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Could LeBron be a loser? Winning is never guaranteed, big egos often problematic and big money doesn't always come to sports cities

By Dian Vujovich

I am a basketball fan. Love the sport. More than loving the sport, though, I believe in teams. I also believe in a quote my father, a one-time terrific basketball player, was fond of repeating, “It’s not whether you win or lose it’s how you play the game.”

Of course that philosophy was far more popular a half-century ago than it is today. That’s back when America was indeed a land of opportunity for all, the salary gap between the average working man or woman was only 40 times what the average muckity-muck CEO got, not the 4000 differential of today; saving for retirement was a realistic goal; companies provided pensions for their employees; mergers and acquisitions didn’t matter much; stock market news wasn’t reported every minute of every day; and only a few, like Sir John Templeton, cared about investing internationally.

Yes, back then winning wasn’t everything. Rather, it was the game that held the value and taught the greatest life lessons: Teamwork was name of the game; winning and losing both carried value –in fact it shares the same value , 50 percent, in a game in which the outcome can only be a win or a loss; individual sports stars were respected for their talents and seemed genuinely thankful for them; and big-egoed athletics frowned upon.

Today winning matters most and at whatever cost. Losing is thought of as bad and almost despicable. Star athletes grossly overvalued and over-hyped. Plus, what looks to be a huge number of sports fans seem to be lunatics, ignorantly fickle and unmindful of the fact that there is no “i” in “team”. Just in case anyone has forgotten, there are 10 basketball players on the court at one time playing the game, five from each team. On the bench, each team can have 12 active players and no more than 15 players.

The Miami Heat’s Holy Three, aren’t the only three who will matter this season. They aren’t the only three who will make winning possible. Again, basketball is a team sport and accidents happen, wrists get sprained, ankles twisted, knees busted up, etc.

While spending big bucks on players— free agents or not— doesn’t guarantee winning anything, it also doesn’t guarantee that a hometown will be financially rewarded for their hotshot star player choices. According to a piece titled, ” LeBron’s Limited Economic Impact” in The Atlantic today, (http://tinyurl.com/34zbjbx ), money doesn’t always come to the big-paying sports cities: ” Sports teams, stadiums and players do not greatly help cities’ economies — and in fact sometimes hurt them by allocating resources to activities that help few people and don’t foster investment and innovation, such as a university.

“At least two studies have shown that there’s little to no net positive economic impact from sports teams on metropolitan areas. The main reason is simple: people who travel to the city to eat, drink and be entertained would have spent much of that money on the same activities in the same region. What revenue a city gains (and again, most of it winds up in the team’s pockets) is what revenue a suburb loses. Unless LeBron and the Heat attract tourists from far outside Miami or Florida, the net gain to the area’s economy will probably be minimal.”

Nonetheless, I’m rooting for the team.

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