MIAMI – LeBron James, the Miami Heat’s All-Star forward and the man considered the best player in the NBA, called it “a story untold.”
He has never been the top-paid player on the Miami Heat. He makes $17.54 million a season, the same as teammate Chris Bosh.
“I have not had a full contract max deal yet,” James said.
It was a revealing statement from an athlete who makes many kind gestures on and off the court, but who remains reviled by a significant portion of the basketball-viewing public for the way he announced his infamous “Decision” to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and take his talents to South Beach.
James, the most popular player in the world, won’t participate in the All-Star Saturday Night festivities – not the Slam Dunk, Skills or Three-Point Shooting. It is his right to opt out of those events, the same as it is for any All-Star.
But for the first time in 10 years, I think James should participate in the All-Star Saturday festivities.
It’d be yet another nice gesture from someone who has restored his image — among a lot of people, but not everyone — as a nice guy.
Before James led the Heat to the title last season, I was on his side. He had everything to lose and nothing to gain by participating in an All-Star Saturday event.
If he didn’t win whatever competition he entered, The Haters would have used it as a springboard to why he hadn’t yet consistently excelled in the playoffs or lifted his team to a title.
However, things are different now. James has the title. He has nothing to lose.
James is already on record as saying he won’t participate in All-Star Saturday events.
His buddy, Dwyane Wade, is coaching the East team in the Feb. 16 Rookie-Sophomore event in Houston. Wade has already tried to persuade James – twice — but hasn’t had any luck.
Wade asked James about the 3-point contest.
“He turned me down,” Wade said. “He said ‘I don’t want to shoot.’”
Then Wade asked about the dunk contest.