Ten years ago, The Decision was broadcasted live on ESPN. Thirteen million live viewers gathered to watch Lebron James announce that he would be joining the Miami Heat instead of returning to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He “took his talents to South Beach” and formed a big three with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. This made them a strong championship contender, as well as one of the most hated teams in sports.
Impact of The Decision
LeBron decided to leave the Cavaliers as he really craved an NBA championship ring more than just individual success. He believed that he could achieve this by joining his talented, good friend Dwyane Wade.
Cavaliers fans were outraged and showed their anger by burning his jerseys or any other merchandise that was related to James. This not only impacted the fandom of NBA, but also the way basketball players approached their free agency and contracts.
It ushered the league to become more player-oriented, meaning that players would join forces to win championships and superstars took control of their own careers. Although it was considered laughable, selfish, and cowardly, it is now common for players to proudly flaunt their talents with other superstars on the same team. Players like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George have done the same thing.
LeBron was compared to past generations of stars like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, who stayed on a single team for their entire career and brought championships to the city. However, the basketball era has changed, and now the making of a ‘superteam’ is considered normal in this generation.
2010-2014 Miami Heat
The Miami Heat hosted a welcome party for LeBron James and Chris Bosh at American Airlines Arena. Heat fans were excited and filled with joy. After the introduction, LeBron addressed the fans and promised championships.
Multiple championships. “Not 2, not 3… not 7,” said Lebron during the welcome party.
As soon as James joined the Miami Heat, they were championship favorites, and the Big Three showed off their chemistry by winning 58 regular-season games and finishing second in the Eastern Conference. However, they fell short in the NBA finals and lost 4-2 to the Dallas Mavericks as Dirk Nowitzki took home the trophy along with the finals’ MVP award.
Disappointed, LeBron came back even stronger and better in the 2011-2012 NBA season. Due to the NBA lockout, the season was shortened but they still managed to win 46 games in the regular season and reach the NBA finals. The Heat were able to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder and LeBron won his first ever championship.
The 2012-2013 season for LeBron was a success, as well. They won 66 regular-season games, finishing as the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and met the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. Noted as one of the best moments in NBA Finals history, Ray Allen of the Miami Heat sank a three-pointer in the last seconds of Game 6 to force overtime, eventually winning them the game. They won Game 7, and Lebron got his second championship in a row.
Lebron’s final season with the Miami Heat did not end well. Even though they were able to reach the finals, the Miami Heat lost to the Spurs 4-1 and that was the last time Lebron wore a Heat jersey.
On July 11, 2014, he decided he had “unfinished business” and went back to Cleveland. He successfully brought a championship to Cleveland in 2016, ending a 52-year championship drought in Cleveland.
What If Lebron Had Not Gone to Miami?
LeBron’s decision has greatly impacted what the NBA has become today. If LeBron had not joined the Miami Heat to form the Big Three, NBA players today would perhaps not form superstar teams to win a championship.
I believe that most of NBA players’ main goal is to win a ring; however, the impression and culture of staying on one team and bringing them a championship would have continued if it weren’t for LeBron.
Also, if Lebron had chosen other teams, I believe that he could not have won two championships as he did with the Heat. All the criticism, hate, failures, and successes made him stronger and better. The ups and downs built Lebron, and that is what makes him one of the greatest basketball players ever to have lived.