You’ve got mail, LeBron: Come to the Bulls, build something and shock the world
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I’m writing you a letter because there seems to be something wrong with your email, Twitter, text and doorbell capabilities, as well as with your ability to read a banner being pulled by an airplane. I take your silence to mean that there’s a technical issue or that you still believe a restraining order means something.
Every time you’ve been a free agent, I’ve encouraged you to join the Bulls. I’ve done this at great risk to my personal well-being from Michael Jordan zealots who accuse me of having an unhealthy fascination with your incredibly phenomenal game. So unfair!
I simply want to see another Bulls championship in my lifetime. The last was in 1998, when You Know Who was leading the franchise to its (and his) sixth NBA title in eight years. You have steadfastly refused to ride into town on a white horse to save this organization from itself. I’m sure you’ve done so for good reasons that I, an unbiased observer with a pair of high-powered binoculars, wouldn’t understand.
You decided to take your talents (pure poetry, Mr. James!) from Cleveland to Miami and then back again to Cleveland, where you played with earthlings who were beneath you. The Warriors, a collection of superstars, just swept your Cavaliers, and except for your exceptional performance, everything about it was brutally bad.
You know what I’m about to say, but I’ll say it anyway: May I come over and play video games with you tonight? No, that’s not what I was about to say. It is this: How about joining the Bulls when the official NBA signing period begins July 6?
I know it sounds crazy. After that terrible series, you’re in need of star teammates who will be able to actually compete with the Warriors next season. That doesn’t sound like the Bulls, a team that has gone the tanking route in the hopes of coming out of the darkness a powerhouse in a year or two. But let’s talk about the positives.
The Bulls are one of the few NBA teams with lots of cap space and thus one of the few teams that can offer you tons of money. That fact has been pooh-poohed because you’re already worth a gazillion dollars and how would another $200 million change your life? But the people who say those things don’t understand us — you. If somebody is keeping score, you want to win. Let somebody else take less money this time. There’s no such thing as having too many Rolls-Royces!
Former teammate Dwyane Wade says family considerations will play more of a factor in your decision this time. You have three children, and your oldest, LeBron Jr., an excellent baller, will enter high school soon. Here’s my take on what must be an excruciating and intensely personal issue for you to consider: We have schools here, too.
From the outside, it doesn’t look like the Bulls have enough for your purposes. But the young core of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn has real promise. Markkanen will be a star in the league, and the arrival of that stardom will be speeded up if you come to Chicago. The Bulls choose seventh in the upcoming draft because they didn’t tank well enough to get a higher pick. But maybe they’ll get lucky enough to get somebody great.
Pay no attention to Gar-Pax’s track record. You’ll be the team’s general manager anyway. And your (omni) presence will draw other great players.
You don’t want to go to Houston. One, Houston is in Houston. Two, you don’t want to be perceived as someone who had to join James Harden and Chris Paul to have a chance to win another title. You already did that with Wade and Chris Bosh. Where would the accomplishment be in it this time?
You and Chicago have a complicated relationship. I get that. There are people here who will never give you your due. They’re too emotionally invested in Jordan to allow room for the idea that you might have more overall ability than His Airness did. So instead of acknowledging that there might be a 1A and a 1B for the Greatest Player of All Time, separated by a centimeter, they trash you. Fools! They don’t speak for everyone in the city, though if I had to guess, I’d say they speak for 96.2 percent of it. Anyway, ignore that. Those people will embrace you if you come. They’ll also be wearing Jordan jerseys when they do.
Your best choices appear to be five cities: Cleveland (Cavs uniform belts are actually made of rust), Philadelphia (where they eat their young), Houston (top export: sweat stains), Los Angeles (the Lakers are a Botox scandal waiting to happen) and Chicago (the winters are outstanding).
Don’t let people tell you that the clock is ticking on your career, LeBron. You’re 33 and just finished your 15th year in the league, but I dare someone to say you’re slowing down. You look like you could play until you’re 40. I told that to my son LeBrick the other day.
This appears to be the unlikeliest time for you to consider the Bulls. But imagine being on the ground floor of something big — building a champion from scratch (sort of), as opposed to taking the Warriors’ buy-an-all-star-team approach. I told Phil Jackson that if he wanted to enhance his legacy, he should go somewhere that didn’t have superstars and build a winner. He went to the Knicks and, OK, bad example.
But you and the Bulls, LeBron. Think about it. This could work.
And I promise to stay 100 yards away from you at all times.
You’re Biggest Fan (and Future Neighbor).
Sun-Times sports columnists Rick Morrissey and Rick Telander are co-hosts of a weekly podcast called “The Two Ricks: Unfiltered.”Don’t miss their candid, amusing takes on everything from professional teams tanking to overzealous sports parents and more. Download and subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts and Google Play, or via RSS feed.