David Stern was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend. Afterwards, he chatted with David Aldridge of NBA.com. In the interview, he was asked about LeBron’s decision to return to Cleveland along with his choice in 2010 to leave the Cavs for the Heat:
“I told LeBron, I thought that regardless of how poorly executed The Decision was, I thought the world was being horribly unfair to him. He was entitled to make that decision and he was entitled to make the decision he made. If it makes him happy, then I’m happy. I think it’s great. The additional dividend being, apparently, he has been much appreciated by the fans of the world for his decision to return to Cleveland. And I think that’s wonderful. And I think that it demonstrates how embedded the NBA is into the psyche of not just America, but maybe even the world. That during the world Cup, the second-most talked about issue was where would LeBron go? There was a baseball season going on, but everyone wanted to talk about LeBron. I thought that was a very positive development. And it sort of demonstrated something we’ve said over the years, that the drama that’s on and off the court provides fodder for our fans to think about, talk about, and get involved in some discussions about.”
What Stern says is mostly true, in that the off-season and free agency has become an event on its own. Of course, it helps when there’s someone like LeBron — along with Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh — available on the open market and actually switching teams (in LeBron’s case). But no one gets awfully excited for the summer when the top player available in the market is, say, Rashard Lewis.
We’ll be sure to do this whole dance with free agency again in 2016 though, when Kevin Durant hits the open market.
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