The Beckett Blog


How much of LeBron’s polished legacy is now gone? by Chris Olds

By CHRIS OLDS | COMMENTARY

We all know how “The Decision” played out on Thursday night from Greenwich, Conn.

But have we really thought about how “The Decision” has played out on our sports cards and memorabilia?

While some (rightfully so) believe it will spark a frenzy of interest in LeBron James‘ future sports cards and memorabilia, I couldn’t help but wonder if the backlash of “The Decision” will counter that.

And it didn’t take long for me to see an example of that Friday morning when I turned on my Twitter account and saw that one of my newspaper Tweeps had passed along a link to today’s cover of The Plain Dealer, the Cleveland newspaper.

There’s no need for the childish burning of jerseys — the damage is already done. Cleveland’s icon is gone — perhaps as is many a fan’s interest in James (and the Cavs) in that area. But the simple pair of headlines — “Gone.” and a smaller, more subtle shot, “7 years, $62 million, no rings.” — makes you wonder if more is, indeed, gone from the aura that was King James.

If he wins with his new crafted “Dream Team,” then the backlash won’t last long — it would probably only linger in The Heartland.

But if he doesn’t? It might not be fixable.

Of course, it might be trendy to paint James as Public Enemy No. 1 for his “leaving home” for the gloss of South Beach — a franchise with but one title and a good bit of past mediocrity and underachievement in its past — but at the same time he did something that just doesn’t happen much in sports.

He took less money to play elsewhere. (Granted, he gets some of that money back with Florida not having state income taxes.)

He left and joined some pals — who will do the same — to try and build a winner.

For all of the vitriol that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert spewed in his now-infamous letter, LeBron took dramatic steps toward doing something that, ultimately, Gilbert never did. Building a winner may or may not happen in Miami, either — Dan Marino played there, too, you know — but the trio signed there certainly trumps anything Gilbert might have tried. (And it’s worth noting that a letter like that certainly keeps angry fans off Gilbert’s back for James’ departure.)

However it was the owner’s comments that James quit on his team during the playoffs that will leave a bitter taste in a few fans’ (and collectors’) mouths as well — unless James & Co. win it all. Could there be more to come out about the goings-on behind “The Decision” as well? Gilbert’s comments led me to believe it could be coming.

There’s no doubt that trading Cleveland for a bigger-market team like Miami should spark interest in James’ cards and memorabilia — more attention from a big market often means more money spent. A high-profile player’s first cards with a new team always command more attention than similar cards from the past, too. (We’ve seen it countless times in many sports.)

However, “The Decision” and the dirty laundry that it has spawned just might make those Cavs items less-appealing than ever.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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