Once upon a time in a land far, far away, your sports heroes stayed put. Kids could roam the neighborhood wearing the hometown star's jersey for years with no fear of obsolescence.
Poof! Your dream is over. That little slice of Never-Never Land is long gone.
We sports fans invest our emotions (and money) in multimillion dollar franchises, which in turn hire multimillionaire athletes. The athletes are interchangeable. With rare exceptions (mostly New York Yankees like Jeter, Rivera and Posada), these people move on every few years in search of greener pastures.
We fans want our teams to win so we can whoop and holler and go to the victory parade. We like to think the players share our desire for success. And they do--to a point. What they're really in it for is the money. Sometimes one leads to the other, but there is no absolute correlation. At the end of the day, the athlete is, understandably, motivated by economics.
The LeBron James spectacle forces us all to confront this dichotomy. Did he spend the last two years hyping his impending free agency so he could increase the odds of winning an NBA Championship? Or did he do it to increase the value of Team LeBron?
You make the call. And you decide whether to keep wearing that Cavaliers jersey with his name on the back.