Regardless of what LeBron James does, or who he plays for, it’s going to be a big deal. You might recall when James made the decision to leave Cleveland and “take his talents” to Miami, Cleveland fans were outraged. How dare they do that to them? He’s the golden child in the eyes of Cleveland, but just because he doesn’t play there doesn’t take away from the city or his abilities as a player. When he left for Miami, he had to prove himself in a new market. Not necessarily in terms of the fans, but his ability to play with his new teammates and get along with the coaching staff. And this is a challenge that he faces now as he’s preparing his debut in Los Angeles.
Even Ray Allen thinks that LeBron has to reinvent himself, as he indicated on the Dan Patrick Show this past week:
“When I played with him (in Miami), he had a lot around him that could do different things, so he didn’t always have to carry the weight. Cleveland, it was a little different. He needed more shooters around him. (In L.A.), he doesn’t have that many shooters around him, so how are they going to fit in? (Lance) Stephenson and (Rajon) Rondo both need the ball in their hands. So is he going to give up more of that responsibility and Is he going to become somewhat of a spot-up shooter at the same time? Or are those guys going to become shot-up shooters? It’s going to be interesting to watch.”
Is this necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think so. I think that it gives him the opportunity to continue to show the world what he is made of. James is an incredibly talented player so I can only imagine what it will be like to have people around him to support those talents. That’s not to say that he hasn’t been surrounded by talent ever. Talent follows him around. But unfortunately, the talent pool has been getting stale in terms of who is coming to Cleveland, so James did the next best thing – he went looking for the people he wanted to surround him.
Basketball is an interesting game because the most talented athletes basically get to choose their team. We don’t see that in other sports – like the NFL, for example. Think about it. Sure, teams expressed their desire for James to join them, but when it comes down to it, who is making that decision? LeBron James. We saw this in Miami. James, Chris Bosch, and Dwayne Wade all made a deal to go to Miami. Why? Because they were incredibly talented. Sure, that didn’t exactly work out in the end, but it did win him two championship rings.
What’s to say that this won’t be the same kind of experience for James? Yes, he will have to rebuild in a sense, but maybe not in the way that we think. He has to figure out his footing in terms of the rest of the team. But that’s not all on his shoulders. The coaching staff and other players will have to step up in this regard as well. Especially if they want to make a case for the playoffs.