Many of us have wondered what LeBron James thinks about LeBron James' decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and "take his talents" to South Beach and the Miami Heat. Now, we have an idea, thanks to J.R. Moehringer of GQ. Moehringer followed LeBron along as he made up his mind about his free agency this summer and is set to release his revelations in a piece for GQ's September issue.
The full thing isn't online yet, but excerpts have been released in several places, and Moehringer himself has been interviewed about his experiences. Once it comes out, it's clearly a must-read for anyone who followed the saga at all this summer.
But based on the excerpts I'm seeing, the piece really reveals one thing: LeBron James is exactly what we all thought LeBron James was like.
Despite all the public fallout, and despite the fact that his image has completely gone south, LeBron tells Moehringer he wouldn't change anything about how he approached the summer. He would have still gone through with "The Decision." He still would be willing to return to Cleveland if those fans would welcome him back, adding that his real home is Akron, not Cleveland. He's still mad at Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and believes Gilbert's Comic Sans rant against him validated his decision to leave.
And he's still saying stuff like this:
"Even my family gets spoiled at times watching me doing things that I do, on and off the court."
"Maybe the ones burning my jersey," he says, "were never LeBron fans anyway."
So if you were expecting LeBron to reveal some humanity or some self-awareness, it doesn't look like it's happening. As of right now, we haven't really learned anything new about the guy. The answer to the question "what is LeBron James like?" seems to be "exactly as clueless as we thought he was."
It's once we get into the question of "why is LeBron James like this" that the piece appears to really shine. Again, we don't know for sure, since the piece hasn't been released yet, but based on interviews with Moehringer, that theme will be prevalent throughout the story. In his interview with ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz, Moehringer points out LeBron's desperate need for camaraderie to be happy, whether that manifests itself in his large group of handlers or his teammates. In Cleveland, he had the handlers, but not the teammates. Now, he's in Miami in large part because he is buddies with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
He thrives, he's happiest, he does his best when he is surrounded by friends. He just didn't feel like that was happening in Cleveland. It seems pretty clear that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh aren't just the best talent he can surround himself with, but they're a combination of talent and friends. He's looking for camaraderie. That's the formula that has worked for him -- and the only one that has worked for him.
That certainly explains a lot about why LeBron seems so delusional, but it also has a cost. It's kind of awkward for a basketball fan like myself to judge LeBron and say that he's has taken the easy way out here, because I'll never have an entire city burning any piece of clothing I wear.
But at the end of the day, everyone in any walk of life needs to gain some independence and go through the fire on their own. LeBron James, clearly, still hasn't done that.