Scott brought us the LeBron to Europe rumor a few days ago. Now, Chris Broussard of ESPN is taking it a step further, suggesting that James may in fact consider such an offer if it were at least $50 million dollars. Broussard details the effect that losing LeBron might have in the NBA, but he left out an important piece- how it would affect LeBron James.
Forget the Cavaliers for a moment, who would at least find themselves with plenty of cap room, though they would struggle to fill seats no matter who was signed. As a fan of the team, and LeBron I can guarantee you that if he bolted to Europe for bundles of cash I would not follow him, nor write about him anymore. And it would have nothing to do with being bitter about another star leaving Cleveland. It would be because LeBron would become irrelevant. Would you adjust your life schedule to catch European games featuring LeBron and a collection of players you’ve never heard of?
The source close to James said LeBron would play in Europe only for a year or two before returning to the NBA. He said James would view it as an opportunity to popularize the game and himself overseas. He added that James would not consider himself to be playing in the “minor leagues.” “Not at all,” the person said. “He believes those guys are pros also.” The entire scenario falls in line with James’ stated goals of becoming a billionaire and “global icon.” But the representative from the players’ association will have to see James in a European uniform before he believes it. “First of all, we don’t know that there’s going to be a $50 million offer,” the official said. “And secondly, he wouldn’t be able to accomplish over there the things that he wants to do over here, which are to win NBA championships, MVP awards, etc.”
LeBron may gain popularity or prestige overseas, but here in the States he would be an anecdote at the end of Sports Center instead of the lead story. Internet arguments about the best player in the world would cease for the duration, and crown Kobe the King. Nobody would care about his accomplishments over there, and no matter how many players come over and find success every year, it would absolutely seem like he was playing at AAA. Seems strange to think that LeBron would want to give away a couple of years in his prime to star in National Lampoon’s European Basketball Vacation.
It would make more sense for him to wait until the end of his career- after he had accomplished some of the things he needs to accomplish to be considered the best ever. Then I could see him trying to expand his brand, and earning potential elsewhere. But not when he’s young. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. I can’t imagine the regret if he injured himself over there and wasn’t able to achieve his NBA goals because of it.