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SBD/July 14, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies
LeBron Goes Home: James' Decision Ends Holding Pattern Throughout NBA
Published July 14, 2014
GAME OF THRONES: In Atlanta, Mark Bradley wrote, "We just saw again that LeBron James is indeed Bigger Than The Game." The NBA "essentially shut down while waiting for him to choose a team" (AJC.com, 7/11). ESPN's Tony Reali said so much was made of the "power of LeBron that he was wielding in all of this -- one player holding the league in the power of his hand." Columnist Kevin Blackistone said James "has taken the power away from the owners." Blackistone: "This is 'manifest destiny' on the part of the players" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/11). In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote James "shut down the free agent market." Washburn: "Such power, whether intentional or unintentional, will become customary as long as the NBA has maximum contracts and tightened salary caps that allow little freedom for teams chasing big-name players." While observers can "blame James for his lack of regard for the rest of the basketball community by taking 10 days to announce his decision, we also have to criticize many of the league’s general managers who halted their business to wait on a player they had zero chance of signing" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/13).
THIS IS THE END: In Atlanta, Steve Hummer in an open letter to James wrote, "Thank you for freeing us of the 24-hour-a-day cycle of speculation and guesswork that had hijacked sports cable and sports radio." Hummer: "Thank you, LeBron, for breaking the great free agent logjam in the NBA. Seemed like nobody was going to make a move until you did, awaiting the King's decree before getting on with their own plebeian business" (AJC.com, 7/11). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence wrote James' decision to leave the Heat is the "kind of seismic shift and watershed moment that doesn't come around very often in the NBA" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/13).