Before LeBron James scored a single point as a member of the Miami Heat, he infamously claimed that he would win “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…” Oh boy did he get carried away in that moment. The spotlight had never been more heavily glared on his face at that moment. He welcomed the attention even though the majority was negative attention. His story that branded him had completely wiped. He was no longer the king who would rise up in the city that he grew up in and secure a championship. Instead, he gloated he sat next to two other superstars and basically claimed that the league was in the palm of his hand. In hindsight, it’s a little embarrassing for him to claim that he would win so many times, but since then he has been to the Finals six times in a row and next year seems like it would be seven because there is no one in the east stopping him.
Here we have a basketball player who was destined to be a superstar in the NBA since he played in high school. By playing on the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was given a narrative that he would be the hero of the city. He played into it a bit. The “Witness” campaign was established and he wanted to prove to people that he was the one to watch because he was going to make history. As soon as he left, people quickly changed the slogan to “Quitness” to mock his departure. Lebron James is a free man to make his decision on where to go. There is not a rule stating that he is not allowed to leave Cleveland, yet people felt obligated for him to stay and to win a championship. A huge burden indeed.
Do fans have a right to be outraged. Is this a decision that is exclusively for Lebron James to determine, or is there a greater say within the people? Ultimately, Lebron made the decision for himself and one that he believed would help his career as a whole. It wasn’t a bad decision it turns out. He won two titles and coasted to four final appearances.
Lebron James and the Miami Heat went on to face Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks. Lebron lost in… not one, not two, not three, not four, not five….but in six games. Typically, if you weren’t a fan of Lebron, you were rooting for Dirk Nowitzki to finally claim a title.
Lebron made the best decision for himself, yet people felt like they had a say in the decision because Lebron really did mean a lot to people. His branding and image through the internet and on TV gave a heroic status to him. And it’s incredibly difficult for a fan to see their favorite hero become the villain.