When he joined the Miami Heat to play with his friends and put together a championship team, he did what many have tried to do, but on a scale much larger than ever seen before. This might be the start of something....
Has this ever happened in Hockey???
Yes, sure has. Remember when Teemu and Kariya teamed up for a deal worth 7 million for both of them for the year to play on a star studded team in Colorado. Now that situation could have been the turning point in the NHL free agency, but a couple of things happened. One,Colorado did not win the cup, and both Kariya and Teemu did not have very good seasons (Kariya was injured for most of it and Selanne only got 38 points in 78 games). The next season the strike happened and people thought the experiment was a flop and we really have not seen anything like it since.
What makes it special now that Lebron is doing it?
- 3 players on a basketball team is like getting 2 lines of superstars to all sign in one place.
- Lebron is truly a king of the court (2 time reigning MVP)
- Salary Cap, means there is more to the game than signing all the big dogs (like the Yankees do in baseball) with big contracts.
I do not think so..........here is what I see. (Please remember, me an Lebron do not hang and go clubbing together so I do not personally know the guy.)
- He wants to play with his friends from the Olympic team - sounds like a good guy to me.
- He held an hour long special to announce his decision - with all the profits going to boys and girls clubs of America rather than the big team press conference everyone else gets. This press conference was gonna be a big deal without him putting on a special on ESPN anyways.
- He took a pay cut for a chance at a championship - he still makes 14 million, but that is down from the 19.5 he could have made, and there is whole dynamic of taking a ridiculous pay cut and hurting all the other negotiation for players around the league. Pretty hard to get what your worth when the top player in the world just signed for 2 million.
The owner of the Cavs calls him a selfish coward who is narcissistic and that he betrayed cleveland and all the fans who supported him. (click on underline text to read letter).
Lets look at this with an open mind. Cleveland had the best record in the regular season, good playoff runs and seemed pretty close to a team ready to add a player to take them over to the top. Why not bring Bosh or Wade (or any other free agent star) to Cleveland? Obviously there is more to this story that we all know. After reading the letter, I felt reassured that Lebron made the right decision. The way the owner reacted speaks volumes as to how he manages a team. Obviously the owner was not the leader with the vision that matched what Lebron wanted in a owner. So take a step back and think of being in Lebron's shoes. The owner mentions about who we want our kids to grow up and be like. You tell me who your kids should be like: someone who is willing to take a pay cut, share the spotlight and do what ultimately makes them happy or someone who has knee-jerk reactions when faced with adversity blaming others for their failures?
How does this relate to me as a hockey coach???
Lots of kids get bad reputations, bad habits and things that are keeping them from being good hockey players. I challenge you to look deeper and try to figure out what is really preventing them from being good hockey players. This is what separates good scouts and coaches from mediocracy. Don't write off kids, believe in them and understand what you can work with and what you can't. Understand that because a player may want to change teams, it may not be that he is not a team player. Maybe he just needs better direction and leadership, that's where you come in. In most minor hockey systems players develop reputations, just like coaches and parents. Look deeper than the surface (don't forget to recognize a bad situation it is right in front of you) and don't be afraid to make mistakes.
Moral of this post:
Players for the most part love hockey, remember this and believe in them and you will be rewarded handsomely with an abundance of players that will improve and surprise you. Take the time to figure out the whole story, the root of the problem and deal with it accordingly. You might fail, but you might end up with Datsyuk and Zetterberg on your team with your 6th round and 7th rounds of your player evaluations.