Skip to content

LeBron's search for family, stability led him to Miami

Sep 4, 2010, 12:14 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for LeBron_Heat.jpgLeBron James decision was not a simple one.

Strip away the show and the made-for-media presentations the other teams had to put on — the things for which James has been heavily criticized — and you get to a decision that was about the core of who LeBron James is.

There were two key factors in his mind, I believe. One was the chance to recreate what he had in high school — when he and his best friends owned the court and the city. When playing basketball was fun and simply and extension of the camaraderie off the court. J.R. Moehringer put forward this wise idea in his fantastic GQ piece.

The other factor was family. And stability with that.

LeBron James had basically no father growing up and a mother working multiple jobs as they bounced from home in his elementary school years. Now, security and family matter to him.

And that is what the Miami Heat pitched — that their organization is a family. Look at what Pat Riley said recently, as quoted by Surya Fernandez over at the Hot Hot Heat blog.

“I think the one thing we tried to get across as an organization, when we met with all of the free agents, is I introduced Andy [Elisburg, assistant GM] and Nick [Arison, VP basketball operations], Micky [Arison, Heat owner], I didn’t introduce myself. Coach and Alonzo [Mourning] was there. And I spoke about how long they’ve been with us and what we’re about,” Riley said after the Heat’s welcome party in the AA Arena.

“And everybody in this organization, Andy started as an intern in the PR department. He started in the video room. Zo was the anchor. He’s the anchor and he’s the image of what The Heat are about. He’s a warrior. He’s got a great heart. And he extends beyond that into the community. Micky has simply been an incredible owner for all of us.

“It’s his attention, I think, to detail and the discipline. After all, he does have a day job and it’s a pretty successful business. And he brings that into the culture. Nick Arison, when I came here in 1995, he was 14 years old. And he was not the team attendant. He was basically running the whole show down in the locker room. He’s heard more speeches by me that he reminds me of on a regular basis that he wants to forget.

“And I think (LeBron) understood that this is a group. This really is stability and it’s about a family.”

It worked. Clearly teaming up with other superstars and a chance to win was part of it, but family mattered. The Heat offered stability. Really, they had the perfect pitch and situation. Something even the security and familiarity Cleveland offered could not match.

  1. Bizzle - Sep 4, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    His girlfriend didn’t even want to move to miami, LeBron went because he couldn’t do it as “the man”

  2. MICHEAL MYERS - Sep 4, 2010 at 2:19 PM


  3. cygnus x-1 - Sep 4, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    stop making excuses for the guy.he couldn’t do it as the man with the cavs. so he went where he didn’t have to be.why do you lebron lovers always overlook the fact the cavs. could not afford the sidekick superstar because he was making max dollars?and they weren’t suppose to resign any of the guys who helped him get to the finals?the ones that helped him to the nba’s best records the last 2 years?so you will give him credit for those wins but when they choked in the finals and playoffs it was because he didn’t have any help?if it was all about winning why didn’t he take less money from the cavs his last contract so they could sign a impact player to help him?look I got nothing agaisnt him except the way he went about it and all the excuses for it.

  4. sancho - Sep 4, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    a bologna, this had nothing to do with his decision. propaganda, the reason he went there is wade would not leave to go to clevaland. and lebron wants a ring at the end of the year so bad he sold his soul for it. id have more respect for him if he didnt lie so much.

  5. Scorp6 - Sep 4, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    “cygnus x-1”
    Sorry bout your luck. I hear Celveland is nice in the summer time. I hope you enjoy those two days..
    LeBron coudln’t do it as a Man? Well let’s start with…
    Could you? Suit up buddy if you think YOU can…
    Let’s see Sir Charles…Guess he ain’t much of a man either… How about Steve Nash.., maybe Karl Malone, Stockton? Clyde the Glide Drexler? Hakeem, maybe Ewing?.. No??? That’s not good enough for ya is it…
    Let’s throw in George Gervin the IceMan…or how about Iverson, let’s up it with Dominique….
    GET IT YET??? Unless you’re Dr. J (with Malone), Bird (with Parrish and McHale), Kobe (with Shaq and Gasol), Magic (with Kareem), Kareem (with Magic…Worthy didn’t hurt)….Michael ( I didn’t win a championship until Scotty got here) Jordan….The Isiah Thomas (supported by Dumars and Lambier) Pistons….The Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen Celts….
    DO YOU UNDERSTAND YET??? Nah Didn’t think you would… after all Dan Gilbert did surround LeBron with an all-star cast didn’t he..Mo, Larry, and Curly (Williams, Hughes and Z)..
    Sorry… I just realized that your 2 days of summer have expired….Must suck for you…..I know…
    Why don’t you just come on down to South Beach this December in your not so-flame-retardent ex-LeBron jersey…..we’ll hook you up with a brand new red and black one…….Ironically there is a bar on 11th and Ocean (yeah it is South Beach) called “THE CLEVELANDER”…. See ya there…

  6. Jim E. - Sep 4, 2010 at 7:00 PM

    You’re jumping on a persons comment by telling them to “suit up”? I see then that you are good at throwing names out there on why other superstars couldn’t get the ring unless they had help. You are assuming cygnus is a Cavs fan. Get your blinders off. The Cavs had the best record the last 2 years and probably if it wasn’t for injuries and resting players – could have pushed for 70 wins.
    That is not a one man team.
    Lebron had good players around him. Maybe he could have “sacrificed” some of the money he was making to bring in another superstar (if that’s your take). You know…just like what those 3 idiots are doing in Miami. Lebron deliberately gave up in last years playoff series. He “threw” the series!!! Everyone knows it that follows the NBA. It is on tape! The 3 players beat the system to be together in Miami. They have manipulated the system by taking less money so that the team could bring in other players. paying less taxes there, they are not taking much of a pay cut at all…where they would if they had gone to Jersey or New York.
    You obviously are a Miami fan. “Nobody” blames the Miami organization for any of this. Any other team would have loved to have had this happen to them. This though “ruins” the NBA!! Whenever players can get together and manipulate the system the way these guys did is amazing. Not really a Cavs fan until now. The way Lebron did that city and the people forces me to root for them.
    From your previous response, I know you are probably going to respond to my comment with some personal comment by attacking me or anybody who lives in or around Cleveland. Maybe you’ll attack the city itself. I spent time on this reply because I am so tired of reading comments like yours that attack people or a city because you are unable to articulate a rational response.
    Again, not a Cleveland fan until that Lebron fiasco and I don’t live there. Tell you what though, most of the country feels the same way to some degree.

  7. george - Sep 4, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    These Cleveland fans are out of control. Only because they had LeBron did Cleveland even matter. Now that he is gone, Cleveland is left with what is deserves. Nothing but their stupid polluted river walk.

  8. george - Sep 4, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Sounds like you guys are glad to be rid of Lebron. I guess it worked out well for everyone.

  9. Anonymous - Sep 4, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    Your absolutely right…..

  10. blackpearl26 - Sep 4, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    LeBron, welcome to Miami where you’ll feel the same love if not better, brother.
    We will try very hard to surround you with talents – how about Wade, Haslem and Bosh for a start? We know you made a very hard “DECISION” and we are grateful. We know that majority of the NBA teams/fans and people around the world will hate you because you DID NOT CHOSE their team.
    You see, the Miami fans is all about winning. Some will say we don’t show up and support a team when they are not winning or competing.
    That is true, because we care so much about winning and we want our Miami Heat executives to be on their toes – because we demand value for our money.
    This is what makes our organization world class, the fans requirement is plain to see – JUST WIN!!!
    And you will be loved more that you need.

  11. Witnessed - Sep 4, 2010 at 11:21 PM

    However you look at it it’s 5-0

  12. Lebron who? - Sep 5, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    Let’s see- all about family, eh?? Bizzle is right- Lebron’s girlfriend (if the stories are true) does not want to move to Miami and from what I have heard, was not asked her opinion on the move. And Lebron’s mom, sleeping with one of his teammates, not exactly a proper parental role model, is it? Believe me, living in NE Ohio, I think most people around here are over Lebron. Are YOU!!

  13. cygnus x-1 - Sep 5, 2010 at 2:32 AM

    hey scorp 6 I am not a cavs fan. I would just like to hear why if it wasn’t for the money and only about winning why wasn’t it about winning in cleveland?I mean if he wanted to win so much why take a max contract from the cavs leaving them with no money to get him the big name sidekick.and again stop saying he had no help when they had the best record the last 2 years.if you give him credit for that then he should take the blame for not winning in the playoffs.stop making excuses for him,I don’t care that he signed with the heat.he had the right to do what he wanted and did but just come out and say I didn’t want to play for them anymore instead of this all this b.s. about it not being for the money.why won’t anybody ask him that question?

  14. RedBaronX - Sep 5, 2010 at 4:17 AM

    What horsecrap! Miami is about family? Then why did they fire their entire marketing department to save money after hiring the big 3? Those people had families too. They may not make millions like LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh, and be in the public eye every day, but firing people like that was a disgrace. Shame on the Miami Heat. Shame on the players that allowed it to happen. Shame on the NBA for not criticizing the Heat for that totally classless move.

  15. KB24 > QUEEN JAMES - Sep 5, 2010 at 5:04 AM

    You know what redbaron. Ur absoulutely right. I never thought about it that way. Why didnt they get critisized for it????…i mean damn man why is the nba so in love with lebron???..honestly…hes good but please please…u damn lebron fans need to realize hes not even close to greatness. He has all that athletic capability and yet lacks that black mamba mentality. HOW???… I mean dudes 6’8 270lb and is so quick yet he cant stop kobe!!! Please explain…oh and might i add…he cant stop a 32 year old kobe….r u serious?!?!? Oh yeah kobes old lebrons better..since when?!?!? Look let me simplify. Kobe was drafted in ’96. By 2001 he won a damn ring! And dont give me that shaw crap cus even u know its b.s. By ’03 kobe had jordan off the map basically. He was the best and if u know basketball u know hes been the best ever since. I mean hes been runnin it for about a damn decade. But theres just so many kobe haters out there that he wont be aknowledged as great until hes inducted into the HOF. I mean honestly man i like….LIKED…lebron but his ego just shows why he will never be the best…hes 25. Kobes 32. By the way things look kobe will not allow lebron to dominate the nba. I mean hes done a good job so far. Even if he was MVP kobe DID WORK and got the job done. Plain and simple.

  16. Rudysr - Sep 5, 2010 at 6:54 AM

    All you people are crazy because Lebron did what he did to further his career. I think all the hate for him is that you guys are jealous of his position in sports. He is the best player in the league, intelligent, and getting better. He did not quit in the playoffs because Doc Rivers made it so his team mates would have to beat them. He is the best all around player since Oscar Robinson. So get over yourselves and give him his just due…………

  17. blackpearl26 - Sep 5, 2010 at 6:59 AM

    That’s the reality of business. The marketing people were hired to sell tickets. Now that there’s no more tickets to sell, what are they going to do?
    I think they’ll go to a new organization to sell tickets – maybe where LeBron and Bosh left, because that is the reality of their job. Very much the same effect the recession has, where people lost their jobs. I just hope they’re compensated enough to get back on track.
    You see, those cost wil lnow be funneled to other areas to continue the ying/yang of business. For all we know, part of it may include charitable/community programs to benefit.
    Go Heat! Go LeBron! Make us better and profitable!

  18. Daniel - Sep 5, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    By you saying that Kobe by 2003 had Jordan off the map when at in 2010, Jordan still has 10 scoring titles to kobe’s 3 and 1 defensive player of the year award…that automatically disqualifies any opinion you have on this subject since your head is so deep in Kobe’s kool aid

  19. Cordae - Sep 5, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    To answer your question, he never demanded max dollars. The cavs shoved out nothing less than max dollars. I mean, he did turn down 130mil to take 110. So tell me you, as an owner, see your best player considering all of these other teams offering him less money wouldnt have dropped the price to seek another player? I would have, but dan didnt, he just sat on his ass knowing that lebron was gonna come back and go through hell for another decade, without a ring. The acts of the Cavs as an organization during this free agency term shows what theyve done all along…….leave it ALL up to LeBron. They didnt persue ANYONE else, even before the term started, what does that say about them?..

  20. harold - Sep 5, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    that family in miami just laid off 30 people from its ticket sales staff, btw.
    still, good sales pitch by Riley.

  21. McDaddy - Sep 8, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    I was hoping LeBron stayed in Cleveland for the fans there.
    You have to feel a little sorry for the city of Cleveland:
    economically depressed and little to cheer about with their
    pro sports teams. In LeBron’s defense, if he wanted to win
    a title, he had little choice but to leave. Magic had Kareem
    and Worthy, Bird had his great supporting cast, Jordan of course
    had Pippen, and Dr. J never won a NBA title until Moses came
    to town. Who did Lebron ever have to help him in Cleveland?
    Some good players but good don’t cut it in the NBA. And will
    D-Wade really be the MAN in Miami? LeBron is the better player.
    He may well take that team over.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. James (1972)
  2. D. Rose (1771)
  3. K. Bryant (1627)
  4. J. Smith (1545)
  5. T. Thompson (1375)
  1. K. Irving (1343)
  2. T. Wroten (1334)
  3. A. Davis (1277)
  4. F. Saunders (1246)
  5. J. Embiid (1224)