As I emerged from The Hangover: Ad-libs, my Twitter timeline was flying with tweets about LeBron James and his clutch performance in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. NBA Twiteratti were telling a story of vindication–140 characters at a time.
James’ nailed a series-clinching free throw jumper, advancing to the NBA Finals in his first season with the Miami Heat, proving James’ clutchness, greatness, and wisdom for making The Decision, all in one moment.
Engulfed by flaming James rhetoric was a tweet from Portland that whispered a truer tale:
The link brought me to OregonLive.com, where I read in disgust that the powers of the Portaland Trailblazers were considering asking Brandon Roy to retire.
The same Roy who led a beleaguered franchise away from mugshots and jailhouses, towards title shots and penthouses. The same Roy who led the team in points, assists, steals and minutes during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. The same Roy who won Rookie of the Year, made three All-star teams and two All-NBA teams in just five NBA seasons.
And, after all that, when Roy’s balky knees wore down from the pounding of so many minutes, of carrying such a heavy burden for the Blazers, Portland is asking Roy for more. It’s not enough that he sacrificed his starting spot, his playing time, now they want him to sacrifice his career so that Paul Allen can save some luxury tax.
On a rapidly-moving Twitter stream, I expect most of Canzono’s followers didn’t see how sad news about Roy could unlock a window into James’ mind, how timely the news was in light of James’ achievement. But I’m guessing James would see the connection.
LeBron was blasted my media and fans alike for deserting the Cavaliers, for leaving the hometown team for a better opportunity. James was disloyal, a traitor, the story goes.
But James knew what Roy is now learning. The NBA is about business, about serving one’s personal interest, about looking out for number one.
NBA owners, GM’s, and coaches want a player only as long as he is productive. As soon he can’t make an owner money, or win a coach basketball games, the player is forgotten, dismissed.
Now, I don’t know if the rumor is true or not, but yellow snow usually means a dog peed there. Portland may not ask Roy to retire, but they certainly have thought about it.
Paul Allen is not loyal to Brandon Roy and Dan Gilbert has shown how much he cares about James. Why should the players be held to a higher standard?
On James’ greatest night as a basketball player, it was Roy’s darkest day that showed us why James made the right decision.
- VIDEO: Luol Deng Dunks As LeBron James Goes For Block In Pursuit (sbnation.com)
- LeBron James apologizes for “The Decision” (probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- NBA Playoffs: Heat make stunning comeback, reach finals (probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Video: Watch Brandon Roy’s amazing fourth quarter (probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com)