Bank shots: The King loses chance to polish his crown
This article was written prior to the election of Chris Paul as union president.
LeBron James: National Basketball Association champion, Most Valuable Player, but not a leader for NBA players off the court.
Just two weeks ago, James was considering making a run for the position of president of the NBA Players’ Association.
But since then LeBron has backed out of his wavering commitment to run, leaving the position to Roger Mason Jr. of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Former Union Executive Director Billy Hunter was ousted mid-way through the year because of charges of nepotism and the possible misuse of union funds, and then-president Derek Fisher’s power faded as well.
This presents the perfect opportunity for the union to go in a new direction, but instead of having a superstar like James lead the union, they will once again be stuck with a little-known role player at the helm.
The last notable union president was Patrick Ewing, who served from 1997 – 2001.
Since then, the players have had the pleasure of being represented by Michael Curry, Antonio Davis and Fisher.
This isn’t a knock against these guys, I’m sure they are all responsible people.
But a powerhouse like James could actually give the union some relevance, and instead he chose to sit back and spend more time on his personal brand.
Possible issues that could come up in the future include human growth hormone testing in the NBA and anything that future commissioner Adam Silver will bring up once he takes over for David Stern.
James is a player that other players look up to. They want to be like him, they want to play as well as him and they all probably want to make as much money as him.
And for a time it looked like he would lead them.
Back on Aug. 12, James told ESPN that he thinks “…the union is going backwards, and it’s not in a good place right now. I think my voice could be huge in that situation.”
But then all of a sudden he backed out.
How does it make “The King” look when he badmouths the union and says that he could turn it around, and then decide that he’d rather let a guy who only started 13 games last year lead the union rather than him?
I’m not sure where James is getting his advice from, but I’m guessing it’s from his friends back in Ohio who would rather get a cut of the contract he is sure to sign next offseason as a free agent than see him do some good for the game.
Players back in the 60s and 70s who led the union were able to balance leading the players and playing basketball.
Isiah Thomas was the president from 1988 – 1994 and won back-to-back championships with the Detroit Pistons during that span.
Every season that Bob Lanier was president he helped the Milwaukee Bucks win their division.
James probably thought about running for president, realized he wouldn’t be able to film as many commercials, and instead took a back seat.
NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse called out James, and said in an interview with CBS that James was “misinformed” about the union and hadn’t spoken to anyone in the union since the All Star break.
At this point, James can’t do much more on the court except continue to win championships, whether he stays in Miami after this year or goes somewhere else.
But he missed out on a huge chance to improve his image in the eyes of his fellow players, and instead opted to stay in the public eye.