Miami Heat fans beware, as the worldwide leader in ESPN gives a behind the scenes look into ‘The Decision’. Are people still mad about it, ten years later?
While everyone should by now, especially the Miami Heat, The Decision changed the NBA forever.
It may have been for better or for worse, depending on who you’re talking to, but it definitely changed things. Regardless, it showed that superstars can control their own message and use their own given power if they want to.
Now, at the time, there were always rumblings the LeBron James and his business partner were looking to make a splash as James became an unrestricted free agent, meaning that in this particular summer they were looking to make moves.
After the season was over and while basically everyone thought that the Chicago Bulls were the leaders in the clubhouse for James, there was other speculation that James would sign with the New York Knicks.
Then, it was on July 7th of 2010 when Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade announced on ESPN that they both would sign/resign with the Miami Heat, however you would like to phrase it. Personally, I thought the damage was done by that point in time.
This, as in to ask Cleveland fans if they really thought that James would have a TV special just to say he’s going back to Cleveland, after seeing both Bosh and Wade announce that they were going to play in Miami? My sentiments then were this, “Wake up”.
As we moved forward, July 9th was here and that date is when The King made a decision that was bigger than basketball. When James announced he was “taking his talents to South Beach”, I don’t even think he knew the magnitude of the impact that he would have on the world of professional sports, each and every single last one of them.
The ratings were the highest there had ever been for a sports-related telecast, outside of a live sports event, which right there should have told you that it was much bigger than basketball.
People who don’t even watch basketball with regularity watched that event. People who had just heard the name “Lebron James” watched that event.
I’m going to make this statement again, Cleveland fans what made you think he was coming back again? Moving on though, if we could all take a moment to go back in time to think about exactly what that moment meant. This refers to how it would change the NBA landscape, free agency, and more importantly, what it would mean and do for player empowerment.
The Miami Heat changed the NBA when LeBron James made ‘The Decision’, but James himself changed the world of sports, forever.
Now, James and his group of friends and partners have multiple businesses and their own full-fledged media company. James knew at that time that he was the biggest superstar in the game and wanted to use his platform to the fullest of its extent, so he did.
If you really think about it, he held the power over ESPN in that moment. What were they going to say no to him in that moment when it came to announcing his free agency?
Although it wouldn’t have happened at that particular junction or with the magnitude of that event, Lebron and his team always knew though that there would be a chance that someone could say no in the future.
For businessmen like James and his one of his partners, Maverick Carter, that slight chance of someone telling them “no” was all they need to know when it came to their next move, so they came up with there own media platform called Uninterrupted(although after he went back to Cleveland). With James making this move you have seen other NBA players making similar moves.
Kevin Durant used The Player’s Tribune to announce that he was signing with the Golden State Warriors. If James never had gone to Miami and in the fashion that he did, what would Durant have done?
Remember, when James first went to Miami, every fan base besides that of the Miami Heat’s hated him. Some of the Miami Heat media members even started throwing shade at the team.
Yes, I remember all of you.
But when Durant went to Golden State, fans were upset, but a lot of media members were 50/50 on Durant’s decision. Personally, I think what Durant did was a way worse than what James elected to do.
Kyrie Irving (James’ former teammate) wanted a trade because he was getting annoyed with James’ year to year contract status in Cleveland, so he took matters into his own hands by requesting a trade.
So, did what James did years ago backfire on him? Or did Irving know that James’ second Cleveland tenure would be over after the next year?
As we all know, Irving ticks a little different than the average star player and I think he is set to do what he wants to do most of the time. Having said that, I do think events like James’ The Decision made it easier for him to leave.
Even looking at other sports, football players talk all the time now about being there own “CEO”. Do you know where that got that idea from?
I wonder who that could be?
UFC fighters are starting to get annoyed with Dana White’s ways as well when it comes to how much there are getting paid. Fighters have even starting to stand their ground now because of what James did with and has been doing with his career since The Decision.
From my perspective, that was just the start of James’ plan to give athletes their voice and to show them the complete light in that as athletes, they were free to make the best possible decisions that serve to best help them and their families, period and end of story.
At the moment, people were upset at the way James handle the move to Miami. It seemed just because no one with that much power had actually used their power like that before.
People don’t like trailblazers. People don’t like when people think outside of the box. Lastly, people often don’t like it when you as a person choose solely to do what’s best for you.
I hope while re-watching The Decision, from the perspective we have this time around, that we all get to see the bigger picture clearly and how his paradigm shift started.
Also, one more thing for Cleveland fans, you really thought he was going on national TV to announce he was going back to Cleveland? You guys didn’t deserve him back then and you didn’t deserve him when he went back.
“I’m taking my talents to South Beach to join the Miami Heat”. Have fun hearing that again Cleveland fans.
Backstory: The Decision premieres Sunday, June 28, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN