Opinion: Lebron James just made a career defining mistake

By: Gianfranco Illiano

In 2010, the NBA world was waiting for The Decision. LeBron James took his “talents to South Beach”.

In 2014, LeBron James was “coming home”.

Now, in 2018, LeBron James has decided to not “Trust The Process”.

Unless you live under a rock, you already know that James, the so-called “King”, has signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. James’ decision will change the NBA forever, and the history books are in for a huge overhaul. The weak Eastern Conference will be even more of a dumpster fire than ever before.

His move isn’t surprising. Los Angeles is a beautiful city. It has all of the glitz and glamour that a superstar would want. The Lakers have legend Magic Johnson running team operations, and they have a huge amount of cap space. Specifically for James, the movie industry is in Hollywood, his son, Bronny, is going to school in L.A., and he already has two homes outside the city. Most importantly, however, his family is comfortable in Los Angeles.

With that being said, James made the wrong decision. He should’ve signed with the Philadelphia 76ers.

One of the many public ways Philadelphia showed their desire for The King (CC: Power Home Remodeling Group)

The Sixers have a better supporting cast than the Lakers. With two transcendent superstars in the making in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, along with solid depth in Dario Šarić, Markelle Fultz, Robert Covington, J.J. Redick, and T.J. McConnell, the team has more than enough to make a run even without James.

The Sixers also have the benefit of playing in the Eastern Conference, which is a much weaker conference than the Western Conference. James’ path to the NBA Finals has become more difficult than ever, as he and the Lakers will now have to face the powerhouse that is the Golden State Warriors as well as the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

According to multiple reports, including Chris Broussard on FoxSports 1’s Undisputed, James wants to play off the ball more. For the past three years in Cleveland, he’s been in need of someone that’s able to handle the ball, pass the ball, and take the steam off him when he’s on the bench.

Simmons can do that.

If they were on the court together, Simmons would’ve been able to bring the ball up most of the time while James would have been cutting and driving through lanes and scoring from the perimeter. Fultz and McConnell can lead the attack as well. That’s why the notion that James wouldn’t fit well with the Sixers makes no sense. James has and always will find a way to make it work with other superstars.  He is the most versatile player in NBA history; he’s always found a way to score. When James joined Miami, people said he and Dwyane Wade wouldn’t work out because they were both ball-dominant players. They both found a way to make it work. The King doesn’t want to carry the ball up as much anymore. He’s tired. He wants to conserve his energy for the playoffs.

Adding to the hype-train for LeBron, he called Ben Simmonds “My Young King” (CC: LeBron James’ Instagram)

Joel Embiid is on his way to becoming the most dominant big man in NBA history, and James has never played with a dominant center like him. Offensively, James would have a player to throw the ball to in the post with trust. Embiid’s ability to play defense, grab rebounds, and stretch the floor with his three-point shot prowess, along with his Hakeem Olajuwon-like intangibles, should’ve made the Sixers more enticing than the Lakers.

Everyone knows James essentially runs his teams from a coaching standpoint, but with Brett Brown, James wouldn’t have to worry about coaching the team. He would love playing for Brown, as Brown is one of the most respected coaches in the NBA. He showed last season with the Sixers that he is capable of winning with a talented team at his disposal. Also, Brown comes from the coaching tree of Gregg Popovich, someone who James has praised for years.

When it comes to who the greatest player of all-time is, a lot of people say Michael Jordan. In my opinion, James is already the G.O.A.T., but that’s an argument for another day. James is chasing Michael Jordan, and the only way to substantially change public opinion is by winning more championship rings. By signing with the Sixers, James could’ve led them to their own dynasty. By 2022, James could have been tied with MJ with six rings.

James going to La La land is a stupid move. I mean, who wants to play with Lonzo Ball knowing that his obnoxious father, LaVar, will always be causing distractions? It’s become abundantly clear James doesn’t care about winning anymore. He doesn’t care about his basketball legacy. He only cares about his brand off the court. But I understand. It’s Los Angeles. The stars, the money, the fame, and the love – it’s all right there! I’m guessing James wanted all of that over being a champion in a city where he and his family would forever be taken care of.

July 1st, 2018, will forever be remembered as the day King James landing in the City of Angels. However, I will remember it as the day that LeBron James will forever regret not Trusting The Process.

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Gianfranco Illiano is an on-air host with WHIP Sports, and serves as a member of the Temple Football Play-By-Play Broadcast Team. If you wish to interact with Gianfranco, follow him on Twitter at @illiano15.