When Did Athletes Become Community Saviors?

This blog may seem out of date, but who cares. Recently the Nike Commercial below was released starring LeBron James. In the commercial, LBJ takes on his critics and asks them a simple question...

What should I do?

In the months following the Decision, the 90 minute press conference James gave in which he announced he would be leaving Cleveland and joining the Miami Heat organization, I've never waivered from my initial personal decision that he was right to leave.

One man, especially an athlete, should never be assigned the role of City Savior. Why was it James' job to save Cleveland? The man gets paid to pass basketballs, not laws. He is an entertainer... not a politician and should be treated as such.

Cleveland had seven years with a talented athlete and they made the most of it... well almost most of it. Had the Cavaliers won a World Championship at any point in those seven years than I wouldn't be writing this blog. James would stay the home town hero, not the traitor. Unfortunately, the Cavs did not get him a ring and so James did what I believe any of us would do in the same situation. If you or I were working a job we did not like, in a place we did not like, would we just tough it out? If we had a awful boss would we just let them walk all over us? If we felt we weren't appreciated in our work, would we just stay for the greater good?

Of course not. We'd be out of there in a New York minute. Well, for LeBron it was a Miami minute, and in that minute he made the decision that was best for him... and then the fallout.

Retired guys come out of the woodwork to give their two cents. Jordan, Bird, Barkley... all saying they wouldn't have left and would've shown loyalty to the team that hired them. Well that is easy for them to say. Jordan was the man in Chicago. He ran that town, snagged six rings. Bird won a bunch too. I wonder if neither of them had won anything if they would be so quick to pass judgment on James.

As for Chuck, who never won a championship, he actually did leave the first team that hired him... to join a super team in Houston and then in Phoenix... and still never quite got there.

While I'm on the subject of athletes being saviors... why during last year's Super Bowl were the Saints playing for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina and the glory of New Orleans? Why were they the Underdogs? If anyone had watched the Saints demolishing teams all last year while the Colts were squeaking by with minimal scores they would've seen that it was the Colts who were actually the Underdogs? Why was the public perception that New Orleans NEEDED the victory? Did Indianapolis not NEED it? Trust me, I work in Indianapolis... they needed a Super Bowl win just as bad as the other 31 NFL cities.

Why can't we just let athletes be athletes? Why do we have to make things bigger than they are? Why can't we let the stories of sports be as simple as the actual games taking place rather than spin stories to upsell the product?

And one more thing,  Jordan and Bird had nothing to say about the fact that neither of them have anything to do with the teams that hired them now and yet are both still employed by the NBA. What was all that talk about loyalty guys?

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