Saturday, August 14, 2010

Really, Bill?

You spend days ripping on LeBron James for signing with Miami and then you write this:

I love visiting Seattle and Portland -- two of my favorite cities in America, actually -- but could never live in the Pacific Northwest because nonstop rain puts me in a perpetual funk. If Portland drafted me No. 1 in a Sports Columnist draft, and I knew I could hold out for a few months and force them to trade me to San Diego, Miami or Los Angeles ... you're telling me I wouldn't hold out? Please. In a heartbeat. I need the sun. Sorry, Portland. It's not you, it's me.

Simmons has written on numerous occasions that he lives in LA because of the weather, that people going to college should go somewhere with nice weather, that the Northeast is depressing in the winter because of the weather, blah blah blah. When LeBron James makes the decision to play in Miami over Cleveland, Chicago, or New York, Simmons should be the first one saying "welcome to the team."

Note: much of Simmons' criticism of LeBron is based on the manner in which he announced his decision. I agree 100% on that front. However, if you're going to complain about the substance of the decision as opposed to the procedure, then you had better have clean hands. Additionally, Simmons is not dissimilar from most writers (especially NBA writer because the sport is so star-driven) who evaluate athletes based on whether they win championships. If LeBron is going to be judged based on the number of rings he wins with insufficient attention paid to context, then it makes perfect sense for him to ally himself with the best possible players. The fact that he was able to do so and live in Miami makes the decision even more of a no-brainer. Personally, I don't like the decision because Miami is one of the few cities for which I have a per se rule against rooting for its teams. (The others: New York, Philadephia, and Boston, with Boston being a more recent entry on the list. I liked the Pats and Red Sox just fine before the aughts.) However, the decision makes perfect sense to me.


Jeff said...

I agree that Simmons and other sportswriters are hypocritical when they argue should live in cities/suck up conditions they wouldn't. Not sure I agree with you on this one though because I think Simmons has made clear that he is fine with LeBron leaving Cleveland and gets LeBron wanting to live in South Beach and play with his buddies. His criticism, at least in recent pocdcasts has been about ho he announced the decision (as you point out) AND that Simmons is let down that LeBron chose to go play on the team of one of the 2-3 guys who should be his rival instead of forming his own gang (wherever) and trying to beat Wade. It's clearly teh selfish fan part of him but Simmons -- like many, including Barkley and co.--seems bummed that LeBron appears to want to go be Pippen when everyone thought he was Jordan and should try to be the alpha dog.

Personally, I don't have a problem with anything but the PR disaster that was the announcement but I do think there's no question that winning multiple titles with Wade won't do as much for LeBron's legacy as winning a few as alpha dog. It's kinda like how KObe only got partial credit for those titles he won with Shaq but gets the lion share of the credit now that'he's the lead guy.

Joel said...

Gotta co-sign with Jeff on this one. Would love to take Simmons to task for the perceived hypocrisy, but that is just not the case here.