Why Would LeBron Want to Leave for Europe?

So yeah, LeBron might sign with Greece in 2010. No, really. There's no salary cap. He will instantly become the ruler of the continent, not just the hottest property in a shoddy league. Or what about, as Ziller suggests, Carmelo Anthony? He's undervalued, maybe justifiably so, in the Association, and an absolute monster in international play. ↵
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↵But frankly, this is kind of offensive. Are NBA players really only after money? Don't pros regularly toil in the D-League rather than take their game overseas? Never mind that James is wealthy beyond his wildest dreams, set to rake in millions per year till he can't make appearances in Dubai anymore, and Melo -- rocky relationship with Madison Avenue aside -- doesn't have any problems, either. It really is a matter of, pardon my counselor-speak, feelings and personal fulfillment. ↵
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↵And here's where we owe these guys at least a little honesty as we speculate to fill pages all day long. James and Anthony grew up wanting to win a title. They can go anywhere they want to do it. Maybe neither will ever be Jordan, but becoming bigger than Jordan in a foreign country is just kind of lame, upside-down, and confusing for the ego. It's not all about the money, and it's not just a question of whether or not these superstars would abandon the world they know. These are cultural icons, constitutive of hoops culture on broadcast and in the real world. I'm not quite sure why they'd want to opt for the small pond stigma, and getting lost in translation, when the entire basketball community is watching them already. ↵
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↵Henry Abbott evoked Dr. J and the NBA/ABA "merger" he forced. I guess, if Erving had jumped to the ABA in his prime. The closest thing is Rick Barry's much earlier defecton to the fledgling circus of a league, and that never really stuck.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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