CLEVELAND - APRIL 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gets in for a dunk over James Johnson #16 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on April 19, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won the game 112-102 to take a 2-0 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
As I was watching LeBron single-handedly destroy Chicago tonight for 40-8 and 8, I had a thought that probably won't make me very popular around here: I'm not sure I want him to be a Clipper.
There are a couple of reasons. For one, I don't particularly like the way the Cavaliers play, but it's safe to assume it is the way that any team with LeBron James would play: give it to LeBron, and get out of his way. Is it really that much fun to watch a guy who happens to be bigger, faster, stronger and simply better than everyone else play basketball? You know, there's a reason I'm a Clippers fan. Those Shaq/Kobe Lakers teams were terrible to watch. Shaq in his prime just overpowered people, and I get the same sense watching LeBron. Obviously, he's a perimeter player, and therefore not completely analogous to Shaq - but the net effect of a man playing against boys remains. And although he is spectacular, I don't think it makes for great basketball.
But there's a more fundamental problem rooted in Clipper-ness. Can you have the best player in the NBA on your roster, and still be the Clippers? If Blake Griffin were to become a truly elite player on that level, I'd have no problem with that. But the idea of rooting for an underdog team to persevere and work their way to the top loses some of its allure if it happens overnight with a single free agent signing. There's something un-Clipperian about it.
Don't get me wrong. I probably won't have to deal with this problem, since LeBron is unlikely to sign with the Clippers. And obviously, the Clippers must pursue him, because free agency is an important means of improviing the team, and he's arguably the best free agent ever. Almost as obviously, if he were to wind up in LA in red-white-and-blue, I'm sure I'd get over myself real quickly.
But does anyone else out there know what I'm saying? Does anyone else feel the same way, maybe just a little?