Monday, April 27, 2009


By now everyone knows that Lebron James is one of the top basketball players on the planet. Some can argue that Kobe Bryant or Dwayne Wade may have had a better season than Lebron, but what I have witnessed from him in his 5 years in the NBA and what he just did in the first round of the NBA playoffs tells me that no player is more valuable than King James.

As Cleveland closed out a first round sweep in Detroit yesterday, effectively ending the wonderful Piston run of this decade, the fans in the building (both Cavalier and Piston fans) were chanting “MVP” every time Lebron held the ball. Why? His performance in this series was amazing. He averaged 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 7.5 assists. Averaged these numbers! That is dominant.

As someone living in the mid-market city of St. Louis, I hear both sides argue whether we could support an NBA franchise. With the NFL, MLB, and NHL already in town, I highly doubt it. I would love to see Kansas City get an NBA franchise, but some still doubt whether KC could support a team. I believe that the NBA is unique in the sense that one player could literally make or break a team in a city.

New York, LA, Houston, and Chicago could produce the worst product on the court and still be okay simply due to the population size of their markets. Then you see places like Charlotte and Vancouver lose their teams because they weren’t “supporting” them enough. (I know Charlotte got another team and I don’t include Seattle in the mix because they probably would have lost the Sonics regardless). Do you think Vancouver would have supported their team more if Lebron was playing for them? Do you think if the NBA expanded into Kansas City and brought Lebron to town to play for the home team that they’d need to worry about not filling the Sprint Center every night?

Consider this, in 2002-2003, Cleveland won 17 games all year and their attendance was near the bottom of the league at 471,374. Just one year later with Lebron James on the team, they won 35 games and attendance jumped nearly 60% to 749,790. This season Cleveland lost only 2 home games all year and won 66 games with an attendance total of 820,439. Oh, and he’s only 24 years old.

In 5 years Lebron has improved his team’s win total 288% and increased attendance 74%. If that’s not the definition of valuable, I don’t know what is. Better hope Cleveland can find a way to keep this guy once his contact expires.

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