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Finally, it's over. King James has a new kingdom. The circus has finally left town, and it's headed to South Beach.
In front of Jim Gray and a crowd of kids from the Boys and Girls Club of America, LeBron James announced he would sign with the Miami Heat, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on a lineup that suddenly looks more like an All-Star team.
A few final thoughts from the LeBron Hour and the whole sordid saga:
- The Heat immediately become NBA title contenders and join the Celtics and Magic as the teams to best in the Eastern Conference. BUT they are by no means a lock to win. No team has ever won a championship without role players (think Robert Horry, Derrick Fisher, Dennis Johnson, Ron Harper, et al), and once the Heat unload Michael Beasley to create more salary cap space, they will have a total of four players under conference: James, Wade, Bosh, and point guard Mario Chalmers. And they'll have very little money to spend. Veteran free agents may take less money to play with this modern-day Dream Team. But they won't play for nothing. And the Heat will not win the 2010-11 NBA title. Take that to the bank.
- Poor Cleveland. Jesus.
- The sports media has been a willing—eager—participant in the LeBron charade. (Yes, we're guilty of it, too.) And ESPN's performance tonight was a farcical tour de force, complete with a ridiculous graphic of LeBron wearing the "threads" of each of his suitors and a James Earl Jones-esque voiceover to start the program. As I write this, Stuart Scott is asking LeBron how long President Obama would last in a game of H-O-R-S-E with him. Talk about jumping the shark.
- The best running commentary of the night? Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, whose Twitter feed was pure gold. Bissinger particularly savaged ESPN analyst Chris Broussard and may or may not have caused him to melt midway through the segment.
- At one point, LeBron called the Heat "[Wade's] team." Michael Jordan he is not.
- Again. Cleveland. Heartbreak. Those words work in any order.
- How much fun will it be hate the Heat now? They're like a real-life version of the Mon-Stars from Space Jam. It's the Yankees/Duke/Notre Dame rolled into one.
- Let me get this straight. The Knicks strung their fans along for two years and gave up about 15 first-round draft picks so they could massively overpay Amar'e Stoudemire?
- The lack of remorse or compassion LeBron showed towards abandoning Cleveland was honestly appalling. He didn't even call owner Dan Gilbert to inform him of his decision beforehand, and he repeatedly offered mind-numbing phrases like "this is a business" and "I hope my true fans stay loyal to me." No wonder they're already burning his jersey in effigy.
- Final thought: Let's never do this again. As colossal a waste of time as anything I've ever witnessed in sports.
- Final final thought: Seriously, Cleveland fans, I'm sorry. To paraphrase a figure in another famous tragedy: "Et tu, LeBron? Then fall Cleveland."