Saturday, November 29, 2008

Charles is Right: Shut Up LeBron

So Charles Barkley and LeBron James have been going at it in the media recently. First, Barkley said LeBron should "Shut the hell up" about the 2010 season, calling the speculation disrespectful.

LeBron responded by calling him stupid.

I agree with Barkley. LeBron, who comes across as one of the most egotistical people alive, is clearly basking in all the media attention about his future. He always stops short of committing to Cleveland or confirming he's leaving; his standard line is he's going to go where he has the best chance to win a championship, opportunity for his family, blah blah blah.

I'm at the point now where I'm convinced there must be a contract clause with Nike to give him more money in a bigger market, i.e. NY or LA.

Otherwise, he'd be better off to stay in Cleveland. In case LeBron hasn't realized it, he's on a championship contending team already in Cleveland. The Cavs are 13-3, 9-0 at home, and look like the third best team in the league behind the Lakers and Celtics.

Cavs GM Danny Ferry has built the perfect team for a player like LeBron. He has a ton of shooters and versatile big men that don't need the ball to be productive and aren't lane cloggers. This gives him freedom to drive, confidence to dish to teammates when defensives key on him and the ability to get extended periods of rest during the regular season, instead of dragging his team through the playoffs like years past.

Additionally, he finally has a viable sidekick in Mo Williams. The Larry Hughes experiment was a bust because he is (to borrow a phrase from Simmons) a derelict's version of O.J. Mayo: an injury-prone slasher with a suspect j and declining athletic ability.

Williams, meanwhile, can transition from spot up shooter to distributer to aggressive scoring option with ease. Why the hell would LeBron want to leave, unless he cares more about partying and his image than winning? This Cavs team is pretty young and are poised to dominate the East now that Detroit is (secretly) rebuilding and the Celtics are getting older. In addition, they're going to have a boatload of cap space in two years as well, with Mo Williams as one of the few players under contract.

Why not chill in Cleveland, contend for a title for two years, then bring one of your boys like Chris Bosh in town for an extended title run? LeBron is already the most famous basketball player and easily one of the 10 most famous athletes in the world. There isn't much LeBron stands to gain from moving to New York besides increased media coverage and scrutiny, which will be coupled with a loss in privacy.

Despite frequently coming off like an a-hole, he's a God in Ohio. Stay in Cleveland, where his private live has remained mostly out of the public eye, and win championships. Or go to New York, have all of your business in the open, be heavily criticized for every mistake and probably not win a championship.

In two years, the choice will be yours. Try not to diss the Chuckster when he's giving you great advice as well.

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