Lebron James is possibly the greatest basketball player on the planet today. I like him. He is a gifted athlete and has a rare set of skills that are a joy and inspiration to watch … when he is playing well.
About five months ago, Lebron's contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers ended and he decided to sign a new contract with the Miami Heat. Nothing wrong with that. Players do that. It was his choice to make … just like Gary Ablett Jnr decided to sign with Gold Coast after playing for Geelong for so many years.
However, the way Lebron went about announcing his decision was wrong. "The Decision", as it is now referred to, was made publicly on national television and the owner of the Cavaliers, along with the coach, Lebron's teammates and all of the fans … found out at the same time. This was disrespectful, to say the least, and has been a catalyst for Lebron's popularity plummeting dramatically – almost as bad as Tiger Wood's fall from grace. Former Cleveland fans burned uniforms with his number on them and he is now booed in every stadium across the USA, except for Miami. To top it all off, this week he is about to enter his old Cleveland stadium to face 20,000 extremely hostile fans when Miami take on Cleveland for the first time this season.
So what should Lebron do? Simple. He should apologise. Let's call it "The Apology." Here's a sample script for Lebron: "In reflecting on my decision to move to Miami this last summer, I now realise that the way I announced my decision was wrong. It was disrespectful to the Cleveland Cavaliers and I am sorry. It could have been done better and I could have minimised the hurt and pain I have caused. If I did it over again, I would do it differently. Please forgive me."
Now, I am sure there would be plenty of cynics who would not change their opinion of Lebron one bit even if there was "The Apology" … BUT at least he would be taking full responsibility for his actions. He totally misread the implications of "The Decision" and the public sentiment that followed. Apologising is the right thing to do … and it might just start to turn the tide of opinion that has been so strongly against him. Finally, it might play a small part in helping the Heat develop some better chemistry, after such a poor start to the season, and become the championship contender everyone thought they would be.