L-A-Bron: LeBron James Makes Move About More Than “Just Basketball”

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What has really separated LeBron James from his peers over the years is how amazing he handles the media. James has stayed out of trouble his entire basketball career, while allowing the media almost non-stop access to his life (and his life decisions). And that is why his handling of going to the Los Angeles Lakers deserves legitimate applause.

The first time James left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, it was with the ill-conceived “The Decision” television program on ESPN. There were reports that even the Cavaliers front office had to watch the show to find out what he was going to do, that’s right, apparently James didn’t even tell his former team beforehand that he was planing to leave. Now of course proceeds from the event went to charity, which was great, but James no doubt broke the hearts of some of his diehard fans in a way many deemed selfish and unnecessary. It was an act of showmanship from a young LeBron, finally free to choose what team he would play for.

Fast-forward to 2016 when he chose to return to the Cavaliers. Rather than a TV-special, this time James went with a letter which he distributed through Sports Illustrated with the help of journalist Lee Jenkins. This time a more mature and calculated James wrote about how he was returning to keep his promise to the city of Cleveland. But James was strategic in this letter, mentioning many players by name, and notoriously not mentioning others who would not go on to be a part of the team’s long-term plans. Every move by James is smart and measured, because he knows how the reactions will come out. He has experienced the love, the hate and everything in-between. And as he got older, decisions started to be more and more about his growing family.

Fast-forward to 2018. James is a free-agent yet again, after opting out of the final year of his contract with Cleveland. And there had been rumors for a while that with Magic Johnson serving as the President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers, he would be able to entice a player of James caliber to join his young squad. And Sunday night news broke that James would be signing a four-year, $153.3 million contract to join the Los Angeles Lakers. Last years, in his 15th NBA season, James averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and a career-high 9.1 assists per game. And while LeBron did receive a maximum-salary contract, it is important to note that he could have made about $50 million more in salary had he stayed in Cleveland.

But with LeBron’s oldest son about to enter high school, he wanted to turn his focus towards what is best for his family, as well as his legacy. James has a media company, Uninterrupted, as well as many business ventures that should be able to thrive in L.A. No one is sure if James will be able to lead this team, led by 20-year olds Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, and 22-year old Kyle Kuzman to a championship. That will be a long process if it is in fact those young players who will be the pieces around James.

But now we all know: LeBron James is looking to be more than the greatest basketball player of all time. With his move to perhaps the most high-profile basketball team in the world, and a heavy focus on business outside of basketball, LeBron is looking to follow in the footsteps of Magic Johnson and become one of the greatest moguls of our time.

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