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Tag:The Decision
Posted on: November 20, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 2:55 pm
 

The LeBron James Curse File: Oregon gets hit

By Matt Moore 

For those of you uninitiated, we've been having a little fun with the idea that LeBron James is cursed, for whatever reason ("The Decision," karma, his various public-comments-related disasters, the voodoo doll, etc.). It's not serious, though that hasn't stopped people from losing it over the suggestion it might be. To review: 

  1. He predicts the Heat will win multiple championships, then he "shrinks" in the Finals
  2. He extends a pre-existing sponsorship deal with Ohio State, then they undergo their biggest scandal in school history, resulting in the departure of Jim Tressel. 
  3. That same agreement also brought in the University of Miami to the Lebron James Brand. Then there were the the allegations involving prostitutes and rampant violations and the downfall of the program. 
  4. He became a partner with the same group that owns the Red Sox in buying the European football club Liverpool FC, and the Red Sox suffer one of the worst collapses in major league baseball history, as not only do they lose to the Orioles, but have the Rays come from behind to beat the Yankees, eliminating them from postseason play, which is followed by a Boston media report outlining all the ways the entire organization has fallen apart. Did we mention the general manager and manager of the two-time championship core also left the team over the debacle? 
On Saturday night, LeBron James was in Oregon visiting the Nike campus, and decided to make an appearance on the Oregon sideline. 

This picture was grabbed by @WhitneyKBlaine on Twitter, showing LeBron with the Ducks mascot.  The Ducks were in a position to move into the national title game after all the teams in their way outside of Alabama which already lost to LSU and Arkansas, who plays LSU next week. It took a remarkable set of failures to put them in position, but a win put them back in the driver's seat for a national title game appearance. 

38-35 USC. That's the sound of a duck with a championship belt going down the toilet. 

And to make matters worse:

 

We've tried to make it clear in previous posts on this subject we're just messing around. Maybe. Kind of. But seriously. The man appears and teams suffer inglorious fates and massive failures. He's the harbinger of FAIL. The Black Angel of LULZ. 

This is all in jest but man, it has not helped for teams to be associated with the two-time MVP. 

Posted on: October 15, 2011 10:32 pm
 

LeBron says he misses Cleveland fans

By Matt Moore

Let's not waste your time. LeBron James was taking questions from fans today and actually answering them. I think only two of them included the word "fam" too. Lots of exclamation marks, but hey, it's a start. 

And then, this.

 

Yeah, that should go over well.

Maybe he's feeling nostalgic. Thing is, he doesn't gain anything by saying that. Cleveland's never going to forgive him. He knows that. Maybe it's just part of his rehabilitation act. But he's not talking about the lockout. He's just taking questions, and with the fact he spends so much time in Akron makes you wonder. He left Cleveland. And he abandoned the franchise and the fans. But that doesn't necessarily mean the state's dead to him. 

Yeah, that's not going to go over well.  
Posted on: August 15, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 5:37 pm
 

Bosh says Heat should own up to 'The Decision'

Posted by Royce Young

This time last year, the smoke was finally starting to clear from LeBron James' one-hour special announcing his free agency destination. Finally, the dust was settling and we were all continuing with our regularly scheduled programming of being bored (and hot) in August.

There's been a lot of time to reflect on "The Decision" with LeBron even saying things probably could've been handled differently. And while LeBron's taken most of the beating from that night, it really had a large impact on his new team. Immediately, with a strong contribution from the way LeBron announced his intentions, the Heat were America's most hated team. Not just LeBron. But joining him was Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at the front of the table.

Bosh joined ESPN Radio to talk about the usual list of stuff you talk about while the NBA's locked out in August -- playing overseas, last season, next season, etc -- but he was also asked about "The Decision." Specifically, do you think it should've been handled differently or should everyone just own up to it?

“I say you own up to it. We all make mistakes. I think anybody would be kidding themselves if they thought they were perfect at anything. I mean why change it? We’ve already went through with everything. Whether good or bad, whether it was a good decision or bad decision, or we should have done this, could of done that, if we would of done this. We are here now. Everything has happened, so let’s just own up to it. Yeah we did it. Yes. If it was a mistake? If I see it as a mistake and here’s the reasons why, but here’s the reasons why it is going to help us in the long run.”

I think there's a bit of confusion here as to if we're talking about just the one-hour program, or the whole process of it, which would include the crazy South Beach celebration party before the team even practiced. (I think that's what Bosh means here, along with the three players coming together.)

But he's certainly keen on taking responsibilty for whatever he feels like taking responsibility for. He's right: You can't wish you would've signed with the Mavericks or Bulls now. You're with the Heat. Unless they decide to trade you, you're there and it's your job to figure out how to win. That was the commitment those guys made when they put their names on the paper with Pat Riley and they're going to try and follow through.

"The Decision" was a huge mistake. The events that took place immediately after were too. You can't change it now, you can just move forward. And the best way to make everyone forget, or at least maybe forgive, is to win. That's how it works.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:38 pm
 

Howard says 'The Decision' is a cautionary tale

Posted by Royce Young

I don't know if you know this, but Dwight Howard is going to be a free agent in the summer of 2012. True story. And you might not think so, but it's going to be kind of a big deal.

There's already pretty much a new report, some new speculation or a new rumor every couple days about who Howard likes, who he doesn't, what he wants or where he wants to live. It's not quite a frenzy yet, but you can be sure it'll get there.

The good news is, we've already been through this rodeo once. LeBron James' free agency in the summer of 2010 is about as good a peek into how crazy the whole NBA recruitment process can be. Howard's extravaganza won't touch LeBron's for a lot of reasons, one of them being because Howard's not going to let it. Via Sports Radio Interviews, Howard was asked if LeBron's process and "The Decision" provided a blueprint on how not to do things:

“I think so. I think the way he did just seems like it just made people seem he ditched the whole town of Cleveland. I don’t think he meant it like that, but that’s how it came off and it hurt a lot of people. I actually talked to a lot of people in Cleveland who were just hurt by how he did it, so I think that was the biggest thing. He did everything he could in Cleveland. I think he felt like he just had to move on.”

Awareness, it's a good thing, Dwight. The fact that people have learned from LeBron's fateful night in a plaid button-up is a good thing. Kevin Durant said once that process and attention intrigued him to wonder what it would be like, but like Howard, acknowledged that it's probably not the best way to do things. LeBron's decision had good intentions and definitely made for great TV. We were all watching, which was the point. But he alienated fans that love(d) him and ticked off a lot of others. Howard, who's one of the most likable personalities in the league, definitely wants to avoid anything like that.

Just in watching it, Howard said, that he could immediately see the issues. He said he could see it in LeBron that the whole process had really worn on him.

“I watched it live. I could tell he [LeBron James] was hurt before he even made his decision known to everybody. He was very hurt and it just looked like he really didn’t want to get up there and do what he was doing. He had to make the best decision for him and his career and to just see all the stuff that happened after he made his decision. I think that’s the thing that hurt Cleveland fans the most is the way he did it. I think that’s what hurts them the most.”

I think anyone with a brain understands that LeBron wasn't intentionally trying to make everyone hate him. And maybe he did sense it was a bad idea at one point. That's all been beaten to death, but with Howard being the prize of 2012 and a player near the level of LeBron in terms of how hard teams are going to try and woo him, the fact he understands what didn't work is certainly good. At least for him and his brand. Because in the end, that's what these guys are trying to protect.

There will be no Howard "Decision," no one-hour special, no attention grab. At least that's the plan right now.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 6:15 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Looking back at "The Decision"

Posted by Matt Moore 



In this week's return edition of the Friday 5 with KB, we look back on "The Decision," the future of Chris Paul, how a hard cap affects trades, and who among the owners could end this insanity.

1. Well, it's been a year since "The Decision." Beyond the context of the lockout, how does the Decision look to you now?

KB: It still looks as self-serving, tone-deaf, and poorly orchestrated as it did then. But I think everyone's sensitivities have been muted -- even residents of the great state of Ohio. You can't be mad forever, right? Plus, LeBron managed to carry himself even worse during the Finals than he did during the Decision, so there's that. As far as your caveat, it's impossible to look at anything in the NBA through a prism other than the lockout. The way free agents flexed their muscle last summer, I think, was at least part of the motivation for owners to put the hammer down with this lockout. They want cost cutting, but they also want control back from the stars who owned them last July. One important point that bolsters the players' argument for a flexible system with maximum player movement: Look at how much revenue and interest were generated by last summer's player movement. If the NBA wants to maximize both, wouldn't it want a fever-pitched free agency period every year?

2. Compared to the relative calm of the lockout, how do you look back on the insanity of last summer's 2010 free agency period?

KB: With horror. I mean, from a coverage standpoint, it was one of the most challenging things I've ever had to deal with as a sports writer. I'm not whining or complaining, but we're talking about three hours of sleep a night, days without shaving or seeing family members, just a flat-out bunker mentality in a small bedroom in our apartment, talking, texting, and emailing until well past 3 a.m. every night for weeks. There are a lot of incomparably good things about the job, but the first two weeks of July last summer were pure hell.


3. You unloaded The Berger Plan Part II late this week. One question for the hard cap. How's that going to impact trade movement? In the NFL we hardly see trades at all, and in basketball, that flexibility is crucial as you said. How does a hard cap influence that kind of player and contract movement?

KB: Trade restrictions are one area I didn't get into too much, but I agree, it's an important topic. I favor doing away with base compensation and other impediments to trades. I think the Sept. 1 cap-casualty deadline will add to the player movement as sort of a second wave of free agency. But I also believe for competitive balance to be maximized, teams need to have as much flexibility to trade players as possible.

4. Lot of talk about the fact that if David West leaves, CP3 will be right behind him. What's the temperature of the water in New Orleans right now?

KB: Hard to say, because everyone is in lockdown mode for the lockout. Personally, I've always believed that CP3 was going to leave New Orleans anyway -- provided the new CBA allows it -- so I don't think having David West or not having David West was going to make a whole lot of difference.

5. If there was one owner we could put in charge to get a deal done to end the lockout, who do you think it should be?

KB: I think Peter Holt, the chairman of the labor relations committee, is reasonable and has enough clout to bridge the gap between high- and low-revenue owners. Mark Cuban is the smartest, the most creative, and the best businessman, but he's too much of a radical hard-liner to get any sort of consensus or compromise with the players. Clay Bennett is indebted to David Stern for helping him move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, and his clout is on the rise. I'd probably say Holt, who gives you the best and worst of both worlds -- a small-market owner for a team that carries a high payroll and, at least in terms of gate receipts, brings in big-market revenues.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 3:25 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Jim Gray talks The Decision, says he wasn't paid

Posted by Royce Young

Pretty much everyone involved in The Decision has spent the last year taking a bit of a PR beating. Of course LeBron, but also Maverick Carter, ESPN and even the guy that did the interview, Jim Gray.

It's the one-year anniversary of The Decision so Gray joined the Dan Patrick Show, via CSN Chicago, to talk about that strange night at the Boys and Girls Club in Connecticut. One irk Gray has about the reaction from the special was that he walked out with a fat paycheck.

“I wasn’t going to be the only one to be paid,” Gray said.

And you're not going to believe this, but Gray also said he was surprised at the negative reaction to it.

Dan asked Gray what LeBron’s mood was like before. ”You could tell this wasn’t something easy for him,” Gray said. “It wasn’t jovial. There wasn’t any champagne or any corks going off. … I think it was a tough deal for him.”

Gray thinks it was harder than people realized for LeBron to leave Cleveland. “I think he tried his best to stay a Cavalier,” Gray said. “I think it was hard for him to recruit anyone….”

Dan asked if he could have a mulligan, what would he do differently. Gray said he wished that he explained why they were at the Boys’ and Girls’ club.

Yeah, because explaining why they were at the Boys and Girls Club would DEFINITELY have changed everyone's pespective. Because it wasn't already obvious enough that money was going to charity. Didn't matter though. People aren't stupid. Everyone could see through the facade of the goodwill. Yeah, it was a really nice gesture and something LeBron didn't need to do. But the idea of The Decision wasn't inspired to just make some money for a charity. There was always more to it than that. Hence the backlash.

Everyone involved in The Decision has spent the last year scrambling to recover a bit from the special, Gray being one of them. Reports were that he walked away with a massive payday from it, but he says he didn't make anything. Whatever the case, The Decision was a bad idea from the beginning and no amount of hindsight could really ever fix that.

Via PBT

Posted on: July 8, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 1:59 pm
 

The Decision: One Year Later

Posted by Matt Moore

LeBron James walked into a Greenwich, Conn., Boys & Girls Club 365 days ago, sat down in a purple-plaid button-up with Jim Gray (who let that guy into this thing, again?), and said the words so famous. I'm not even going to bother you with a YouTube clip. You know what happened.

In the year since, James has been transformed into some sort of mutated version of himself. He's hated by fans in Chicago, Boston, New York, L.A., and especially Cleveland. He's booed in random arenas. He's filleted by every major columnist, television personality and talk-show host every time he opens his mouth. He's public enemy No. 1, all while he's the most popular jersey in the league, its most recognizable star and, arguably, the game's best player. 

So the question should be asked: What exactly did we learn from "The Decision"?

Consider our reaction when the television special was announced:
It doesn't matter where James goes. It's how he announces it. The man is having an hour on the most powerful sports television entity in the world, selling his own advertising, and donating it to charity, only furthering his image. There will be backlash, because that's what happens when you market yourself. It's self-aggrandizement, but you should also recognize that it's proof of the power of controlling your own message, of honing and delivering it on your own terms. More so than going to New York or Chicago or staying home and being the hero, it's the process of his declaration that gives this moment its weight. It's false dramatics, but then, this is sport. We turn athletes into Warriors and games into legends. We're not above this behavior, James is simply harnessing its full power.

LeBron James is on the verge of a decision which will impact the next half-decade in the NBA. He could win multiple titles or walk away empty handed. He could destroy Cleveland or save it. He could resurrect New York, rise in Jordan's shadow, claim Brooklyn as his kingdom, or bring the party to South Beach. But in reality, regardless of his decision, he's making history. He's bringing the power of individual control to a new level, and capitalizing on the full weight of his business potential. For years, he's discussed wanting to be a global icon. It turns out that where he plays may not be the key to accomplishing that. Instead, his method for revealing his decision could be the launching pad towards finally reaching that particular atmosphere.
via Community - CBSSports.com.

"The Decision" was supposed to capitalize on a rare opportunity to expand James' brand to global status. For years, there had been talk that James' ultimate goal was to be a "global brand" and not just a basketball player. This seemed to fit right in line with that thinking. Despite the money going to a good cause (a fact which really was overlooked in the whole thing; what's more important, where James played the next few years in basketball or helping kids have better lives?), the move did not come off as empowerment. Or more accurately, it did, and that empowerment offended people.

Athletes are better served by having things "blessed" upon them. Offered an extension from your team despite its decision-making that led to things like, "We should get Antawn Jamison not Amar'e Stoudemire because we don't want to give up J.J. Hickson" and "Ben Wallace will be the difference maker!"? You should be humbled to have been blessed with the offer. It's not just that you shouldn't act as if James did in orchestrating the Decision (or his people did, rather), it's that you should be the opposite. Kevin Garnett lost no face in sad-facing his way out of Minnesota, because he did it out of the public eye and when asked about it, never said anything about choosing anything other than Minnesota. James challenged all that, spat in the face of it. And no one liked that. Especially not Cleveland.

If there was one group of people who were right, and continue to be right, in bashing James and keeping the fires of hatred alive, it's Cavs fans. That was either the legitimate reason, or viable excuse, for all the hatred outside of the state of Ohio, the idea that everyone felt bad for Cleveland. This, despite the fact that most big-city, coastal demographics could have cared less about everything in between the coasts, at least as it relates to sports (and in reality in regards to most things) every day up until July 8th of last year, and every day after that didn't involve LeBron James in the discussion. All of a sudden, everyone was heartbroken for Cleveland, without ever really understanding how the trauma was simply part of a bigger picture that crosses all sports, and honestly reflected a lot of the frustration from non-sports factors like politics and the economy. But Cleveland was the rallying cry, the "Remember the Alamo" for hating LeBron James. And it was righteous. 

The Decision itself was overdone. That's definitely true. And it was obnoxious. Trust me, I had to cover the thing, responding to every aspect of it. I've had to live with "taking my talents to..." jokes for 365 days and have drowned in the overbearance of both James' process of selection and the subsequent fallout. It was over the top. But there's nothing wrong with being over the top. It's just a little sleazy. It just makes us feel uncomfortable. The questions about a free agent's power to make his own decision about his future? That's a bit more complicated.  We like the excitement of player movement, but we're uncomfortable as a society with empowered athletes taking this much control. There are a number of theories why that is. Maybe it's racial. Maybe it's just that it makes sports seem too corporate, too driven by money, as we continue to cling to the idea that you should love to play and love your team. Maybe it's that it comes off as greedy. But for whatever reason, we're not comfortable with that. Throw it into a nationally televised audience in a whole big production and it's an entirely different thing. Then have the player turn his back on his home state, the city he was drafted into, the team that needed him more than any other. That didn't sit right with us. Some called it wrong. It's hard to go that far when you look at the things people do in this society, what athletes notoriously do in their down time most often. James didn't break a law, he didn't hurt anyone beyond making them cry over sports which is a decision they make to become that emotionally invested. He didn't assault, steal from, or morder anyone. But it struck a nerve, and that never sparked a year's worth of hatred that will continue for the forseeable future. 

The big result of "The Decision?" James created a new storyline, the modern narrative: Everyone Hates LeBron. There should be no pity here, it's what James created, and not only that, he only pushed it further with each dumb thing he said. For a brief time, from after the Boston series through the end of the Chicago series, it looked like he may have figured out how he needed to conduct his behavior, that he needed to be contrite. But then the struggles resumed in Dallas, and he reacted the same way he has throughout his career when criticized. Not with indifference, humility, or even deft resistance, but with outright defiance, seeming every time like a spoiled child who wouldn't admit it when things didn't go his way. "The Decision" revealed him as a character we could indulge in antipathy towards. It gave a reason, to people outside of Washington or those who disliked him because of their loyalty to another great (Kobe or otherwise), or a team rivalry (Boston or otherwise), to genuinely dislike his character. Maybe we needed it. Maybe it's just the way it is. But the year since has shown us something. There's no going back.

James' brilliance in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, performing in the clutch, taking over games, downing both Boston and Chicago, two of the best teams in the league, did nothing to earn James respect from the masses. Instead, most everyone muttered, looked at their shows, and spit vitriol about how the Heat should be that good with that kind of talent, or that it was about time. There's no redemption to be found. The glee in James' failure in the Finals was so nearly visceral that there was almost a parade in every town that wasn't Miami to celebrate him falling on his face. This isn't to say that's wrong. Again, this is what he created, this is the empire he built. It's one that's feared and loathed and hated, but the money is still produced all the same.

"The Decision" changed everything, the NBA, the league's momentum, people's feeling towards LeBron, towards free agency, and players' own sense of their empowerment. Dwight Howard will hold the Magic captive just as Carmelo Anthony held the Nuggets captive just as James held the Cavs captive before slaying them on national television. James' brand has never been stronger. More people tune in to watch him and see what he does than ever. It's just that now, it's not out of love. It's out of the interest in watching him fall.

"The Decision" lasted an hour. The famous words just a few seconds. But this show? Even through a lockout and even through a cathartic victory for the people as the Mavericks' team concept busted the superteam. Through all that, the show will go on.

There's no going back.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 11:58 am
 

Video: LeBron James, The Decision... Reeeeeemix

Posted by Royce Young



It's been one year since LeBron James dropped those six famous words that he'd be taking his talents to South Beach. And who better to commemorate that than the one and only DJ Steve Porter with a quality LeBron Remix.

It is a little funny to think that a year ago today, we were all gearing up to find out where LeBron would be playing. The anticipation, chatter and interest was at a ridiculous high. This year though, we're stuck in a lockout and nothing is happening. Way to go, NBA.
 
 
 
 
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