LeBron James sacrificed quite a bit to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami for the chance to form a new dynasty: millions of dollars, the ability to go out in public in Cleveland and, oh yeah, any shot he had of ever being considered the best basketball player of all-time.
I think that's what is most disappointing to those who don't live in Cleveland or cheer for the Cavaliers. With his combination of size, athleticism, scoring ability and court vision, LeBron was really the only player who had a conceivable chance of supplanting Michael Jordan as the best player to ever play in the NBA. It would have taken a lot of work from him, even more than the incredible amount I'm sure he already puts in, but it was possible.
Not anymore, though. After joining forces with Wade instead of looking to compete against him every year, and delivering that quote about how he looks forward to not having to be at his best every night for his team to win, we learned he's not wired with that killer instinct and competitiveness required to reach Jordan's level - or Kobe Bryant's, for that matter. Jordan and Kobe never say anything like that. They never even think it.
I don't fault LeBron for his decision. For one, few can be as insanely competitive as Jordan and Kobe. He just wants to have fun and win, which are two things he's very likely to do now. But as a result, he'll never reach his true potential, whatever that may be. It's what we don't want to see our superstars do and what we want our superstars to do, all at once.
It's disappointing in the same way it's disappointing whenever athletes don't reach their true potential. Now any title LeBron wins will come with the caveat that it wasn't even his team, but Wade's, that he won on. Furthermore, LeBron is at best Option 1A or 1B for the Heat, but he could also end up being considered Wade's sidekick when this plays out.
Also in doubt is if LeBron will have time to recover and aim to become the best ever after his contract with the Heat is up. He will be either 29 or 30 years old when he hits the free agent market again, but at that point he'll have been in the NBA for 11 or 12 seasons, and my worry is how his knees will hold up. We haven't quite seen someone LeBron's size play his high-flying style before, so it remains to be seen how his legs will handle however many landings after dunks over the long-term.
LeBron joining Wade and Bosh with the Heat is a fascinating story, in so many ways. We have yet to see how Pat Riley will fill out the roster, how LeBron, Wade and Bosh will co-exist, and the team will ultimately be judged on how many rings they win.
But no matter how many titles the trio can win, LeBron James' legacy stands to take more of a hit than it already has.
So, yeah, I'd say LeBron gave up a lot when he signed with Miami.