Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven. Eight. That's the number of championships LeBron has to win for me to forgive him for 'The Decision'.
If you don't remember the particular hideousness of 'The Decision,' watch these two YouTube videos, then keep reading.
'Miami Heat Welcome Party'
The self-centeredness of these displays is what gives basketball a bad name. It also semi-ruined an NBA season, taking over the entire narrative and making it about hatred; hating this "super team" and wanting them to lose above all else. It turned the MVP race into ABL (Anyone But LeBron) and handed it to Derrick Rose. It made us all Dallas Mavericks fans, if only briefly.
Looking back, that all seems silly now. The Dallas Mavericks? Derrick Rose? Anyone But LeBron winning MVP? Laughable. But I still won't forgive, even in the midst of this historic win streak. I tend to forgive players for emotional decisions that they make on-court. One dirty play, one word out of line, a hard foul. They got caught up in the moment. But, 'The Decision' played out for months. That can't count as 'heat of the moment.'
One of my best friends is a Heat fan, on the grounds that only once in a generation does a player like LeBron come along, and we should all hope that he succeeds beyond our wildest dreams, for history's sake. There are merits to that argument.
But if you look at the greatest names in basketball, you'll notice a trend: Most of them didn't have to request a trade to win championships. Jordan, Magic, Bird, Russell: All won many championships on the team that drafted them. And for those that would say Cleveland is not Boston or Chicago, remember this: Before Russell, Boston had no banners in the rafters. Before Jordan, Chicago had nothing. Cleveland was LeBron's hometown, and he could've made it the next NBA dynasty.
Instead, he left. I feel safe speaking for Cleveland when I say that wound hasn't healed.
To be fair, any fan of basketball should be a fan of LeBron. He's taken his game to new levels, and a rising tide does lift all ships.
But he made a claim that he would bring to Miami not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven, but eight championships. And until he puts on that eighth ring, to me, he's just a guy who talks too much.