Let’s not waste time on whether or not the Knicks will pursue King James. They’re going to. Most will agree that they have to and from a business standpoint Donnie Walsh and the front office absolutely have to make a play for the player that is widely considered the best in the game. Now that we have that firmly established, allow me to lay out the reasons why New York doesn’t need King James.
1. King James Inc. - In the words of King James’ colleague, Jay Z “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business MAN! ” King James embodies this mentality. It works well if you’re a self promoting hip hop entrepreneur, but not if you’re depending on other people for your success. Then again it also depends on how you define success. If accumulating wealth and fame is King James’ desire than he’s doing a fantastic job. If being the leader of a championship team is how we measure success, than LeBron is still getting his sea legs in that department. He is so much more than simply a stellar basketball player. LeBron is the CEO of King James Inc, an empire in it’s infantile stage. With endorsements from McDonald’s, Nike, and Upper Deck, just to name a few, LeBron James is capitalizing on businesses that salivate over the opportunity to put a global superstar’s face on their products. LeBron James is good for business but is he good for a team?
Here is what James had to say after his dismal performance in Game 5 of the Cavs vs Celtics series. “I spoil a lot of people with my play. When you have three bad games in seven years, it’s easy to point them out.” Translation: I didn’t win a championship in Cleveland because the fans and critics took me for granted while I was here. He went on to say…. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to go out and be great and the best player on the court. When I don’t, I feel bad for myself.” In other words, King James is above criticism from anyone else because he, is his toughest critic. Things will change quickly if he does decide to come to New York.
It is in Cleveland where Lebron was given the designation of King James. By all accounts he has earned that moniker. The Cleveland economy literally depends on King James and if he should leave, then the area will be hit with the kind of depression that hasn’t been seen since Heidi Montag last looked into a mirror and tried to prioritize which “flaw” needed plastic surgery first. LeBron James Inc. would certainly take a major step in empire building with an extended stay in New York but New York doesn’t need LeBron the way Cleveland does.
2. Basketball is a Team Game – LeBron has yet to prove that any team with him as a member won’t be LeBron James’ team. What I mean by that is will the Knicks lose their identity and become LeBron James’ team instead? Would everyone bow at the altar of a star that so far hasn’t proven that he’s a championship player or will they be able to play as a team. The Celtics proved to be a better team because they knew how to utilize each other. All of a sudden when LeBron wasn’t able to carry the Cavs on his back, they looked completely lost and outmatched. Bringing LeBron to the Knicks would guarantee that the Knicks would be playing competitive basketball in the regular season but I’m not yet convinced that a championship is his birthright.
3. He’s no Michael Jordan - I’ve heard the argument that King James has yet to have his Scottie Pippen and therefore he’s excused for not having won a title yet. First off, there will never be another Michael Jordan. You think Michael Jordan would have allowed the clock to run out in game 6 of the Celtics series? No way! Until LeBron and any team he’s a part of can leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that they’ll never stop fighting then any comparison to Jordan is insulting. Just because he might be the best player in the game doesn’t mean he’s in the same company as MJ. you have to win championships and have a burning desire to win.
If LeBron James does end up coming to the Knicks I won’t be unhappy in fact I’ll be estatic. I’m simply warning all the euphoric Knicks fans to not get caught up in the hype because getting King James doesn’t mean a thing unless King James learns to treat his teammates as peers, rather than peasants. I’m not talking about outward appearances. I’m talking about what’s in his heart. Is he a champion or a business man? We may find out soon.