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Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 at 9:00 am  |  182 responses

OK, it Might Be Time to Take the LeBron-to-Europe Talk Seriously

by Marcel Mutoni

Last Friday, Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated wrote a column about a Greek team (the same one that snatched up Josh Childress) possibly offering LeBron James an absurd amount of money to bolt for Europe. The piece, though certainly entertaining, was heavy on speculation and details were scant.

Last night, Chris Broussard of ESPN the Mag went a step further by citing a “source close to LeBron”, saying LBJ would consider playing across the pond if the money was right.

Here, friends, is what David Stern’s worst nightmare would look like:

A person close to James said Tuesday that the Cavaliers’ superstar would strongly consider playing overseas if he was offered a salary of “around $50 million a year.”

[...]

The Russian team CSKA Moscow and the Greek team Olympiacos, which recently gave Josh Childress a contract approaching $30 million over three years, have already contacted James, according to the person close to him. The person added, however, that no monetary or contractual discussions have taken place.

Now, yes, of course $50 million is an insane amount of money to pay a single player for one season of work. It would also be equally insane for said player not to seriously consider taking it. No matter how rich one may be (and LeBron is plenty rich), $50 million is still $50 million.

As Broussard points out in the article, consider that David Beckham was given a $250 million contract to play soccer in a country that largely ignores the sport, when he was well past his prime no less. What’s to stop a Greek or Russian team owner from throwing this kind of scratch at Mr. Global Icon in Training a couple of years from now?

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  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Won’t happen.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Enough, SLAM. Really, enough. What is this, ESPN?

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    I could go into the fact that a player like Lebron is, at this point, looking more for that ring than anything else. I could also point out that Lebron could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising if he does this. But I’m tired of even SEEING these things pointed out. Lebron is the least likely player to leave the states in 2010.

  • Edmond

    it will, but not during his prime, maybe when he is 36 y/o

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    Boykins just went to Europe, but I guess that doesn’t matter cause Lebron MAY!!!!

  • Bubba Chuck

    my man earl boykins did it!

  • Rasheedionics

    Can’t we just invade Europe or something so they stop stealing our players.

  • Captain America

    Fun to read about it while LeBron (and Kobe) are talking up Team USA and their patriotism. Prostitutes?

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    ” a source close to Lebron”, yeah that’s like the piece of buffalo wing stuck to my left molar whispering sweet nothings to the spaghetti nestling on the inside of my cheek…..irrelevant. Start panicking when the King starts commenting on this rumour himself, then Obama would have to send in the marines.

  • http://www.nrl.com.au Money Bill Williams

    agree with Jukai

  • mica

    @jukai: “I could also point out that Lebron could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising”… What are you talkin about ? You think Nike doesn’t exist in Europe ? common, the European market is even bigger than the US one, and Euro is twice stronger.
    If Lebron goes to Europe, every single of his games will be on TV and TV rights prices will be multiplied by at least 200… giving the league and teams more than enough money to pay the man.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Umm Mica, the European Market for BASKETBALL players is a fraction of the US Market. If Lebron wanted to capitalize on that segment (Market) he might as well transfer to a chinese team. Cause that’s where 300 Million people play the game, and the Nba (amongst many others) is groveling to make the bucks

  • Mendel

    Yeah the finaincial riches to be had are endless across the seas but do you wanna sell out to stack another two hundred mil on top of your current two hundred mil at the age of 23?

  • http://www.europe.com iLL wiLL

    Jukai, if Lebron were to head to Europe for 50 mil, how would he lose out on advertising dollars? Companies would give their left nut or tit to have Lebron endorse their products, not to mention the fight for rights to televised games would probably end up with someone getting their feelings hurt. The Euro market for basketball is ripe for the picking. 50 mil, tax free, that’s gotta be a sweet deal.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    He does want to be a billionaire someday……..

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    iLL wILL, dude signed a contract for 90 million before he stepped on the court. And not that Lebron is at this level yet, but Tiger makes close to two hundred million in advertising each year. That’s more than fifty million, incase you couldn’t tell. There’s no way people should even be arguing with this. If he wins three rings and becomes iconic without playing another game, I can see Lebron pulling a Jordan and saying “Yeah, lemme play overseas for a bit!” Guess what, Lebron James ain’t an icon yet. There are still some of my friends who have never heard the name Lebron James… if he goes to Europe for two years, that’s two more years they will never have heard his name. Finally, Mica, it’s c’mon! Not COMMON! I hate that mistake.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    And Cub yelled at me yesterday for suggesting SLAM has the habit of jumping on something popular and writing about it constantly.

  • Dustin

    Love these fabricated stories. You know, the ones that quote “anonymous” sources.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    If Lebron even considers doing this, i shall lose a lot of respect for the player. The dollars are going to keep rolling in for him in the NBA, and the icon status is up for grabs. Take the “fity” and show us you are just another money hungry player or stick to the harder task of playing in a superb league, tryin to make b-ball history….while still making 400 Mill. by the time you are Kobe’s age. Bron should just squash the rumours now.

  • http://joel.ongutoronto.ca Joel O’s

    Posturing to get paid more here.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    It’s a great idea if he wants to cement his reputation as a paragon of greed. Like he’s not going to get obnoxiously rich if he spends his entire career in the li’l ol’ NBA? (Also, I don’t think Nike will lose much sleep if he chooses to spend a year in Greece—you can bet those games will be televised in the States somehow.)

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    “Paragon of greet”. That’s a timeless one Russ. Great stuff.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    oops, sorry, meant to write “greed”

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    So…..it’s fantastic if Josh Childress makes the move but if Lebron or Kobe talk about it, they are greedy. Interesting.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    It’s $50 million dollars. For one year… I would slap the f*ck out of Lebron if he didn’t take that contract. Playing in the NBA is a job. When you are an employee you sign the best contract you can sign. Anything else is some fantasy bull.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Escaping the Hawks in 2008 is roughly equivalent to escaping the Soviet Union in 1973.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Not nice Russ….

  • http://joel.ongutoronto.ca Joel O’s

    I guess the difference lies in the fact that a Lebron or Kobe is already getting paid ludicrous amounts here. But Europe’s willing to pay through their noses for pretty-good NBA players, so a guy like Childress can get more there. No one in Europe currently offers that huge a contract, so asking for a 50mil-a-YEAR contract is pretty much pushing it.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Strangely, I’m going to have to agree with Eboy. Apparently, if the sports fan collective thinks you’ve earned enough money, it’s unseemly for you to seek contracts paying you even more money. Interesting. Gilbert Arenas noted that with AI’s salary of about $20 mil a year he probably only brings home about half that. I didn’t realize that. So, I say go get the money. When you can’t play anymore, fans aren’t going to give a sh*t about you or your life.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    That’s true, Russ, but the basic principle is not different. It would only be for a season or two if he did choose to go. Wouldn’t his NBA return be so overhyped that the lig, Nike and Lebron would be printing their own money for that event?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Sorry to have made a point that you had to side with, Allen. :)

  • http://joel.ongutoronto.ca Joel O’s

    @Allenp: Playing in the NBA is more than a job, it really is a dream for many of these guys. Money is just part of the equation. It may be their careers, but money isn’t the only reason why these people are as good as they are.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    LeBron could stand to lose more money than he’d gain if he were to move,I mean how happy will the people who give him millions to promote bubblegum or whatever be when he is playing in Europe,slightly outside their target demographic.I’m in no way inferring that Greek people hate bubblegum but you get the picture,LeBron gets most of his money off endorsements and whatnot,money from playing basketball is a happy bonus.He could always turn into David Beckham of basketball if he wanted to,but he’s far too good at basketball.

  • http://joel.ongutoronto.ca Joel O’s

    It’s more like, if a middle-class working guy can get richer, you’re happy for him and his family. But if an already-rich CEO gets even richer so he can but another yacht or something, us hoi polloi “sport fan collective” (good term) feel like it’s a bit too much to ask for.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Hoi Polloi was a classic Three Stooges episode. Look it up kiddies.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    It would be the equivalent of Bon Jovi playing some tycoon’s daughter’s Sweet Sixteen for $2 million.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    naah, the CEO analogy’s not it, but your earlier one about the Nba dream for the players, THAT’S what it’s about.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Russ, I think they’ve done something similar in the last couple of years so that’s a pretty good choice if that was just off the top of your head.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    If I were Bill Gates, I’d offer LeBron $100 million to mow my lawns and shovel my driveways for the next year. It could air on Versus between NHL games and the Tour de France.

  • http://joel.ongutoronto.ca Joel O’s

    In the end, don’t think he’s gonna do it though. The highest level of competition is still very much the NBA. And even here, Lebron is physically and skill-wise head and shoulders above practically everyone. Why go to Europe to dominate lesser competition? Most of the best European players are here, the Scolas and Ginobilis and Dirks. This is where it’s at.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Lebron wants to be a global icon what better way to achieve that than to go global? Plus, its only for one year. I think he’d consider it for $50 million. Damn the opportunity to play in the best league and blah blah blah. I love how nostalgic you all are about the NBA, but he’s been there done that. If that type of money is on the table he’ll at least listen. Anyone would.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I know they’ve done that. Most washed-up bands have. And they’ll be remembered for that as much as they will be for whatever hits they happened to have. If LeBron, in his prime, chooses to spend a year in Greece or Russia or wherever—especially if he hasn’t won an NBA title yet—it’ll be remembered as a money grab, pure and simple. He won’t be going to expand the brand, or to play against better competition, or to spread goodwill. He’ll be going to get as rich as humanly possible. Good luck spinning that, Nike (and whoever else).

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    CoCo:If he wanted to be a global icon(I’d prefer him wanting to be a basketball icon) wouldn’t he do that by showing his prowess in the best place he possibly could,not the fourth,he’s wouldn’t even be playing in the best Lig in Europe.This is obviously money driven-which is OK,but he’s not going to increase his status on anything by playing in Greece.And people say Kobe wants to be like Mike..

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Well Russ in order to become a billionaire he’s gotta get as much money as possible. ;)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Russ is a big Michael Jordan fan, it should be noted.
    Anyway, “leaking” this bit of info is a no-brainer for LeBron’s camp. Whether it’s true or not, it only serves to raise his global profile, which can only serve to help them stack more paper. No, they don’t NEED more paper, but when did that have anything to do with anything? I doubt it’ll happen, but it absolutely could, and you’d be stupid to think otherwise.
    PS, I and other Slam regulars can vouch for the author of the ESPN piece, and I’d bet my next paycheck I know the “source.” Both are legit. Just saying.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Bon Jovi is NOT WASHED UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

    (that was for Ryan’s enjoyment and izzo’s too)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    C’mon, Russ, you could spin this yourself without even trying: Growing the game globally, trying a new challenge, expanding his cultural horizons, raising his awareness of an increasingly small world. I’m not arguing that it’s a LEGIT argument, but we both know the W+K crew would have a blast with this one.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    C’mon, Russ, you could spin this yourself without even trying: Growing the game globally, trying a new challenge, expanding his cultural horizons, raising his awareness of an increasingly small world. I’m not arguing that it’s a LEGIT argument, but we both know the W+K crew would have a blast with this one.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    He’s shown his prowess in the NBA its not like if he goes over there people are going to forget how good he is. Plus its only a year. I think he’d seriously consider it if that kind of money were on the table. I know we all would like to sit here and think that since Lebron is unusually gifted he’s ALL about basketball, but let’s be serious people. LeBron is a business and he intends to grow his business in a number of different ways. Not saying he doesn’t love basketball, but I’ve never gotten the sense that LeBron was all about ball.. Maybe that’s just me.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Fair point, Eboy. You can’t be washed up if you were never good in the first place.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    And sorry if I’m not that supportive of a man who has earned in and around $199 million so far playing basketball to “get his”.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    It’s funny, I don’t remember Michael Jordan going to Greece or Russia or Brunei for a season during HIS prime. But maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    No, he went to Birmingham, Alabama. Sucker!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Oh and I’m certain this will never happen,I just something to be outraged about.
    Ditto Ryan on Bon Jovi,never good,not once……..ever.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Also, I’m pretty sure Mike gave all the profits from his cologne to charity…

  • ciolkstar

    Slow news day. Bron aint leaving anytime soon.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    Russ, no he ‘played’ ‘baseball’ for a ‘minor’ league affliate of the White Soxs.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    BET, late as ever.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    and i dont blame Lebron for wanting to leave clevland. His biggest ‘helpers’ is Boobie Gibson and Joe Smith.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    The “MJ was in actual fact,an awful person” argument has been done to death.Though it is not wrong.

  • ciolkstar

    Did anyone buy that Jordan cologne?

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    i got dollar trees alternative to jordan cologne!

  • IrishPaul

    Lebron strikes me as greedy and egotistical enough for this so called pipedream to turn to reality. Even If he did go to a European team I still cant see him as a global icon on the same level as any soccer star.

  • ciolkstar

    Strangely as of recent I have definitely started to find Kobe slightly more likeable while Jordan is losing some (most?) of his charm. JOrdan would still crush him one on one in their primes…SORRY, I had to.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I would just like to point out that Jon Bon Jovi has a TON more money than the King so I wish I sucked liked that too. FTW. (Thank you izzo, I knew I’d be able to use that)

  • ciolkstar

    Eboy gets a little touchy when anyone starts to diss really bad 80′s bands.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Yeah, I bought it. It smelled like crap. Or maybe a craps table? I still have a bottle stashed in a box somewhere, along with a package of comfy Hanes undershirts, a half-drank Gatorade, a box of Wheaties, an intact Big Mac, and a packet of Ballpark Franks.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Go fu*k yourself, pothead. :)

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Eboy:JBJ is also a prick who makes sh*tty music,I’d rather be LeBron.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    They plump when you cook ‘em.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    True that, like i care if MJ loved to spread his seed. Just fade away and dunk on Deke/Seikaly/Ewing all day Mike, that’s what made you a god amongst men.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Poor Ryan. He’s just mad that Lebron is stuck with Powerade and Bubble Yum endorsments.

  • Justin

    Slam = ESPN more and more. Talk about Brett Favre, yall gonna have to get off this Europe kick. Damn, let it go.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    i have a Jordan brand tee shirt, a copy of Come Fly With Me on VHS, and some Jordan brand shoe laces. But i dont care about mike as a person, because he is still the best baller in the world, ever.

  • ciolkstar

    Ha @ Ryan’s Jordanb endorsement grab bag.
    Eboy with another confusing ass smiley face.
    I dont hate BonJovi I just know E has love for them and their 80′s brethren.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Izzo, I’d say something negative about a popular Irish band (no, not U2 either, as they are more American now than Apollo Creed) but since there are none, you can keep that pretty mouth quiet.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    Dwayne Wade!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Having multiple endorsements =/= leaving the NBA during your prime without a title even if it’s for a highly paid “vacation.” But Ryan knows this.

  • ciolkstar

    I really dont like U2 though

  • http://joel.ongutoronto.ca Joel O’s

    Quite frankly, this “global icon”, “I’m a business” talk – I’m not too enthusiastic about it, as a fan. Jay-Z succeeded in becoming a “business” – he’s way more than just a musician now, but his music has arguably not taken a step forward in years. Will Lebron walk down the same path? I hope not. Win 6 rings and if by that time he isn’t a “global icon” yet, he can go work on it all he wants. I’d rather he just focus on getting past the Celtics.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Don’t forget his deal with Cub Cadet, Eboy. Nothing says global domination like endorsing a company that makes lawn mowers.

  • http://www.lkz.ch/basket Darksaber

    Kobe, the mambiatch snitch, slightly more likeable than MJ? Oh man, that one hit me like the quake hit hell-a last week. Don’t remember MJ snitching on Pippen about how he paid off his ladies. Ah well, this “argument” has been up and down on this site for months, so let’s not restart that ish.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Don’t tell me what I know, Russ. I don’t know SH*T.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Cub Cadet? I thought that was Benning’s new blog name.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    what about Micheal Jordan’s Nissan car dealership?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Eboy:Thin Lizzy?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I’m guessing Eboy thought Thin Lizzy was from Detroit.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Being on an underwear ad never hurt Bob Dylan’s career,though he was dead for ten years at that point.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Def Leppard have been technically Irish for the last 20 years.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    These comments made my day.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Fu*k Joe Ellliot and I was talking about a band in the last 25 years, izzo. Should have been clearer.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    You know, if Lebron could sponsor the Roots, TAD would personally hunt down anyone that spoke bad about him.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I thought that was Ryan’s job description already?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    If he was young and had plenty of years left to rule the nba, and was commitment free (FA), why wouldn’t he do it for just one year? Wouldn’t surprise me.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Because it would show that he put making money ahead of winning titles? Which everyone does anyway, but this would be the most blatant example of it in sports history. Even Money (!!!) himself waited until he had three rings to go be Ken Griffey Junior High.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Make that team sports history.

  • http://www.alloutblitz.com Cordeazy

    God I hope this happens. though i don’t exactly know why

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Y’all aren’t going to put up an item about Jerry Colangelo telling all the Olympic athletes they should keep their politics to themselves at the Olympics? Apparently Jerry doesn’t think the Olympics and politics should mix? WTF. The Olympics is all about politics. It’s about proving that your country is better than all the other countries at something. It couldn’t be more political.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Allen:Somehow I don’t think any of them were planning any big gesture or protest.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Joel O, The League is a job. Most of the players with that job love it, but it’s a job. How many times do we here the media or teams tell players to be professional, treat things like a business. If it’s a business, then it’s a job. Can’t have it both ways.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Regarding politics and the Olympics: Read Dave Zirin. All of you. Now.

  • http://talkaboutsport.blogspot.com TalkAboutSport

    Alright well… lets look at it. 50 million is a lot of money.. but I thought the NBA players truly love basketball – and if LeBron leaves the USA he loses a large fan base and some tougher competition. I have commented about this in my blog (the trend of international trades). Truly though, that would be David Stern’s worse nightmare.

    VISIT MY BLOG AT: http://www.talkaboutsport.blogspot.com

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Wait — other people have websites that talk about sports, too? What the… who let this happen!?

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Kobe already appeared in an ad condemning Darfur. Lebron has started to come off his position that it was none of his business and had at least admitted that it was a human rights violation. They might not have made a gesture, but to send them the message that they shouldn’t discuss politics is something that doesn’t sit right with me. Oh yeah, people project on to athletes. If we started thinking of them as regular people who do a job, we wouldn’t expect so much out of them and the decisions they make would make a lot more sense.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Ryan:This is quite obviously the work of the far left.

  • Jackie Moon

    ZZZZZZZZZZ

  • Captain America

    Question the timing. Why would Team USA members talk about bolting the US? Nice for chemistry, huh?

  • http://www.nba.com/celtics/ Moose

    please, no. i dont ask for much, Bron, but stay with the nba.

  • Bdubbz

    knicks will be sooo far over the cap when they have to match this ’50 Mil’ Contract for Bron

  • ciolkstar

    @TalkAbout Sports: “trend of international trades”? huh? I guess you mean FAs signing abroad?
    But really, quit pimping your blog in the comments section.

  • underdog

    It’s not just the money. In Europe he has a serious chance to be the league MVP. Anyway Kobe said 40, LeBron said 50, guess what Paul-best-of-the-League-Pierce gonna say. 70 maybe?

  • John E. Sanford

    Thanks for the heads up on the that Dave Zirin article Ryan. That’s definitely food for thought.

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    I remember when Ryan Jones was right. It happened once. That was a longgggggggg time ago.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP aka D.Polo

    This is stupid.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP aka D.Polo

    NBA Europe is sounding like a pretty damn good idea right now.

  • Bdubbz

    Lebron probably doesnt even know what league CSKA Moscow or Olimpiacos is in.

  • ohio

    i tink he will go…unless the L offers something better for its players. tink of it if lebron was to break his leg or pok an eye ball, wat wld b his faith? how much advertising dollar would he lose durin d ‘off’, when even Nike is interested in global ball unlike before

  • Nick Fleming

    Cause I’m wanted, dead or alive

  • Nick Fleming

    If this whole basketball thing doesn’t work out I’m sure he could become a partner, I hear he is a fantastic prosecutor.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    The Dave Zirin article commenting on the recent Jonah Goldberg column should be read by everyone.

  • Z

    I really don’t know why some guys feel like LeBron (or any other stars) owe something to the NBA. They play basketball for a living, that’s what they do. There is no obligation for a professional basketball player to practice his craft in the NBA. Let’s spin it this way… let’s say you’re one of the head honchos of Microsoft. Some billionaire that wants to diversify his portfolio wants you to be the CEO of his new start-up and decides to triple your salary. Would you consider taking a leave of absence just to see what dude’s saying? I think I would.

  • http://joel.ongutoronto.ca Joel O’s

    Lebron doesn’t owe it to the NBA to stay there, he owes it to himself. He’s got a shot at being the greatest ever, period. Lebron hasn’t won anything yet, not really, and if he does do this Europe thing it’ll be a mistake. MJ left the game at the zenith of the sport, with 3 rings under his belt, and the tragic loss of his dad as a catalyst. He had nothing left to prove. Lebron right now has… what, a great series against the Pistons, and that’s it.

  • http://joel.ongutoronto.ca Joel O’s

    Sure, he could take the $50-mil a year and go, but what’ll that do for his career? After David Beckham left ManU for the big bucks and glamour at Real Madrid, what did he accomplish? He was the inspirational leader of England and the catalyst of ManU before, but after that his biggest contribution to Real was in his role of jersey salesman. His play for England faltered too, to the point where some considered his chummy relationship with Eriksson the only reason for his continued place on the team, let alone his status as captain.

  • http://www.shawnkempsoffspring.com Tariq

    Honestly, if I were LeBron, I may consider leaving for that insane amount of money, but I probably wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if he left though. It would signal the end of the NBA’s dominance.

    But what really bothers me is this whole “wanting to be a global icon” thing. Why the f*ck would ANYBODY in their right mind want to be a global icon? Money? Listen, if LeBron never made another dime in his lifetime he’d have a hard time spending all the money he’s already accumulated. What’s the draw? I can’t understand it. If I were a professional athlete I’d just want to live a comfortable life in a city I enjoyed living in with my family close to me and that’s it. What kind of sickness is this? Global icon my a$$.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    Tariq:EGO,f*cking EGO,wanting to better than the greatest,like you I don’t get it either,I’d much rather live like say..Steve Nash,but never underestimate the huge EGOs of professional athletes.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Word, Tariq. Lebron’s choice is simple – he can reach/surpass MJ, or he can become the male Anna Kournikova of basketball.

  • http://www.shawnkempsoffspring.com Tariq

    Saying Beckham is the best player ever is like saying the Spice Girls are the best musicians ever. I’ll go ahead and say this: With the exception of his time with the LA Galaxy, about which I know nothing, I can confidently say that Beckham was never the best player n his own TEAM. Heck, he was never the SECOND-BEST player on his own team. Think about it… How many former teammates can you name from Manchester United, Real Madrid and England who were better than ol Golden Balls? I can name several: Dwight Yorke, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Peter Scmeichel, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Alan Shearer, (Fat) Ronaldo, (Old) Zidane, (Old) Figo, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Ruud Van Nistelrooy… I could seriously go on forever.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    That’s right. Ego is the heart of this – that $50 million figure isn’t a coincidence, he one-upped Mamba there, saying he’s worth $10m more.

  • http://www.shawnkempsoffspring.com Tariq

    Joel: Listen, if LeBron wanted to go to Greece because he f*ckin wanted to live in Europe for a year, I’d be fine with that. But to make “becoming a global icon” your raison d’etre (pardon my French) tells me you’re a sick f*cking individual. I don’t really know LeBron so he’s not necessarily that dude, but the picture y’all are painting of him is a hugely disturbing one.

  • http://www.shawnkempsoffspring.com Tariq

    I’m thinking about this whole “icon” thing. Is it a branding thing? You want the LBJ brand to be the most consumed? Is that it?

    (This comment has been brought to you by Krispy Kreme)

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    I don’t get it either. It comes across as pretty asinine and shortsighted. He’s made so big strides in his game these last few years, it would be a huge huge waste if he got lost along the way.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Winning and playing your heart out speaks for itself. A decade ago, wasn’t it Kobe who appeared to be the contrived and perpetually posturing one? When it came down to it though, he shut up and played ball, won 3 championships, has had a brilliant Shaq-less run. Kobe’s success and his drive to be the best has done more for his fame than anything else. What about getting MVP chants in Macau?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Hey! I’m the LeBron apologist here, so I guess I’m obliged. How about this: Maybe LeBron would just, you know, WANT to go to Greece or Italy for a couple of years. Because it’s like, his life, and life is short, AND they’d be paying him $50 mil a year. Blinded as I am by my undying loyalty, I guess I can’t see where this makes him horrible or crazy.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    PS, you guys know he plays for f*cking CLEVELAND, right?

  • http://sdfjkl.com Jukai

    so what prevents Lebron from taking a two month vacation instead of a two year vacation?

  • rav

    i wouldn’t say beckham was ‘well passed his peak’ when he joined mls – madrid were desperate to keep him and he performed well for them when he made up with his coach. ps tariq

  • http://www.ballislife.com Justin Walsh

    …Yah, he plays for clevelend…which marketwise is nothing. Now, if New York or chicago offered him a huuuuuge max contract and david raised the CBA just for him, then he might not go. but honestly, if lebron is being offered 50 mil per season? oh my god. you guys seem to forget that lebrons top ambition is to be the first billionaire sports figure. you think 50 mil untaxable is going to hurt that? hell no, it’s going to help. if he goes to LA, NY or CHI then NIKE doubles his contract to 200 million…but still…50 million for a few months of euroleague/FIBA basketball?

  • http://www.ballislife.com Justin Walsh

    also ryan jones, when u talked about how you own his cologne, big mac, gatoraide, wheeties, hanes and ballpark…aren’t you forgetting the batteries he used to endorse?! haha

  • http://slamonline.com whitechocolate

    OPA!

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    People really don’t get ballplayers. They aren’t just spending money for them. In most cases they are taking care of dozens of other people who all want to live middle class or better incomes. Do y’all understand how much money that takes? Do you really think Steve Nash is taking care of every one of his impoverished relatives and some random poor cats he grew up with? I seriously doubt it. And last time I checked Steve Nash left Dallas to get a big contract with the Suns. He left the Mavs and Dirk because the Suns offered more money. He didn’t need the money, but he wanted it. This selective memory stuff is crazy.

  • http://www.shawnkempsoffspring.com Tariq

    Allenp is talking about the Sprewell Syndrome. Yeah, I realize that. And Ryan, I am not in agreement with Joel about it being a horrible mistake for him to go to Greece. I said that if he wanted to go to Greece because he wanted to live in Europe for a year or so, then I have no problem with that. I also have no problem with him looking for a bigger paycheck. My qualms are with his perceived (and perhaps fictional?) desire to become a “global icon”. I think it has to do with branding, with him wanting to do anything to promote the LeBron brand, and that that is his priority. I find this line of thought highly disturbing, because even though it has to do with money, it’s not JUST about money, it’s about…I don’t know… consuming or something. Of course it has to do with money…My argument is muddled.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I got you ‘riq, and the perception is real — I don’t think dude stays up at night cackling maniacally about taking over the world with his “brand,” but some form of world domination is on the to-do list for him and his people. They haven’t been shy about that, which is why he’s the only dude you’ll see on the cover of Vogue, Newsweek and Slam in the same calendar year, and why he hangs with dudes like Gates and Buffett. You find this offputting, and so do I to an extent. I guess I give him the benefit of the doubt, both for obvious personal reasons, and because I think hanging with Bill and Warren — guys who have dominated literal BILLIONS of dollars and given much of their time to real, hands-on charity causes that save and improve lives — will not only help him become even more crazy wealthy than he already is, but will also help open his eyes to the problems in the world. He’s still young and somewhat culturally isolated, though those reasons/excuses will diminish year by year. I’m optimistic that in 15 years, we won’t be talking about his offcourt life like we do MJ’s. I’ll be bummed if I’m wrong.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I meant “donated,” not “dominated.” I imagine that’s Freudian somehow.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    I hope Bron takes Ryan with him. And there is no internet in Greece.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    If only…

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    It would be awfully convienent of Bron to make time in Europe for a couple of seasons (2010-2011) just long enough to arrange his return around the eventual start(and seemingly longer than normal creation of) a certain franchise in Brooklyn.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    He’d only be what at that time, 27, with a $100 mil from a ball vacation? Gangsta.

  • Sarah

    Who cares

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Well, if he went to Greece for a well-paid “vacation”, then it’s his wish and it’s his $50 mil. But like Tariq mentioned, the odds are his intentions would more likely lean toward the “world domination”/”global icon” variety, which I definitely agree is pretty misguided. From a pure bball standpoint though, can he afford to go to Europe and let his game stagnate?

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    The competition there on average isn’t far behind the NBA, but not at the HIGHEST level where Lebron is. There’s simply nobody there who’s his equal. The best players who’ve come out of Europe to the NBA, who in their old European teams are legends, are at best fringe All-Stars in the NBA. Can Lebron afford to go to Europe for a few years? Kobe’s on the verge of winning a ring by himself. D-Wade already has one, and he’s poised to make another run at it really soon. Chris Paul’s gonna be in the Finals sooner than we think. Oden’s Blazers look deep and intimidating. While Lebron’s having his vacation / domination the world in Europe, at least one of his contemporaries are going to get a ring before he does.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    he’d be 26 when he came back, if he took that year off, it would make him and everything with his name and picture on it a lot more popular..which brings him even more money. I believe he has a player option his final season, whats the difference between staying in cleveland and going nowhere and going overseas and getting nowhere? About 35 mil.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    Kobe is not winning a ring by himself, Wade’s a good 3 years (at least) from even contending again with that team, and Portland may be deep, but you can still only play 5 at a time and they’re best 5 aren’t winning a ring within 3 years. Its very possible all these teams with potential won’t really show they’re true colors for 2 or 3 more years so Lebron can come back just as these teams are getting established and it could be easier for him to pick the right one.

  • rav

    Allenp – when Steve Nash left Dallas he didn’t earn a huge amount of cash with respect to his talent (around $20m off the top of my head) so its not as if its a guy who gave up a $100m contract to get $105m

  • Chris

    LeBron cares about fame almost as much as he cares about money. Ain’t no fame to be had in the Euroleague. No one would respect him shattering Euroleague records and Euro titles. Bron is going to stay in the League, but because it’s the proving ground. It’s where you got to play to be able to say that you’re the best. No if somehow Bron’s able to win 7 chips, he may chase them dollars.

  • Obama

    What’s wrong with getting $50M for 1 year?
    He can come back to the NBA after that and join a contender to win a chip for a little less money.

  • Z

    I just can’t get mad at him for trying to make as much money as possible. You guys say it’s greed but perhaps by then he’ll be taking care of the whole freaking city of Akron. Things can be done with a lot of money if your heart is where it’s supposed to be. Project housing, learning centers, rec centers, better parks, etc. Maybe Ryan could get in his ear about that. I’m only half-joking about the last part…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ RV

    there’s plenty of fame to achieve in Europe. Fame isn’t just about playing with the best, but playing everywhere, proving yourself across the board. Its like the playground, its great if you’re one of the best where the best run, but to go to another court where there’s also good comp and still be great, that’s just added recognition. And what other nba player in history would be able to say he was nba mvp, all star mvp, finals mvp, euroleague mvp, etc..Lebron could be the only one.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Mirror any debate with this topic from the thoughts of one Shawn Kemp – That current post here regarding the interview and his comments about building business or financial interests for after the NBA, THAT would make sense for LeBron to go to Europe, signing for a massive contract (if it is even realistic to quantify) if only to think in terms of investment for his own brand or establishing a global icon status. At the end of the day, when a newspaper reports ANYTHING with the phrase, “A source close to Lebron”…Its liable to be just a blow-up to fill pages for printing requirements…
    “This week we can go with either a puff piece on Lebron heading to Europe or a ‘look-a-like photo’ with Sam Cassell and E.T….

    Next week will be Sam.

  • cleb

    that nigga would be bankin

  • john

    50 million a year thats crazy

  • Obama

    i could use some of the money you know.

  • Flava

    Very interesting posts.
    Basically it comes down to the ol ‘the rings the thing’.

    That and whether lebron wants to go down as one of the best statistical NBA players of all time. He’s already breaking the youngest ever to …..

    However, the nba is a business and he would be doing himself a favour by going to play a year or two in europe to explode his earning potential. Breaking into new markets, getting a piece of television rights to the games ??? Tell me he wouldn’t make more coin over this??

    It would be great for the international game.

    I think that he can do it until he wins a chip. Then he would be able to do it without so much hate. However by the time he wins a chip, pressure will be on him to build a dynasty….

  • chintao

    Captain America @ Aug.6 at 9:40 am ==> What do you do for a living? Are you paid for it? Are you a prostitute?

  • chintao

    Ryan Jones @ Aug.6 at 10:59 am ==> “You’re now rocking with the best, so, yo, reach for the ozone, I come funkin’ up the joint like Michael Jordan’s cologne.”

  • call me li

    i didn’t really read ALL the comments, so i don’t know if anybody mentioned it, but u ever think that maybe Bron is exudingly confident enough to believe that before 2010 he WILL have a ring (if not two) so going over to Europe won’t be viewed in such a negative light?

  • call me li

    i with average-at-best teams the last two years he’s made the finals, and lost (barely) to the eventual HOF stacked champs. u think he can’t win it all with a mediocre team? im sure he does..and if not i bet he drops the Europe idea until he does

  • call me li

    *i MEAN

  • call me li

    wow im off..by mediocre i meant medium, or more clearly, above average team

  • LAN

    50mill tax free?! i dont recon they would throw that at him unless he has to go in a billion different advertisement stuff for the team owners bussiness

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    chintao is my new favorite commenter.

  • maluza

    and what will be doin?Circus shows all day?cummon now forget the money and be realistic people..

  • ohio

    Hey Joel O’s u said
    ‘Playing in the NBA is more than a job, it really is a dream for many of these guys. Money is just part of the equation. It may be their careers, but money isn’t the only reason why these people are as good as they are.’ can uexpanciate pls

  • ohio

    hmmm-i value many of the comments here to be or not to be playing in europe- some say its ok, some say its greeti[greedy] for players like lebron. I ask wats great for basketball globally [and maybe the NBA?]

  • ohio

    ONE TIN I KNOW IS DAT IF KING JAMES KOBE AND CO MOV 2 EUROPE IT WILL NOT TAKE LONG BEFORE COACHES AND MOSTLY NBA CLUB OWNERS MOVE TO ACQUIRE CLUBS OVER EUROPE-HEY EVEN IN SOCCER[ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE] THERE THIS AMERICAN WHO BOUGHT THE GREAT MAN.U, so wat we talking. I can beat David (stern) is ploting GOLIHAT-if i got the spelling rit(buying clubs and making them NBA properties)

  • ohio

    Joel O u said ‘in the end, don’t think he’s gonna do it though. The highest level of competition is still very much the NBA. And even here, Lebron is physically and skill-wise head and shoulders above practically everyone. Why go to Europe to dominate lesser competition? Most of the best European players are here, the Scolas and Ginobilis and Dirks. This is where it’s at’.He wld do it for money

  • ohio

    Russ Bengtson u said
    ‘It’s funny, I don’t remember Michael Jordan going to Greece or Russia or Brunei for a season during HIS prime. But maybe I just wasn’t paying attention’,may be he sld b asked [& put a challenge while at it-he never backs down from a playing one]

  • ohio

    IrishPaul u said:
    Lebron strikes me as greedy and egotistical enough for this so called pipedream to turn to reality. Even If he did go to a European team I still cant see him as a global icon on the same level as any soccer star. Bros soccer guys can never b on the same page with ball- we tort dem all dey know. to tink soccer started long before ball but note if there was Britain before the US and the US is all TOPS now it can {and is} to ball. All agree- here any way at the home of the dream- that ball are the coolest[ask we gurls for confirmation]and now the Yao Ming town will prove it from the 10th August//sori I happened to have seen the opening ceremony and the ceremony itself proved it [ask the commentators]. SOCCER CAN NEVER, [AGAIN] NEVER BEAT BALL

  • ohio

    Darksaber U said to:
    Mica: ‘the European Market for BASKETBALL players is a fraction of the US Market. If Lebron wanted to capitalize on that segment (Market) he might as well transfer to a chinese team. Cause that’s where 300 Million people play the game, and the Nba (amongst many

    could go into the fact that a player like Lebron is, at this point, looking more for that ring than anything else. I could also point out that Lebron could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising if he does this. But I’m tired of even SEEING these things pointed out. Lebron is the least likely player to leave the states in 2010.’ May be the Chinese for got to ask him-do u know how much they spent on this Olympics? if am rit [i stand to be corrected] 48 billion. i tink they forgot to ask him, probably due to getting the Olympics on. They just mit ask once its over

  • ohio

    who knows abt stocks and economy here? cus I nid to know how many companies/people will go unda if they go europe or which companies have assets or interest in Europe/asia dat wld love to have dem

  • ohio

    Bdubbz u said:
    Lebron probably doesnt even know what league CSKA Moscow or Olimpiacos is in.

    trust mi he knows

  • ohio

    Joel O’s u said:
    Sure, he could take the $50-mil a year and go, but what’ll that do for his career? After David Beckham left ManU for the big bucks and glamour at Real Madrid, what did he accomplish? He was the inspirational leader of England and the catalyst of ManU before, but after that his biggest contribution to Real was in his role of jersey salesman. His play for England faltered too, to the point where some considered his chummy relationship with Eriksson the only reason for his continued place on the team, let alone his status as captain.

    Lis David does not have a 4 horsemen thing going on..although he has the best businessman builder in a wife..she really good

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