Adam Smith got it right. We human beings, given the chance, act out of our own self-interest. Lebron James proves that point but not for the reason you think.
In a story that took on epic proportions because of the slow summer news cycle, Lebron James chose the Miami Heat over the the New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls, and even his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers for one reason. Not money. Not championships and rings. Very simply, Lebron is looking for love not loot. And all the critics, who have skewered Lebron for the over-hyped way in which his free agency decision arrived, have missed this basic point.
If Lebron were merely looking for loot, or even for fame, he certainly would not have chosen Miami. He will end up with less salary there than from any of his other choices. If he were seeking the vainglory of championship rings, Lebron would have selected Chicago, which has a full roster in place with comrades like Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Joiakim Noah. After all, basketball is a team sport played by five men with a group of reserves to complement them. Chicago has that, and at present, Miami does not. The Heat now have a roster with just four players: Lebron, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers. They have no fifth starter, and they have no bench. Their salary cap is nearly expended, so they have little money to find the additional parts of the whole. Teams win championships not threesomes. Just ask Wilt, Jerry, and Elgin.
So why in the world did Lebron James land in Miami? Love and family.
In April, I enjoyed a nine hour flight to Poland where I would do some teaching and also some sharing of my new book, Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor: How I Discovered the Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church. On that flight, I watched every movie that was available on the airline seat viewer. My final foray into obscure video came in the form of a documentary called More Than a Game. I had never heard of it, but nine hours is a long time and I was willing to watch anything.
The documentary chronicles the boyhood and development of Lebron James in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. As is well-known, Lebron never had a relationship of any kind with his father. In fact, it is unclear if the identity of his father is even known. I will not bother to comment on the lawsuit filed on the day of Lebron's free agent announcement by a man claiming to be Lebron's father and seeking $4M in compensation. How one would seek money from a child you never claimed or supported is beyond me, but I will leave that analysis for another time.