Correction: in the previous post, we gave the date of the James, Wade, Bosh plan to sign with the same team as beginning during the 2004 Olympics. The plan was conceived at the 2008 Olympics.
Note: these are the recollections and words of Nerds AI, AP followed by Stacy’s remarks.
As the anniversary of The Decision loomed, I decided to ask AI and AP to write out their personal reflections on the event, how they remembered it, and how they experienced it. (i.e. where did you watch it? What did you eat?)
When LeBron James’s free agency approached, he was vocal about leaving Cleveland; his hometown which he stated he would “play for the entirety of his career.” Possibly the hottest free agent to hit the market, teams began to make the proper adjustments to potentially house this incredible talent.
Season-long plans thrown-out the window, other players’ contracts ready to be adjusted, trade plans placed on-hold . . . You name it, the majority of the NBA was doing their best to make room for one of the “best” acquisitions of all-time.
Let the dramatics commence!
Basketball is a team sport paired with growth, perseverance, losing, winning, and above all else, the love of the game. The coverage of this “decision” was unlike anything the sports world had experienced. Press conferences about nothing, interviews about fairy tale championships; overnight, the NBA became the LBA, LeBron Basketball Association. This was contradictory to everything listed above. This was strictly for attention.
Little did the Wide World of Sports know, our world about to be tossed into turmoil over two words, “Miami Heat.”
After months of “deliberation,” stalling, attention-seeking, LeBron James announced he would be signing with the Miami Heat. He led the fans, his peers, and the world to believe he could potentially sign with Miami, New York, or Chicago. After some time, the truth surfaced: LBJ did not have any intention of signing with any team but the Miami Heat.
This gained negative and positive responses from the world. The very team aspect of a sport loved by millions was brought into question with this move, “What did we just ‘witness’? Was that morally right to lead everyone on? What about other free agents?” Questions swirled and loomed surrounding The Decision. Chris Bosh eventually joined LeBron and Dwayne Wade in Miami, thus creating the first “Super Team.”
Since this “decision” was made, the city of Cleveland felt betrayed, fans felt deserted, and other teams were left in panic mode after not securing the man they set their hopes and dreams on. The Decision changed the NBA and how free agency would be viewed and skewed forever.
Since the fall of 2007, I could remember ESPN saying, “LeBron is going to New York when his contract expires.” So, in my mind, he was going to New York, but to which New York team: the Knicks or Nets? The Knicks are one of the most, if not the most iconic teams in NBA history who’ve struggled to win another NBA title since their last one in 1973. LeBron plus Knicks seemed like a no brainer. However, the New Jersey Nets (who were recently bought by Mikhail Prokhorov and hip-hop Icon/LeBron’s friend Jay-Z) were planning on moving the team to Brooklyn in the 2010 off-season and needed a superstar like LeBron. *queue “LeBron James is going to New York in Alicia Keys voice*
It’s July 1st and free agency has opened. This free-agent class is led by the best player in the league, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, and Amare Stoudemire. I honestly didn’t care where anyone else went at first, but after watching ESPN for weeks about free agency, I became somewhat interested where Wade went. The others? I still didn’t care. According to reports, the top suitors from LeBron were: Cavs, Knicks, Nets, Clippers, and Bulls and the top suitors for Wade were: Bulls and Heat. Wade teased Bulls fans that he would be joining the Bulls and had the city of Chicago in aww. However, Wade was just trolling and re-signed with the Heat. But don’t worry Bulls fans, they did sign Carlos Boozer and had a chance at LeBron. Just kidding! Even though I’m from Chicago, I would’ve loved to have seen Derrick Rose play with either LeBron or Wade. The Clippers were out of the running for LeBron’s services because LeBron wasn’t an L.A guy (Ha-ha). The Nets were out because they couldn’t move to Brooklyn until 2012. And the Knicks, well it’s the Knicks. They did get Stoudemire, but yeah. So, it looked like LeBron was going to stay with the Cavs!!! Wait a sec, another team would emerge. The Miami Heat had re-signed Wade and was also able to sign Center Chris Bosh and still had cap space to sign another star player. I knew that LeBron and Wade were good friends, but this was crazy. NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE NBA did three all-star players join forces in their mid-20’s. I thought this would never happen because LeBron had just petitioned to have his Cavs number changed from 23 to 6, and more importantly, stars didn’t play on the same team in their primes. I’ve seen this with players who were older and were nearing the end of their careers, but not guys who still had a lot of careers ahead of them. Also, how was LeBron going to be “the guy” if he joined someone else’s team??? Since LeBron was in high school, he was known as “The Chosen One.” Now he was known as the 2nd one, maybe even the 3rd one. But this was only a rumor.
It was announced on July 8th LeBron would have a live one-hour special to announce where he would be playing next season, better known as “The Decision”. I was cool with him announcing his decision on live tv. I was actually happy because it gave me a reason to get buffalo wings and pizza. However, not everyone else felt the same way. Immediately everyone judged LeBron for making this announcement on live tv. From the media to LeBron’s fans to the people who didn’t even like him; the decision upset a lot of people. People were mad because they were upset that this twenty-five-year-old kid had this much power and they didn’t know how to react. I was getting angry because if you felt this strongly that the decision was a bad idea then don’t watch it. Another fun fact, it was ESPN’s idea to do the special in the 1st place. Anyway, it was now time for LeBron to make his decision. According to multiple sources, LeBron was going to announce he was going to play for either Miami or Cleveland next season. I personally didn’t care where he played at as long as he won.
The media and fans wanted him to stay in Cleveland because it would solidify his legacy by winning in Cleveland. It was also announced proceedings from the decision would go to the Boys and Girls Club of America per LeBron’s choice. LeBron came out to a gymnasium full of kids and Kanye West and announce, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach”
To be honest, I wasn’t all that surprised. I mean, after all, all the reports said he was going to Miami and he did. The whole decision had a flat feeling for me. I bought wings and pizza for this? I was expecting more. Anyways I was still happy for my boy, but others didn’t feel the same. Most people I talked to were angry. They were mad because they knew LeBron was going to win. People can make up any excuse to why they didn’t like the decision, but at the end of the day, they were mad because they KNEW he was going to win.
Meanwhile, the Bulls led by Rose, Noah, Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson, and the Bulls FA signing Carlos Boozer were putting their own stamp on the league. After starting the season 12-8, the Bulls went on a tear during the final 6 weeks of the season, winning 21 of their final 24 games, ending the season 62-20, tying the record of the 97-98 Bulls championship season. During a preseason game against the Raptors, I’d boldly predicted the Bulls would win 60 games, which was summarily shot down. Suddenly the UC was rockin’ again. The Sadhouse on Madison was mad once again! Derrick Rose was electrifying the league. The kid from Chicago was putting in work! The Bulls made quick work of the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, winning the series 4-1, then the Atlanta Hawks 4-2 in the semifinals. Surprising no one, Derrick Rose was named the league MVP, making him the youngest player in league history to achieve the feat at 22 years, 191 days. Waiting for the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals were none other than the vaunted Miami Heat. This was the matchup we all wanted. And by we, I mean me! I was still angry at LeBron and crew for The Decision, for getting my hopes up, for holding a parade before they’d won anything where they declared they intended to win, “not 1, not 2, not 3…”, and most of all for being good! The Bulls had defeated the Heat in their 3 regular season matchups.
At the start of Game 1, in front of 22,874 fans, NBA Commissioner David Stern presented the Maurice Padloff trophy to Derrick Rose. The commentators were expecting the series to go to the Heat, but in Chicago, we believed in our Bulls and after the Bulls administered a 40-point thrashing of the Heat, our confidence was at an all-time high. But that exhilaration would be short lived. The next 4 games went to the Heat and the Bulls were sent fishing while the Heat were off to the finals to face the Dallas Mavericks. It seemed like the championship prophecy the Heatles proclaimed was about to be fulfilled.
Join us for Return of the King, the third and final installment of, 10 Years of The Decision.