Tag:The Decision
Posted on: April 13, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 12:33 pm

LeBron James claims No. 1 Jersey worldwide

LeBron James takes over top jersey sales spot from Kobe Bryant for the first time in seven years. Despite all the bad publicity, have things actually worked out for James' quest to pursue global icon status?
Posted by Matt Moore

Hail to the King, baby. 

In a stunning development, the NBA today announced a change at the top of the NBA jersey-sales leaderboard. From the NBA: 
LeBron James of the Miami Heat has grabbed the No. 1 spot on the NBA’s Most Popular Jerseys list, regaining the top ranking for the first time since April 2004. Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant, who has owned the position since the start of the 2008-09 season, finished second overall for the 2010-11 season, while Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics rounds out the top three for the first time in his career.

Wait, the most hated man in America is now the most popular jersey-seller? He passed Kobe Bryant in the middle of a three-peat? Is this life? 

The development comes as a continuation of James' recovering popularity, as evidenced by his improvement in Q Rating recently . It's strange that James would be having this resurgence, even if the evidence is based on that of the casual fan. The biggest storylines of this season surrounding James are of the whole crying thing, the Heat's struggles, his mother getting arrested, and him generally making comments which make him look bad. Those are the stories that reach casual fans. It's almost as if the rampant media criticism of James that has existed outside and occasionally within the halls of networks affiliated with the NBA has backfired. 

Have we, the public, forgive James? Or is this more indicative of a disturbing concept: that "The Decision," as poorly conceived and even more poorly executed as it was, actually achieved its intended impact, of getting James on the market as a global commodity?  James angered fans in two major markets by passing them up, and stands as the top of the Most Wanted list by contrast in L.A. where Kobe fans balk at his ringless hands laying claim to the title of Best Player Alive. He is the player Boston fans most love to defeat, rivaling even L.A. at times, it seems. And yet there is, at the top of the sales chart. 

An alternative theory would be that James took over the top spot simply as a result of a team switch. All of the diehard LBJ fans who didn't turn on him after "The Decision" went out and bought new Miami gear. But I have a hard time believing James got big pickups from the biggest contingent of Cavs James jersey owners, those in the great state of Ohio, don't you? And given the perceived outcry and boo birds in New York, Chicago, and elsewhere, you'd have to think there's something more going on here than just collectors switching over. 

James delivered P.R. nightmare after P.R. nightmare this season. He's been blackballed from the MVP vote on account of his perceived popularity. His team is third in the Eastern Conference, he has no championships, and his marketing agency does a poor job in representing him, bosom buddies though they may be. James' personality and game have spoken for themselves, and whether we like it or not, it's working.

Hail to the King. Not the champ, but the King. 

Here's the run down of the numbers. 

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:
1. LeBron James, Miami Heat

2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
3. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
4. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
5. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
6. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
7. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
8. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
9. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
10. John Wall, Washington Wizards
11. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
12. Shaquille O’Neal, Boston Celtics
13. Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
14. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
15. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
Posted on: December 1, 2010 8:08 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 8:46 pm

LeBron James and his Kingdom of Ruin

As the Heat get set to visit Cleveland Thursday night, and the NBA world turns its eyes on a hurt and angry fanbase, we look at the very real dangers and complicated emotions at work as LeBron James returns to the place he once called home.  Posted by Matt Moore

"Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done..."

And lo, what a Kingdom LeBron hath made.

Thursday night, as you may have heard from a few hundred thousand places , LeBron James returns to a very different Cleveland than he left five months ago. Awaiting him tomorrow night will likely be the most hostile crowd in modern NBA history, and that includes the crowd that engaged in a fist fight with Ron Artest amid the stands in Detroit. The Malice in the Palace was a spur of the moment debacle from a heated rivalry. This is an explosive situation that's been under pressure for an entire calendar season with everything from recession stress to the very personal nature of sports fandom, and how it relates to the city of Cleveland slowly raising the temperature higher. The situation James faces tomorrow night is all together more intense and deeply rooted, and considerably more dangerous than any we've seen since free agency began.

There may have been more disgusting outbursts at games in the league's infancy, given the racist overtones that have marked our country and with basketball having been so closely tied with the African American community since its own inception into our culture. But what LeBron meant to Cleveland, and what he means now, has helped to create a powder keg which is complicated by the current economic climate, a half-century old legacy of sports failure for a town whose culture is drenched in sports revelry, and moral values inherent in the middle of our nation. "You just don't do what LeBron did, and you certainly don't do it how he did it," is the prevailing wisdom in Cleveland.

Whether you agree with what James did, or how he did it, or not, the situation remains. Cleveland fans need to vent, to express their disappointment, hurt, and feeling of betrayal. They need closure, but don't feel like they can have it while the party goes on in South Beach, even if it's turned kind of lame and no one knows why Jamiroquai showed up and is DJ'ing. They really feel like they need this. And maybe they do. The real problem here has been the NBA's compliance with making what is already a looming debacle into something altogether worse.

The league could have done their best to maintain damage control on this. They could have scheduled it for a run-of-the-mill Tuesday night early game in January, or even February. Let things go for a while longer, to defuse, and certainly not put it on TNT. As it stands, the NBA has given the world front row seats and put Cleveland on stage, leaning back and saying "So, Cleveland? What have you got?" This situation was going to be volatile no matter where or when it occurred. But it did not have to be promoted, adding more fuel to the fire.

Why is this important? Because for every plea for reasonable behavior from Ohioans, for every demand of some level of decency from a proud and decent fanbase , there is still that concern. Clevelanders aren't denying the possibility of the unspeakable occurring, because they know it is a very real possibility . It's possible that nothing unfortunate will occur, likely even, given the security measures being deployed by the Cavs and the NBA. But there are any number of other scenarios that could occur. LeBron getting pelted with beer is one of the less scary threats. From people rushing the floor to flipping the bus as it tries to leave the arena, to objects which are not soft plastic and liquid being thrown, there is a distinct possibility of something happening Thursday night which could do significant damage on the scale of The Punch or the Malice at the Palace.

Think I'm overreacting? Read the message boards, the comment threads, the Twitter pages. Realize that large groups of people are planning chants which insinuate some of the downright most disgusting rumors this side of a daytime talk show. But really, just get a sense of how much even reasonable Cleveland fans want to see James suffer. They resist their impulses because they are, after all, reasonable people. But many people in attendance will not be. Man of those people will be drinking.

For James, you have to wonder if he's really going to get anything out of this game. He can't feel good about himself in this context. He may not feel bad about himself because of his massive ego, but he almost certainly isn't happy with so many people openly hating him. James has never fed off the boos like Jordan did, like Reggie Miller did, like Kobe Bryant does. He isn't naturally dispositioned towards anger. He's drawn to laughter and clowning. Part of him may want to punish Dan Gilbert, but on the other, he's walking into a former home as the most hated man in the state.

All of this gets past the fact that at some level, LeBron James is probably a little scared to go to work tomorrow. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. No one should have to be scared for their safety to go to work, but there's also no heroism in what James is doing. He created this mess and now he has to live with it. Playing under those circumstances may prove to be more than he can handle, and the Heat aren't playing well to begin with.

As for the game itself? Miami should roll. Mo Williams is better than Carlos Arroyo, but it's not leagues. J.J. Hickson is better than Bosh in muscle but not skill. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are obviously superior to their counterparts and neither team has a legitimate center. That said, that hasn't stopped the Heat from playing terribly at times, nor from Cleveland playing better than expected. And if ever there was an opportunity for an emotional lift, the Cavs may have it. A win would endear this team to the city like no playoff appearance or All-Star birth could. This is all they want, to see the once and never King broken on their home floor, with their venom raining down upon him.

This is Dan Gilbert, fanning the flames and playing the victim while he himself is partially responsible and continues to get rich off the misery.

This is a Heat team wholly unprepared for the vitriol they have inspired the world over, and especially in a quiet Midwestern city.

This is a group of professionals for the Cavaliers who just happen to be caught in the crossfire.

This is a superstar who could have been the next great nexus of talent, fame, and popularity.

This is a fanbase torn and driven to extremes, rising up not as one, but as a stadium full of individuals venting their very personal rage to their former idol.

This is LeBron's Kingdom of Ruin. Long it may reign.

For more coverage of Thursday night's Cavaliers versus Heat game: 

Ken Berger is on the scene describing the mood as the stage is set. 

Gregg Doyel doesn't want Cleveland to give the world the satisfaction by acting out of character. 

Berger also breaks down the tampering charges being pursued by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and we try to put them into context

Zydrunas Ilguaskas is pleading for the fans to keep perspective

YouReact with tomorrow's headlines for the game. 

More links in today's Shootaround
Video of LeBron James being booed as he takes the court.
Video of LeBron James being booed during introductions.
Video of LeBron James tossing the chalk.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2010 4:56 pm

LeBron nominated for TIME Person of the Year

Posted by Royce Young

Since you're a former TIME Person of the Year winner, I assume you'll find this interesting.

TIME's Person of the Year award is something pretty prestigious and something that's definitely newsworthy. Especially when probably the biggest name in professional basketball is one of the nominees. And also especially when the reasoning behind his inclusion doesn't have really anything to do with what he achieved on the court.
The reputation of LeBron James, still the best all-around basketball player on the planet, took a huge hit this summer because of The Decision , the unfortunate ESPN spectacle in which James dumped his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, on national television, all in the name of charity. Yes, The Decision , which followed a year of intense speculation about where James would land, decidedly stunk.

But we watched it. And talked about it. And debated whether coddled professional athletes like James owe their hometown fans anything more than years of success, even if falling short of winning a championship. As James teams up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, all eyes are still on LeBron.
Currently, in the public voting, LeBron is sitting 23rd out of the 25 nominees, ahead of Hamid Karzai who is Afghanistan's possibly corrupt leader and Tony Hayward, BP's embattled CEO. So LeBron's evil of "The Decision" sits right alongside the devastating oil spill and Middle Eastern politics. Good to know!

The fact LeBron is on the list is nothing but fascinating though. The way "The Decision" has absolutely captured the attention of everyone , even months after its airing, is genuinely amazing. I mean, look at some of those names LeBron is on there with. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Barack Obama, the Chilean Miners, Lady Gaga, Steve Jobs, Sarah Palin, Mark Zuckerberg - it's pretty wild.

LeBron's response to it has been on point too: "That’s just crazy,” James said. “What those guys did, the courage and what they stood for, I should be nowhere near that list. Nowhere near it.”

Time including LeBron as a nominee is definitely an interesting take. Parnter Sports Illustrated has its Sportsman of the Year honor it hands out each year, and while LeBron is likely a candidate, one prominent SI writer has already said the award deserves to go to the guy many consider the anti-LeBron for exactly the opposite reasons TIME has nominated LeBron. And honestly, a good case can be made for both.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 12:41 pm

Cleveland has an answer for LeBron's question

Posted by Matt Moore

"What Should I Do?"

That's the question that's being asked every single night on every single commercial break in the NBA. It's relentless, it's constant, and while the early applause was deafening, the predictable backlash has begun. But nowhere, naturally, is it as fierce as in Cleveland.

Exhibit A.

If zings were weapons, that would be an atomic bomb.

Cleveland's got a great point on all those issues. I think the Game 5 question is one that will demand study for years, in chapters of books on LeBron and the current NBA age, but other than that, they're pretty on point. Well, besides James not having a legacy, because he does, because he's a basketball player on the professional level and very good at it. Thsoe guys tend to transcend, despite screwing over a Midwestern town.

The crux of this article brings up the best philosophical question about James' actions. Everyone, everyone, everyone agrees that the worst part of what James did wrong was "The Decision" and how he did it. ("Thanks.") But the question is if Cleveland really truly is just angry about that aspect and wouldn't have found something else to rage on if he'd notified them in good conscience. Is "The Decision" just the scapegoat for Cleveland's significant anguish over their sports teams and the loss of an icon? Or is it genuinely the beating heart of the rage that continues to spill from the Lake and which is going to make the Heat and Cavs' first meeting an outright riot zone, despite the presence of increased security?

We're never going to get an answer to that question, but the cause is insignificant. The reality is this. Cleveland has every right to hate LeBron James, and they are exercising that right to their fullest ability.

We're officially less than a month away from Heat at Cavaliers on December 2nd.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 2:30 pm

Ohio political candidate spoofs LeBron

Posted by Royce Young

In what probably isn't the first and certainly won't be the last, Ohio political candidate Lee Fisher spoofed LeBron's "Rise" commercial with his own "What Should I Do?" ad.

It's not perfect, but for a guy running for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, I'd say it's a pretty good move. Fisher nails just about every aspect of the commercial, especially the opening shot which is perfectly done.

I also like the "Break!" basketball slaps he does a couple of times which seem out of place and awkward. Those completely sold me on his candidacy. Also, his dunk over a LeBron cut-out was a nice touch. It looked like he really got up there.

But for a guy that's trying to make up some ground in Ohio, this will certainly play well to the people. It gets the message across, is clever and it's already making some good noise on the Internet. Well done Lee Fisher. Your pandering to the emotions of jilted Cavalier fans could very well work.

Category: NBA
Posted on: October 31, 2010 4:21 pm

LeBron says he'd do The Decision differently now

Posted by Royce Young

LeBron has been thinking about his decision and The Decision some for sure. I think his new Nike commercial that caused so much chatter was a pretty good indication of that. He's aware of the criticism he's taken and he knows a lot of that has come as a result of his one-hour special to announce where he was playing basketball.

And now, he says he probably would've gone about the highly controversial choice a little differently. He has no regrets about his decision to take his talents to Miami, but maybe he does about The Decision. As told to ESPN.com's Michael Wallace:
"If I had to go back on it, I probably would do it a little bit different," James said. "But I'm happy with the decision I made. There's always going to be a misunderstanding. I don't know what I would [have done], but I definitely would have changed it."
LeBron didn't elaborate on what specifically he'd have done differently. Maybe it was the setup. Maybe it was the words he used (take my talents to...). Maybe it was how he kept EVERYONE in the dark, including his former team. Who knows, because LeBron wasn't saying. He was just admitting maybe it wasn't the best thing ever, like he probably thought it was at the time.

Wallace says in his story that LeBron went on to joke about it not being too soon for teams to start recruiting him for the 2015-16 season after this current deal expires. I'm sure a lot of people won't fine that very funny.

When this current contract is up, LeBron will still be in his prime. He's 25 now and when this six-year deal is up will be just 31. And he has some contract clauses that could allow him to enter the market a year or two earlier. So certainly he'll have another chance at making a big free agent splash.
"I'll be 30, I'll be alright still, too," James said before the Heat played the Nets at the Prudential Center. "I'm here. I'm a Heat, man. So we'll see what happens."
It's kind of hard to believe LeBron is already thinking about his next move. Yes, he's with Miami now, but is the reason he's already thinking about how he'd have done The Decision differently is so that The Decision: Part Two will be better? Who knows. But if you're asking us what you should do LeBron, in five years I'd recommend going a different route.
Posted on: October 26, 2010 7:12 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2010 8:03 pm

Barkley calls LeBron commercial "waste of money"

Posted by Matt Moore

Charles Barkley will pretty much be hounding LeBron James all-season because, well, that's Chuck. But particularly, Charles had trouble with the commercial James dropped earlier this week (which also gave him a shoutout, wink). With that in mind, here's video of Barkley's reaction to the now-infamous commercial.

Ouch. Barkley claims that no one dislikes LeBron James beyond the decision. I'm not sure that's true. There's been enough hate tossed at him before The Decision for the hype given towards him. Then it went nova when James teamed up with two other stars. To say people don't mind what he did as a free agent, that's just not accurate. Don't believe that? Check Twitter .

No one denies James handled The Decision poorly, except LeBron. But there are forces at work here that descend deep into the depths of how we consider athletes, their power, and celebrity. Everyone in Cleveland has a right to hate James. But Barkley should realize that the problem goes far beyond Ohio.
Posted on: October 22, 2010 12:07 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 12:35 pm

Friday 5 with KB: Contraction, Horford, Melo

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger discusses contraction , Denver trades, and the upcoming season.
Posted by Matt Moore

Posted by Matt Moore

Each week we'll be bringing you five questions for our own Ken Berger of CBSSports.com about the inside happenings of the league. This week, Ken talks about the contraction issues , Denver's objectives in trade talks, and what he's looking forward to this season. You can email your questions to the Friday 5 With KB at cbssportsnba@gmail.com or hit us up on Twitter at @cbssportsnba .

1. Your report on the CBA discussions sent shockwaves through the blogosphere as you reported the league is considering contraction as an option. But with small-market owners Peter Holt and Glen Taylor as powerful as they are, aren't they two guys that would deeply oppose this concept?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Yes and no. In Taylor's case, I believe he'd oppose it only if his franchise were being eliminated. But business would be better for him if another struggling franchise were axed. In Holt's case, remember that the profitability challenge isn't about market size. It's about revenue. Yes, there are big and small markets, but that's not the point. The point is, there are high-revenue teams (such as the Lakers, who rake in nearly $2 million at the gate per home game) and there are low-revenue teams (such as the Grizzlies and Timberwolves, who make $300,000-$400,000). There are small-market teams that generate at or close to $1 million per home game (Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Utah), and there are teams in large metro areas that struggle (Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia). What the league has to constantly look at is, are the low-revenue teams doing as well as they possibly can in the markets where they're doing business? If the answer is yes, there are three ways to deal with it: 1) enhance revenue sharing to the point where those teams can compete and profit; 2) relocation; or 3) contraction. No. 3 is clearly a last resort, but you'd have to be the most rose-colored-glasses type in the world not to see that the NBA would benefit immensely from getting rid of two teams. The league as a whole would be more profitable, and the product would be better.

 2. Let's turn to our best-selling show, "As Melo Turns." You reported this week that Denver's exploring a series of one-on-one deals. We have serious questions about how good of a deal this is for Denver, particularly the whole "Anderson 'Flopsy' Varejao" angle. So what positions do you think they're aiming for with these one-offs? Or is it just any upgrade they can get?

KB: Denver's top priorities remain as follows: draft picks, young players, and cap relief. In recent weeks, after the four-way fell apart, they've added something to the list: getting rid of Kenyon Martin and/or J.R. Smith in the deal. Executives familiar with their strategy say the Nuggets appear close to abandoning another component of their wish list: a veteran player who is a decent replacement for Anthony. The thought being, if you're getting worse in the short term without Melo, why not go all the way and set yourself up to rebuild the right way? Why not "be Sam Presti," as one exec put it to me. So the long answer to your question is that the Nuggets' approach is in flux on every level, but there are certain things they feel they have to get out of this: draft picks, young players, and cap relief. If they decide to go ahead and move K-Mart and J.R., and give up the notion of trying to patch the hole with, say, Andre Iguodala, they'd be in a position to get more of all three.

 3. This week you saw a big peelback of the number of technicals compared to last week. It seemed like both sides were starting to find that "middle ground" you talked about last week. Do you think this is going to be a non-issue or do you think the union really is going to get involved legally?

For once, I agree with David Stern. Cooler heads will prevail, and the union will realize that this isn't a battle they want to wage. (Better to save their time, lawyers and money for the real fight over the CBA). Stern even budged a little Thursday when he admitted that some officials have overstepped in the enforcement of the new policy, and that they'd have to adjust. So as you and I have said from the beginning, that's what's going to happen. The players will back down a little, the refs will give them a little more leash, there will be marginally more techs doled out early in the season, and then everyone will move on.

 4. Al Horford, Jamal Crawford. Clock's ticking, at least on Horford, and we don't hear anything. What's the lastest on that front?

The Hawks have until June 30 to extend Crawford, so there's no rush there -- despite Jamal's understandable desire to get it done now. But with regard to both Crawford and Horford, Hawks GM Rick Sund has a long history of not doing veteran extensions. This was his approach in Seattle with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, and he did the same with Mike Bibby, Marvin Williams, Zaza Pachulia and Joe Johnson in Atlanta. (Note: Johnson was the only one of those players who got a max deal from Sund.) The point is clear: If this has been your philosophy in the past, early or mid-way through collective bargaining agreements, then it will most certainly be your strategy in the last year of a CBA. You can't 100 percent rule out Horford getting an extension by the 31st, but I doubt it. Unless the Hawks are getting a home-team discount, what's the incentive for them to pay Horford now when they don't know what market value will be under the new deal?

 5. Okay, Ken, last Friday 5 before the start of the season. We know you're least looking forward to the LeBron show. But what are you most looking forward to as the season starts Tuesday?

  I'm not least looking forward to LeBron at all. I was least looking forward to "The Decision" and its aftermath. I'm very much looking forward to watching him play alongside Dwyane Wade. It will be compelling theater, everywhere they go. Aside from that, just to mention a few things on my radar: I'm interested in seeing how Kobe Bryant's knee holds up; whether Kevin Durant and the Thunder are ready to take the next step; whether Amar'e Stoudemire will bring the buzz back to Madison Square Garden; whether Dwight Howard is as determined to dominate as he says he is; my first chance to listen to Stan Van Gundy eviscerate someone in a pre-game diatribe; my next chance to hear Howard imitate Van Gundy; the first of a million times this season that Jeff Van Gundy says, "I just don't understand that;" where and when Carmelo gets traded; and LeBron's first game in Cleveland Dec. 2.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com