By S.C. Zuba
Last week, I overheard someone suggesting that when the Bulls lost out on the LeBron James sweepstakes, it was the best thing that could’ve happened to this young team.
At first, I thought he was crazy. How in the world could missing out on the game’s best player be a good thing?
Turns out, he was right.
Watch a Bulls’ game, and you’ll see. This team is good—and so, so young. The leader of it all, Derrick Rose, is putting together a résumé that would make elite point guards like Chris Paul blush. He is the face of this team, and it should stay that way.
The Bulls don’t need someone like James to come in and put his twist on what they’re doing. The Bulls are putting together a good product that is most certainly producing.
James’ presence would have disrupted the chemistry the Bulls have worked so hard to create.
The players who make up the Bulls’ roster aren’t flashy. They don’t strive for attention or make the game of basketball about themselves. They wouldn’t (and won’t) handcuff the sports world when it becomes their turn to be a free agent.
LeBron James would. And did.
Entering free agency this past offseason, I was a big advocate of James. I wanted him. I thought he was exactly what the Bulls needed to get to the next level. I called for the Bulls’ front office to do whatever it took to put James in red, black and white.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Apparently, Rose and Joakim Noah didn’t feel the same way, and oh, how right were they.
While other players (like Dwayne Wade) were out campaigning for James’ service, Rose and Noah were in the gym preparing for the season. They were doing whatever it took to get better.
Rose was working on his 3-point shot, Noah was working on becoming more dominant down low. To them, it didn’t matter if James came to Chicago or not. They knew what they needed to do to take their team to the next level—andthey went out and did it.
You didn’t see Rose calling James about all the wonderful things that could happen if James came to Chicago. You didn’t see Noah flying to Ohio to elicit James’ help. You saw two young, incredibly talented players doing what they needed to do. You saw two players displaying incredible class and maturity—something James could learn a thing or two about.
The Bulls don’t need James now, nor did they need James then. They are proving on a daily basis they can be one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference without him.
The Bulls do not need LeBron James. Not now, not ever.
I’m so thankful he took his talents to South Beach. Keep them there, LeBron.
Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at email@example.com.
From the Dec. 22-28, 2010 issue