While football fans had their eyes firmly fixed on the Rainbow nation, there has been a story competing, successfully, for attention of the sporting world across the Atlantic. It was what became known simply as 'The Decision'. This was the media circus that followed the reigning NBA MVP, Lebron James, in his decision of which team to sign his new contract with.
James had spent his entire NBA career at the Cleveland Cavaliers but was one of a number of stars who had run out of contract at the end of the recently concluded season. The rumour mills went into overdrive as nearly all of the NBA franchises were linked with the biggest name currently in the sport. Lebron 'The Phenom' James announced which club he was to pledge his future to in an hour long special, 'The Decision'.
His choice was always going to have a massive impact upon the shape of the league for the coming years but probably not to the extent that it now looks likely to have. Lebron signed for the Miami Heat but he was not the only NBA All-Star to do so. James joined the former Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, who re-signed for the Heat.
The combination of James, Bosh and Wade makes Miami the 'Galacticos' of the NBA. Each of the three superstars talked about the appeal of winning multiple Championships as being the reasoning behind their decision. Most NBA franchises build their team around a key player, few have a player as good as any of the three the Heat now have on their roster. To have three of the elite stars in the sport could make the Heat the dominant force in the league for the foreseeable future.
Sacrifices will have to be made, however. Sharing the spotlight on and off the court will be something very new to each of the players. Their playing style will have to be adapted to fit this new team and their ability to become 'team players' will be tested to the full. How well these individuals can form a successful team will only be seen through time but anything less than a Championship this year will certainly be deemed a failure.
NBA commissioner David Stern recently expressed his view on 'The Decision', which I would largely agree with. Lebron James played into the hands of the media by delaying his choice for so long. The free-agent window opened at the start of the month and this year there was a particularly rich field of players who were out of contract. By leaving his decision so late and thus not informing the Cavaliers that he was not going to be returning to them he put them at a distinct disadvantage in their attempts to find a replacement for their MVP.
The Cavs now have a massive amount of room remaining in their salary cap and an even bigger gap left in their roster. Other stars had already been snapped up while the Cavaliers were left hoping that their most precious asset would remain with them. James did not need to state which team he was to sign for but merely declare that he would not be remaining in Cleveland so they could prepare for a future without him.
Lebron was fully entitled to leave his home-town team. Cleveland have finished top the Eastern Conference for the last two years but in both years have failed to go on and enjoy any success in the Playoffs. James' motive was unquestionably to win titles and his decision was the best suited to that end. The manner in which he went about it, however, only suited the media frenzy that surrounded the ordeal.
It is a story that will have gone unnoticed by many. Its importance, however, ought not to be underplayed. The result of 'The Decision' will have a greater impact on the NBA than all the transfers made by all other English clubs this summer will have on the Premiership.
Thoughts, comments and opinions please...