The time has come. “The Decision 2.0” is upon us as NBA mega-star LeBron James weighs his options in deciding where he will go now that he has opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat after helping the team to four NBA Finals appearances in a row, winning two championships.
Will King James go back home to Cleveland? Will he join Carmelo Anthony in New York? Will he stay put in Miami with a more lucrative contract? Or will he wander off into the sunset to do whatever it is billionaire sports stars do when they need to take a break?
It’s enough to make “The Decision 2.0” into a summer-long reality television series. Pray that it doesn’t come to that because, if it does, I’ll eat my own sneakers.
The last time LeBron James made “The Decision,” an absolute ca-ca storm erupted that ended with an hour-long television special on ESPN, James joining the Miami Heat, the burning of Cavaliers jerseys with the number 23, and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert writing a nasty open letter about King James that got him fined by NBA commissioner David Stern.
It’s four years later, and Cleveland still doesn’t feel any better, but that hasn’t stopped the Cavaliers from getting in the mix to bring LeBron home to win a championship and give a rapper from Cleveland the chance to remix Skylar Grey’s “Coming Home Part II” to make the pop culture media takeover complete.
The Cavaliers management must have Dan Gilbert tied up in a basement somewhere in order to make their run at LeBron James possible, with a contract stipulation that James can throw rotten eggs at Gilbert in public once a year.
Travel the Globe Fighting Crime
This past season, LeBron James suffered a busted nose at the elbow of Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder. In his return from injury (against the New York Knicks, no less), James donned a black, carbon-fiber face guard that prompted some hilarious comparisons to such characters as Jet Li in Black Mask, Zorro, and even Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. Even King James himself got in on the jokes on Instagram.
So why let a good joke go to waste? If James still has the mask, he could take a break from basketball to do what every superhero-loving person thinks about doing: traveling the world fighting crime.
James can obviously look the part. Why couldn’t he be a superhero whose powers include an insane vertical jump and the ability to pelt evildoers with basketballs? He even has the name already: King James. It’s no Captain Marvel, but it’ll do.
New York Knicks
Knicks fans have been consistently tortured by the success of other teams. When the Knicks put an All-Star team on the court in the 90s with Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason, the Chicago Bulls were just a little bit better. When the Knicks picked up superstars like Stephon Marbury later, they had nothing to show for it except years of salary cap headaches.
With the potential re-signing of Carmelo Anthony to a max contract deal, the Knicks may be able to make some moves to shed salary cap headaches like Andrea Bargnani and Amaríe Stoudemire and throw as much money as possible at LeBron James. This would also mean that, besides Anthony and James, the Knicks team would likely have to be made up of cast-offs from the Washington Generals.
It’s a pipe dream, but this is New York. People come here to dream every day.
Join a Buddhist Monastery
How long can a man survive in the circus of sports media? This is a question that could be running through LeBron James’ head. Maybe while thinking about this latest “Decision 2.0,” James will have a moment of clarity where he just says, “To hell with it,” and runs off to join a Buddhist Monastery.
It could happen. When you’re in the game for as long as James has been, sometimes you just need to take a step back for a year and meditate on the past by shaving your head, burning incense, and banging a gong while chanting. It’s a better alternative than what many pro athletes do and get arrested as a result.
I’m not saying that I expect LeBron James to suddenly disappear and return a year later with monk robes and a book on Transcendentalism. I’m saying that he probably should.
The big question revolving around LeBron James’ latest decision is this: “What does he have left to prove?”
James has been to the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat four years in a row, winning the championship twice in a row, and even dragged the Cleveland Cavaliers kicking and screaming to the Finals once. He is regarded as one of the best in the history of basketball, and the best at present.
Now James has the chance to receive a ginormous max contract deal from the Miami Heat that would set him, his family, and the entire state of Ohio up for life three times over. Maybe it’s just time for James to get paid.
I know that James has more money than he knows what to do with now, but it’s not just about money. Contracts are like badges of honor for NBA players. A max deal for James would give him $130 million for five years, putting him at around $26 million per year and making him the highest paid player in basketball today.
Is it any wonder that LeBron James is meeting with Pat Riley in Las Vegas?
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.