Really, Bron Bron? That's all you've got to say?
"We're not having fun right now," is what LeBron James said after losing to the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. Well, the good news is, you got what you wanted. You wanted to join the Heat and team up with your friends Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. You wanted to move to Souf Beach where the weather is clearly nicer than in Cleveland, Ohio. You wanted all eyes on you while you made your "decision." You got all of that and you're still not having fun?
Oh that's right- you and the "friends" you listened to during this whole charade have never heard of externalities. Want a definition? You got it, dude!
In economics, an externality or spillover of an economic transaction is an impact on a party that is not directly involved in the transaction. In such a case, prices do not reflect the full costs or benefits in production or consumption of a product or service.
Let me break it down- when making any decision, there are usually hidden effects that are unintended (some good and some bad.) Here are some obvious externalities that everyone could see coming in LeBron's self-made situation- well, besides LeBron and friends.
- LeBron's hometown now hates him. It took all of 3 seconds for ESPN to find a shot of Cleveland fans burning his jersey. The look on LeBron's face when they showed him that made me believe that he did not see that one coming.
- LeBron's public image is damaged. I can't imagine LeBron knew in advance that his public persona would take such a hit. I'm sure he thought some people would be upset, but that they'd get over it quick and most of the angry people would be stationed in Cleveland. Unfortunately, he went from being a star athlete that everyone at the very least respected, to the 6th most hated athlete in the country!
- The rest of the Miami Heat won't be very good. I don't think LeBron and Co. thought about the kind of supporting cast they could legitimately get behind them once Bosh, Wade and James all signed huge deals. I'm not sure I even believed this in years past, but you MUST have capable bench players for your team to succeed in the NBA.
And yet the biggest thing that the new-look Heat underestimated was how much pressure they put on themselves. They are not having fun right now because they are 8-6 and an awfully beatable basketball team. They are not having fun right now because they all went from fairly likable players to the second coming of the Galactic Empire in the eyes of the public (or in Chris Bosh's case, no one really cared about him- but now they do- in a bad way.) They are not having fun right now because their master plan needed to show immediate results, and now that it hasn't, they are cracking under the pressure.
The next time a high profile athlete decides to make such a vain and bold proclamation of where they plan to suit up next year, they should think about the hidden ramifications of what they are doing. More than likely, that athlete will decide to hold a 30 second long press conference and make it as humble as possible. Otherwise, they will reap the hidden costs that their actions will bear.