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The rumor has been making the rounds recently that LeBron James would consider playing in Europe in a couple of years for the right price (on the order of $50 million/year). Despite the defection of several average NBA players to Europe this season, headlined by Josh Childress, very few really believe that LeBron would actually leave the NBA in his prime. But let's think about it for a second...

LeBron has stated publicly that his long-term goal is not just to win championships, or to be the MVP, or any of that...his goal is to become a billionaire and a "Global Icon". Global. Couldn't it be considered that taking over the ever-expanding European basketball market for a couple of years would be a great way to globalize the King James brand?

Now, I see no way that he does this if he hasn't already won at least one NBA championship and MVP, but suppose for a second that he has wins a chip and an MVP in the next two seasons. If I did my math right, LeBron will be 25 years old to start the 2010 season.

So at 25, he'd have reached the NBA mountaintop and could then take a ridiculous amount of money to go reach the top of the European mountaintop for two years. Let's take it even further, and say when that two years is up he takes a ridiculous offer from China to play there for a year or two.

By 2014, at age 29, LeBron could legitimately have an NBA title and MVP, a European title and MVP, an Asian title and MVP, an Olympic Gold medal, and already be the highest paid basketball player in history. And he'd still be just entering his basketball prime with a good 5 - 8 years left to re-take over the NBA and pad his American accomplishments.

That is a bunch of "what-if"s, but I could see it as an almost plausible thought process for LeBron. It has always seemed that Kobe Bryant's dream is to top Michael Jordan, to surpass the 6 titles and be crowned the king of the NBA. LeBron's dream, I believe, is a bit different. He wants to be the King of the world. And though him leaving for Europe would be a long shot to actually happen, this could be a way to master the world basketball universe in a way that even Jordan never did.
Posted by Professor at 8/6/2008 7:29:00 AM
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