Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bill Simmons's Hilarious Take on LeBron's Decision

LeBron James's announcement that he is joining the Heat has been the most discussed sports event in a very long time. Of all the analyses (including Maureen Dowd in her column this morning and even Diane Rehm on the Friday News Roundup!), Bill Simmons has the best:
A few weeks after the 2008 Summer Olympics, Someone Who Knows Things told me the following rumor: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Chris Paul became such good friends during the 2007 Olympic trials, and then during their 2008 Olympics excursion in Beijing, that they actually made a pact in China to play together. You know, like one of those pacts in a chick flick where two friends agree to get married if both of them are single when they turn 40.

As the rumor went, the 2010 free agents (LeBron, Wade and Bosh) would sign with the same team (at that point the Knicks if they created enough cap room), then Paul would join them in 2012 (or sooner). I thought this was the craziest thing I had ever heard -- so crazy, I only mentioned it once (in a November '08 column). It reminded me of being in my mid-20s in Las Vegas, gambling in the wee hours with my single high school buddies, then all of us drunkenly saying, "We should all pick one city and live there, we'd just go out and kill it every night!" Then you wake up the next morning and forget it was ever discussed. So even if the China rumor was true, that didn't mean it was actually going to happen. Or so I thought.
In addition to the hilarious analogy about friends in Vegas, Simmons has this insight on what the Miami decision shows us re: LeBron's competitiveness:
I think it's a cop-out. Any super-competitive person would rather beat Dwyane Wade than play with him. Don't you want to find the Ali to your Frazier and have that rival pull the greatness out of you? That's why I'm holding out hope that LeBron signs with New York or Chicago (or stays in Cleveland), because he'd be saying, "Fine. Kobe, Dwight and Melo all have their teams. Wade and Bosh have their team. The Celtics are still there. Durant's team is coming. I'm gonna go out and build MY team, and I'm kicking all their asses." That's what Jordan would have done. Hell, that's what Kobe would have done. In May, after the Cavs were ousted in the conference semifinals, I wrote that LeBron was facing one of the greatest sports decisions ever: "winning (Chicago), loyalty (Cleveland) or a chance at immortality (New York)." I never thought he would pick "HELP!"
I take the point but disagree with Simmons. I think it's fantastic that LeBron formed the friendships with Wade and Bosh and he's actually pursuing the opportunity to team-up with them and have fun. Good for him if he's a little less competitive than Jordan, Bird, et al.

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