Phil Knight never makes mistakes so when Nike gave $90,000,000 to a kid straight out of high school we all figured he must be the next big thing. From the very beginning Lebron James was anointed the "Chosen One" and given the title of basketball savior.
His potential was limitless and with the right set of circumstances Lebron could be bigger than Michael Jordan. Commissioner David Stern signed off on the Lebron project with no hesitation. He was desperate to replicate the Jordan formula for success and get back to generating large amounts of revenue. A marketable kid with a lot of talent can go a long way.
The investment started to pay dividends right away. The Cleveland Cavaliers sold out arenas in every city and Lebron displayed the skills of a future NBA legend. Within his first four seasons Lebron would go from rookie of the year to NBA finalist.
In 2007 the media was drawn to the story of a young man that could bring the championship back to his hometown. Cleveland had experienced so much disappointment and heartache over the years the Cavs became the sentimental favorite everyone was pulling for. There would be no fairy tale ending however as the San Antonio Spurs mauled the Cavs 4-0. Although Lebron had achieved many accolades in a short amount of time the expectation after that series was to win a championship. The Lebron James mystique needed hardware to authenticate its power.
The next 3 years Lebron earned 2 MVP awards, but failed to carry his team out of the Eastern conference finals. The pressure was beginning to mount. Championships validate greatness and without one Lebron was nothing more than unfulfilled promise. The Jordan formula only works if you accomplish greatness.
As any smart businessman would do Lebron took matters into his own hands. Rather than sit around waiting for the Cavaliers organization to assemble talent around him he took his talents down to South Beach and teamed up with 2 other super powers in D Wade and Chris Bosh.
The decision was an unpopular one, but here we stand 2 games away from validation. Whether you love him or hate him Lebron is a figure the sports world has a vested interest in. We all want to see if Lebron has what it takes to get his team over the hump. If he wins the title or comes up miserably short games 6 and 7 are must see TV. Sports is the ultimate reality show and the results can't be scripted. For that reason the NBA can thank Lebron for the monster ratings over the course of the playoffs. If we weren't watching Lebron what would we have to watch for?