Last week, we learned that LeBron James chose Miami over New York City, and Manhattan's Borough President has been forced to schedule his traditional, heterosexual marriage in Connecticut by his own commitment to human rights and New York State's failure to lead our country's March to marriage equality.
NYC Fails to Attract LeBron
The biggest prize in this year's incredibly rich crop of NBA free agents was LeBron James, and LeBron is headed to the Miami heat to join the other next two biggest prizes of the free agent frenzy in the NBA, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Though New York City is undeniably the greatest city in the world, the most sought after NBA free agent chose Miami. Irrespective of the choice he made, LeBron should be cheered in NYC for the way he showed all of us that a young Black man can take charge of his life and make difficult but sound, unsentimental business decisions with class, intellect, and maturity.
In the end, James, Wade, and Bosh took ownership of their careers at young ages. They set aside their individual desires for the accolades of their adoring fans and embraced the concept of working together to be winners. Even those of us who wish the Knicks could return to the playoffs and compete for a championship should recognize the impressiveness of what these three young men have already accomplished by working with each other to take control of their destiny.
Miami can never be New York City, but the Miami Heat's three superstars deserve our best wishes as they attempt to vindicate their collective decision to take less compensation, share the spotlight, and value winning championships above all of the other goals that often conflict with winning championships and serve to confuse our greatest athletes into mismanaging their athletic careers.
LeBron is Alex Rodriguez before 2009, the biggest star in his sport but a star without a championship - the favorite for each year's MVP Award but someone who has never won a championship or even come particularly close. Rodriguez focused on joining a team that could help him win a championship, he changed defensive positions to let the local hero remain in place, he demonstrated a willingness to take less money, and he played unselfishly. Rodriguez won a couple more MVP Awards before finaly playing in and winning his first World Series after carrying his team throughout the playoffs. Dwyane Wade is Derek Jeter, the local hero who has won a championship with his original team and invites other superstars to join him in winning additional titles. Rodriguez took six years playing next to Jeter before he won a championship, and one should expect that LeBron's patience is much shorter than that of Rodriguez.
LeBron, as a student of the history of the NBA, understands that a single superstar is never a formula for winning a championship.
The Sixers in the 1980's needed Dr. J. AND Moses Malone. The Bulls needed Jordan and Pippen and Horace Grant and Paxson and Rodman. The Lakers needed Kobe and Shaq; then Kobe and Gasol and Artest and . . .
Here in NYC, we will lament our failure to attract LeBron, but we can learn from LeBron's focus on his ultimate goal and his determination not to be derailed. Also, we can see these three young men play together often - against the Knicks and the Nets.
Manhattan Borough President Heads to Connecticut
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is getting married in Connecticut because he doesn't want to get married in New York, a jurisdiction that doesn't permit same sex marriages. At Manhattan Viewpoint, we have warned that New York State's refusal to lead on this key human rights issue could cost us economic opportunities provided by gay and lesbian couples from all over the country who would wish to marry in NYC if they could. But, Scott Stringer's decision highlights another risk. Heterosexual couples who care deeply about the rights of their fellow residents of New York may reject New York as a marriage location in solidarity with those who are excluded.
Let us appreciate our Borough President for his empathy and his commitment to his beliefs. Let us also demand that New York State change directions and begin to treat all of its citizens equally with regard to marriage.