Commentary

Debate: Can LeBron's rep recover?

Fans won't see King James the same way again. But a dynasty could heal all wounds.

Updated: October 28, 2010, 1:49 PM ET
By Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine
LeBron JamesJim Rogash/Getty ImagesIn taking his talents to South Beach, LeBron James tainted his legacy. But if he wins a few titles ...

The only thing Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard like to do more than report on the NBA is argue about the NBA. So we decided to combine those two skills for Insider's weekly One-on-One series, in which they'll debate the hottest topics in the association.

Question: Will LeBron James' rep among fans ever fully recover?

BROUSSARD: LeBron James has taken a severe beating for leaving Cleveland for Miami in the manner that he did. But it's nothing a few championships can't fix. Therefore, I believe that if the Miami Heat live up to their tremendous promise and become a dynasty, LeBron's national image will be restored to what it once was.

BUCHER: LeBron will never, ever be regarded the same as he was in Cleveland, no matter how many championships he wins. He was, to many, the unselfish, humble, devoutly loyal hometown hero determined to bring Cleveland its first championship. Not an unselfish, humble, devoutly loyal hometown hero but the one, as in the only one. It earned him a universal popularity greater than his actual basketball achievements merited. Some of those attributes he will never get back, no matter what he does.


To see why Ric Bucher believes LeBron can never fully reclaim his pre-"Decision" image and why Chris Broussard says the problem is nothing a few titles can't fix, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Ric Bucher

NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer