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George Eddy's International Show



PARIS (George Eddy's International Show) - LeBron James has grown up a lot in the last four years.

Since the catastrophic handling of the communication surrounding the "Decision" to leave Cleveland for Miami, James seems to have understood many things concerning himself and the NBA.

It's not easy being the "Chosen One"! Whatever you do it never seems to be enough. You are permanently and endlessly compared to Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, their careers and their titles.

LeBron doesn't possess the fearless individualism of a Kobe Bryant who can just say "screw everybody else, I'm going to do this MY way"!

LeBron is more about his Akron roots and his immediate family. He aims to please. He is a genuinely kind and generous person who cares about what people think. He is a fabulous teammate who shares the ball and tries to do whatever is necessary to make his team win. He thought that people wanted him to win a bunch of titles so he teamed up with his talented buddies Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami and won two titles in four straight NBA Finals.

However the first year, his wife and two children stayed in Akron and he was all alone in Miami trying to face up to all the negative feedback that poured down on him from Cleveland and from the rest of the country, excluding Miami of course.

Before opting for the Miami Heat, he had tried to convince high level free agents at the time to team up with him in Cleveland but finally Miami was the only serious option if the priority was to win big NOW!

One sign that should have given us a hint about this recent surprise decision is that James spent his summer time off in Akron the last four years. Now his priorities have evolved and he wants to get back to his roots and the people that count the most in his life.

He probably won't equal Jordan, Magic or Kobe in terms of titles won during his career but he certainly won back the country and the Cleveland Cavaliers fans with the "Decision 2". He made history and created a trend and a blueprint for NBA success with Pat Riley and the "Big Three" in Miami and now he seems to be creating a trend towards making family-based decisions despite the incredible sums of money involved which is comforting in our materialistic world.

Riley, Wade and Bosh all reacted with class to James' choice to "go home" saying they will always be brothers and share the memories of their phenomenal success in the last four years.

With the signings of Luol Deng and Josh McRoberts, Miami will remain a good team built around Bosh and his max contract over the next five years, but they probably won't be winning any more titles in the near future.

Bosh pointed out that his decision to stay was also about keeping his family in a stable environment. After sacrificing like his brothers from a financial standpoint four years ago, Bosh and James signed max deals and got their big payday this summer and despite poor play in the Finals, Wade will probably be well treated by the Heat for past services rendered.

I should point out that James signed a max two-year contract while planning to sign a max five-year deal when the new national TV contract is inked by the NBA and the salary cap will increase significantly, opening up even more money for elite players.

Carmelo Anthony chose to get his max deal now with the New York Knicks which will make HIS wife happy because she revels in the limelight and career opportunities provided by the "Big Apple".

Now we will see if the oil of Melo's one-on-one game can mix with the water of Phil Jackson's triangle offense!

I see LeBron moving up the totem pole of the Eastern conference with a youthful and athletic Cavs team a lot faster than Melo and a long-term rebuilding project in New York.

Pau Gasol would have helped Melo make the transition to the triangle but he chose to sign with the team from the East that will be the most improved next season in my opinion, the Chicago Bulls. Pau chose to go for another NBA title now!

If Derrick Rose can change his game and stay healthy while avoiding a Brandon Roy-type career scenario and if Gasol can mentor Nikola Mirotic rapidly into an NBA-level contributor, then the Bulls should win the Eastern conference.

On the other hand, Gasol's former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, still look like they are a few years away from contending in the very strong Western conference. Once again, money isn't everything because the two richest franchises in the NBA, the Knicks and the Lakers, have a long uphill climb before they will compete again for a title.

And while all this free agent buzz goes on, the NBA champions San Antonio Spurs are pretty much standing pat. Their patient, international and collective formula for success in a small market is the new trend in the NBA after four years of "Big Three" dominance - n'est-ce pas Chicago?

George Eddy


FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.

FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.

George Eddy

George Eddy

George Eddy, a former pro player and coach in France, has been covering basketball for Canal Plus TV since 1985. He is probably the only commentator in the world to have announced so many Olympics, NBA games, FIBA events and even Super Bowls over the last 29 years. The International Show will bring you his perspective on the NBA and its ever-growing international contingent.