Going Global At What Cost?

Yes, LeBron is playing two blocks from the Parliment building...
Yes, LeBron is playing two blocks from the Parliament building…

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.

  • http://deleted buu

    i dont know if its because we’re knee deep in baseball season or what, but i honestly dont know if i care about this stuff anymore. the press is treating “lebron leaving” and brett favre like paris hilton and lindsay lohan, and its gotten old. real old.
    but the worst thing is that its not just the press anymore.
    danny ferry signs some dude who was playing in turkey and the commenters on cleveland.com immediately say “well now of course lebron is leaving! FIRE FERRY!”
    and then there’s lebron himself. “new york is #1! i love brooklyn!”, “hey close source, you know that talk about me playing in europe? heck, id do it!”
    i mean, we’re on the verge of the olympics here yet lebron or whoever feels a need to throw some “i just might leave” talk into the news as if its some perverted way of self-promotion.
    as if he needs it.
    i still wont believe any lebron leaving talk until lebron straight up says “thanks, it was nice but im leaving”, but this has gotten stupid.

  • SambofromOH

    Lets pretend this happens. Lebron would be an unrestricted free agent before hand but would we still be able to offer “bird rights” money when he comes back? Is this unprecedented in the NBA, a player leaving for another league and then coming back?

  • mike

    so chris broussard called up maverick carter and said, “hey mav, how much would your salary increase if lebron went to europe and got a boat load of money?” and mav said “huh. interesting question. if lebron made, say $50M, my salary would probably double from $10k/yr to $20k/yr! you didn’t hear it from me, but if olympiakos offered lebron $50M, i think lebron would strongly consider going to play in europe!”

  • Jason R

    This is classic LeBron and Co. letting this leak to gain attention. You have to recognize James loves when the media talks about him like this. It’ll never happen, though it is conceivable as they said it would only be for a year or two to become a true global icon. Still, he could never risk it because it will be looked down on poorly when it comes to his legacy….I think.

  • http://thedaveburbarevolution.blogspot.com/ Todd S.

    I just hope there isn’t aliens from Neptune eyeing LeBron. Space money has a great exchange rate I hear.

  • http://www.pike27.net/rfn/ dave p.

    Thanks for bringing some sanity to the issue. The hysteria of the sports media, as #1 noted above, has gotten out of control.

    The thing that most sportswriters are missing or ignoring is that Childress is unusual in many ways: he’s a smart guy and is interested in other cultures. Henry Abbott wrote about how many NBAers love Cheesecake Factory because they can find the same food in every city. Think these same guys are going to suddenly adapt to Greek or Russian cuisine?

  • Mark

    These comments have refreshed me a bit. I can not turn on ESPN and go 5 mins. without hearing about Brett Favre. And I can not get online and read some Cleveland sports news that doesn’t talk about Lebron leaving town. I am glad that there other people absolutely sick of these topics. The comment about Neptune does make me a little nervous. Years ago we did see Michael Jordan battling some fierce competition against some aliens in Space Jam.

  • Gabriel

    ESPN and other media outlets are just trying to create stories. Someone probably asked Lebron in jest if he’d consider going to europe, and he probably said $50,000,000 because it was a ridiculous number that he feels no one would pay him. He’s probably over in china reading these articles and laughing. ESPN has lost all credibility in my eyes. People read their editorials and act like they’re facts. They’re opinions and rumors. and they’re not even really opinions. these are not legitimate journalists. they are entertainers. they just want to make as much buzz about a topic as possible, so they take any small quote out of context and turn it into something bigger. Lebron says he NYC is his favorite city, so everyone says he’s going to new york. i say chicago is my favorite city, but that doesn’t mean it takes the place of cleveland, my home. chicago is my favorite city to visit. the media is just blowing smoke up everyone’s poopers. half of us freak out and fill up the ESPN and PD comment boards with ‘sky is falling’ b.s., and the other half roll our eyes in disgust.

  • Swig

    Yeah he would “consider” an offer. Who wouldn’t? I would say I’d consider a job offer from just about anywhere because what if they offer a lot of money? It would be dumb for anyone to just slam doors without knowing where they lead.

    It’s funny in a sad way about the NBA players loving Cheesecake factory. I know way to many people who would rather eat the same commercial product instead of trying something new. The best food and atmosphere is always in the small restaurants.

  • tom

    i had the same feeling as gabriel. my reaction was it was probably lebron and wade sitting around shooting the $hit while getting iced down.
    Wade: so would you go play in Europe like our boy Childress?

    LBJ: naw

    wade: really? what if they doubled your salary?

    LBJ: double? hmm…so like $25 mil a year? probably not.

    Wade: ok – then what about $50 mil a year?
    lbj: $50 mil a year? to play basketball? damn – id have to consider it.

    there you have it.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    Yawn.

    Of course he’d “consider” an offer of $50 million per year. Who wouldn’t “consider” it? And I wouldn’t blame him one bit for taking that offer and going to Europe for a couple years. I know I’d have a really hard time turning down that kind of money.

    He’s not going to go to Europe, though. LeBron wants to become an “icon”, and the way you do that is by winning NBA Championships. Where would Jordan, Magic, Bird, Russell, etc be in NBA lore without their championships? They’d be like Charles Barkley….an amazing talent and one of the best basketball players of all time, but not transcendent. The only way LeBron will ever be remembered in the pantheon of greatness is if he wins championships.

  • Hoy

    Perhaps Lebron will hire David Beckham as a consultant when its time to figure out how to get the most $$$ out of going overseas.

    What I really find sad is that during the time of year that baseball actually becomes interesting the only news stories are Brett Favre and “so and so is leaving for europe”.

    While we’re all venting about the media, since I’m stuck at home with a broken ankle I really have nothing better to do than surf the net and watch ESPN, does anyone else here want to see Skip Bayless be consumed by a large mammal ? I’m thinking polar bear or something to that extent.

  • http://www.chrisclem.com Chris

    He would be a fool not to at least consider playing for $50 mil a year, regardless of where he would be playing.

    He is on record as saying that he wants to be the first “billionaire athlete”, right?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick
  • SambofromOH

    On the topic of ESPN’s rediculousness.

    This morning on FirstTake they went on this rant about they are sick of all the Brett Favre drama but in the very same breath made claims that it is a titillating drama and they cant wait to see how it unfolds. It really cracks me up how they are trying to say that thier constant coverage is dumb but are still trying to justify thier broadcasting it anyways.

  • Swig

    Sam, that’s the MSM M.O.

    I used to really enjoy deadspin, but since will left it’s all Brett Farve, boobs, Arod’s relationship. While I enjoy 1 of the 3 it’s really not work appropriate. I just keep telling myself it’s the summer and everything will be better when football season starts…

  • Brian

    How many times is the Euroleague on tv globally (say – China) versus the NBA? And how does this help his global status? The few thousand fans in Milan arenas?

    Sorry for all the ?s.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    So if Fox Sports comes out tomorrow and says, say $60 mill a year, is that a new story?

  • Colin

    Sources are just that, they’re sources. These ass-hat writers are writing this crap just to write. When Lebron says it himself I’ll believe it.

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