”. It’s all about presentation and up until that point it was going well for LeBron.
The decision did everything it was supposed to do. The biggest star, made the biggest announcement in the biggest way possible and we were all there for the moment. Dan Gilbert overacted when he released “The Letter”, calling LeBron a coward. Some fans overacted and started burning his jerseys. The same fans burning jerseys and shirts are the same fans hoping he comes back. People are parking in front of his home begging for him to return. All of sudden the Cavs think they have a chance to bring LeBron back so they take down the Letter.
LeBron was a free agent and he made a decision that benefitted him greatly. He set out to become a champion and now he is. We are all waiting for him to make his next decision, let’s hope people don’t react the same way they did four years ago.