The presentation of New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been designed to reach LeBron James(notes) on his deepest and most superficial of levels. The self-made mogul has carefully crafted a detailed and daring plan to make James a billionaire.
The Nets will show him the map of the world, where the mogul has gone in China and India and Russia to make his billions and convince James that there’s a blueprint here for him too.
LeBron James wants the world, and the 6-foot-9 owner capable of staring him in the eye will walk into his first free-agent meeting on Thursday and offer it. The Nets will offer him the borough of Brooklyn and pledge to overtake the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden. They’ll promise him a vision of turning the franchise into a global basketball destination. Two self-made global moguls, Prokhorov and minority owner Jay-Z, will come calling to convince James to join up and make it a threesome..............
Everyone has an agenda here, and yet ultimately LeBron James has to reach that moment of truth about leaving Cleveland, leaving his home and accepting what will always come with the decision: sheer derision and disdain in his backyard. He’s never leaving Akron as his home, never moving out and you wonder if James has the stomach to live out his days as a pariah there.
For all the sexy selling jobs of the Russian billionaire and South Beach and Michael Jordan’s backyard, the pull of home remains the toughest competitor in the battle for LeBron James’ heart and mind. Free agency starts at midnight ET, and the first order of business will be a billionaire’s presentation promising LeBron James nothing short of what he’s always wanted: the world.