January 18th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

King James should let his play, not his mouth, do the talking

Miami Heat star LeBron James says the NBA should be contracted.
Miami Heat star LeBron James says the NBA should be contracted.

LeBron James was crowned “King James” before he ever stepped foot on an NBA court. He then proceeded to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to pastures much greener than any they’d experienced in their 40-year history.

That included two of the franchise’s three division championships and their only NBA Finals appearance. But in seven seasons with the Cavs, “King James” failed to bring home a championship.

What followed has become the biggest soap opera in recent NBA memory. His much publicized divorce from the Cavs last summer changed his image from a do-no-wrong highlight reel to a vilified figure that chose to share the pressure of winning with the Heat’s Dwayne Wade.

LeBron and the Heat have taken off after a shaky start, and currently own the East’s best record. But that hasn’t stopped LeBron from speaking out on a number of issues and making himself an even bigger target for his detractors.

A couple of days before the Heat’s clash with defending champion LA Lakers on Christmas day, LeBron suggested the NBA would benefit from contraction. LeBron believes the league has too many teams and as a result, the elite talent is too spread out.

LeBron pointed back to the ‘80s when star-studded rosters such as the one he currently plays on with the Heat weren’t uncommon. He said in the ‘80s teams had “three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall of Famers on the same team.” Is LeBron right? Probably. Should he be speaking out in favor of contraction? Most definitely not.

After all, contraction would mean cities would lose their teams and players would lose their jobs. Perhaps “King James” didn’t think about those little nuggets when letting his mouth deliver his latest "Royal Statement." How can we forget that the NBA world revolves around LeBron!

LeBron continued: “Not saying let's take New Jersey and let's take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I'm not stupid, it would be great for the league." We may be stupid LeBron, but you most certainly are not.

Was the contraction suggestion a way for LeBron to defend his decision to team up with Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami? If so, it’s not much of a defense. I can’t really see fans across the league who criticized his move to the Heat all of a sudden change their tunes and encourage the very same unification of power that would transpire with contraction.

If anything, LeBron reinforced his under-siege image in the eyes of his critics. But maybe that’s what he wants? In seven years as the good guy in Cleveland he never reached basketball’s summit. Maybe he likes his new role as the bad guy.

Recently his former team Cleveland suffered one of its worst losses in franchise history. The Cavs suffered an embarrassing 112-57 defeat to the Lakers – the fewest points Cleveland has ever scored in a game.

LeBron didn’t miss his chance to strike a low blow towards his former employers. He Tweeted after the game: “Crazy. Karma is a b****. Gets you every time.” Statements like that will not make him any friends. They won’t bring his growing list of critics to his corner. They will only add fuel to the anti-LeBron fire.

But maybe that’s exactly what LeBron wants. Maybe he realized good guys finish last. He’s ready to be the bad guy. He’s ready to win as the bad guy. But when LeBron talks, he should only do it on “The King’s” hardwood court. And if he hoists the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, then none of this will matter. It must be Karma.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. alehandro

    Lebron is clearly not big on diplomacy, but he makes a good point. There IS too little competition in the NBA regular season. The top teams start talking about the play-offs within a few weeks of the season starting, and are often able to coast through the bulk of the season saving their best for the post season. Reducing the size of the league may seem drastic, but if it achieves the long-term goal of improving the standard, then Lebron is right on the money. And how about this for a suggestion – split the league into NBA 1 and NBA 2 with promotion and relegation to and from the top level. That would create more competition, give the sub standard franchises the chance of some glory while also giving them something to aspire toward. If the NBA has designs on being a global entity, don't you think that improving the level of competition in a way that the rest of the world understands, because of its similarity to soccer, might be the way to go?

    January 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  2. Alejandro

    Winning a NBA championship does not mean a player is talented. Some tom dick and harry like sasha vujacic can even win a ring with just 2 mins of play time for every game. LeBron James is a skillful, talented player. So what if he didnt win a ring, his former team sucks. Look at them now. He got the right to say what he wants, and I dont think the nba evolves around him as what the author says. Maybe the author is just another Cleveland Cavaliers fanboy.

    January 19, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Reply
  3. Joe

    if the leauge would entertain the idea of contraction, and only the best players would remain, excluding the "tom dick and harry like sasha vujacic" you can give this fact a second thought: the best players in the nba are gathered in an event called all star game that consists of only two twelve-player teams. considering that there may be second rate players included in the game or first rate players not included, the nba will be a league of four teams consisting of 12 elite players. it will kill the 82-game market the 30-nba-teams created. besides, carmelo anthony would have troubles creating a niche in the nba if he is sharing minutes in the same team with durant or lebron. same thing with kobe, wade, manu, monta ellis, steph jackson, allen, (roy?)

    January 20, 2011 at 4:30 am | Reply
  4. marcos from Brazil

    Can't just he shut up and play? I would be much better to all of us honestly

    January 20, 2011 at 6:12 am | Reply
  5. Richard D. Jones

    Any true Ball player knows that Lebron James gave the Cavs player knows that Lebron James gave the Cavs 7 years took them to heights they never would have gone. Dan Gilbert knew 2010 was would have gone. Dan Gilbert knew 2010 was coming he gone. Dan Gilbert knew 2010 was coming he should have cleared Cap space same as Miami and others did. This is a business why shpuld he expect anyone and others did. This is a business why shpuld he expect anyone to stay without making improements. Only his bottom line was improving as long as LBJ stayed with no help. Ask Barkley, Nash,Malone and others who could have but stayed with promises of we will get better same day. while the owner got richer.

    January 28, 2011 at 5:15 am | Reply
  6. Neil Farr Sr

    James adventure puts real meaning into the words "you reap what you sow".

    February 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  7. Neil Farr Sr

    James put reality to the test. "You reap what you sow."

    February 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Reply

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