LeBron James wonders why players get criticized for switching teams
The Cavaliers’ star believes there’s a double standard when organizations are praised for moving on from players, but players don’t get the same courtesy when they leave as free agents.
LeBron James may have received a warm reception in his return to Miami, but there are still many upset that he left the organization to return home to Cleveland as a free agent. Though that number pales in comparison to the many more upset he left Cleveland in the first place in 2010, the criticism still stings.
That’s why a defiant James turned the tables on reporters following Cleveland’s 101-91 loss. His point: why are organizations praised for moving on when players aren’t?
“The question I have, which is kind of bothering me sometimes, is when a player decides to decide his own fate, there is always questions about it?” James said, via Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears. “And, ‘Why did this guy do that, do that and do this?’ When an organization decides to go elsewhere for a player, it’s that they did what’s best for the team. Let’s figure that out some time.”
James later was asked more explicitly why he believes players are criticized while teams aren’t. His answer: “I don’t know. I’m done.”
James’ former teammate Dwyane Wade offered a similar view on Wednesday, via Spears:
“It’s tough in this league,” Wade said on Wednesday. “When a player makes a decision, and however you make it, there is always backlash. But when an organization makes it, it’s the right thing for an organization to do. And it’s fine. Josh Smith just got cut. It was the right thing for the Pistons to do.”
It’s hard to believe Smith was the sole impetus because his situation is so rare. James may be angry he keeps getting the cold shoulder from Heat president Pat Riley, who reportedly hasn’t spoken to James since the summer and didn’t stand during his tribute video. Or, perhaps James saw an opportunity to promote a view he’s held since leaving Cleveland the first time.
James makes a fair point, one that more people should understand. It was just surprising he chose to give up on a night where his former fans seemed to get it.