LeBron James, the greatest basketball player in the world (perhaps ever to live), is a free agent. He is about to decide where he will spend the twilight of his magnificent career, but he likely has a few championship-level years in him.
This extremely scientific power ranking shows the desirability of LeBron’s new digs from a rooting perspective: which team will inspire the most love and the most hate? This list will go from the least contempt to the most.
#7 will leave is the chillest: it’s eating Cheez-Its and drinking rose in your backyard. #1 is being on a bus stranded in parking lot traffic, and then getting chewed out by your shitty white man boomer boss for being five minutes late.
#7: Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron redeemed himself in the eyes of every fair-minded sports fan when he returned to Cleveland after a college-type experience in Miami. Bron won long-suffering Cleveland sports fans their first championship in over 50 years of futility, and made up for the betrayal of his first free agency in 2010.
If he stays in Cleveland, Bron will keep banking all that goodwill. But he probably won’t bank any more championships. The Cavs have a lot of expensive, washed players, and don’t have many ways to change the mix and build a quality team around Bron.
Obnoxiousness level: 2/10. How many times can you rescue your hometown?
#6: Miami Heat
LeBron has compared his experience in Miami to going away for college. Here’s a quick recap of his college years, and the experience of a reunion.
2010: Professor Pat Riley is teaching Extortion and Wearing Suits. Cool upperclassman Dwyane Wade is willing to teach the ropes to transfers Chris Bosh and LeBron James. Bron gets a B+ in Riley’s class, and comes into conflict with cool guy Wade. They lose the Finals in 7 to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.
2011-12: LeBron flourishes on campus. Dwyane Wade gradually cedes his status as the big man on campus, though everyone kind of likes him better because he knows everyone going way back and LeBron is corny. Bron pulls down a 4.0, winning two championships and learning from Professor Riley.
2013: Remember how Professor Riley taught LeBron about Extortion and Wearing Suits? Well, Professor Riley tries to use the tricks he taught against LeBron. But the student has become the teacher. LeBron, whose suit game is now very advanced, is unimpressed by Riley’s latest extortion attempt and splits. Everyone in Miami is mad.
2019 Reunion: Dwyane has a dad bod, but still thinks he’s as cool as he ever was. (He’s not.) Chris has a serious medical condition that’s bumming everyone out. Professor Pat is old AF. And all these young bloods are on campus, pretending like the glory days never happened, and a lot of them have shitty attitudes. Lame! Bron and Dwyane try to cut it up like the legendary old days, but it’s kinda sad and pathetic. No rings.
Obnoxiousness level: 2.8/10. Between the beach umbrellas, Pat Riley, and Dwyane Wade, there’d be plenty of shade to go around.
#5: San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are excellent so consistently that some people take them for granted. LeBron is so consistently excellent that everyone takes it for granted. Head coach Gregg Popovich likes to talk about how Donald Trump sucks, and he likes wine. LeBron likes wine and thinks Trump sucks. They would get along so well.
Obnoxiousness level: 4/10. We just got to the point where everyone agreed to stop jerking off the Spurs all at once. Do we really want that again?
#4: Houston Rockets
If Bron went to Houston, he would be joining the team that took the Warriors to their limit in the Western Conference Finals this year, without their second best player, Chris Paul. In that series, the Rockets played smart basketball with passion and intensity, something that LeBron would find refreshing after spending several years with J.R. Smith.
On the other hand, the Rockets are the most obnoxious team in basketball to watch. James Harden, their current best player, hunts for fouls and flops without shame. They are boring: all they do is shoot threes and iso.
Plus, Chris Paul has no chill, and he flips out on his teammates 2.8 times per game, and complains every time he goes to the rack and doesn’t get a foul. And if you thought that was annoying when LeBron did it, well—wait till you get to hear it in stereo!
Plus, they’re good enough to take the Warriors for a ride as they are. Don’t we want at least three contenders?
Obnoxiousness level: 6.5/10. So much complaining to refs.
#3: Philadelphia 76ers
The drama. Oh my god, the drama. Philadelphia sports cannot exist without drama. They have had a quarterback controversy for three straight decades, mostly just because Philly fans can’t handle the excellence of black quarterbacks. The Sixers GM just resigned got fired because his wife got caught sharing players’ confidential medical information on Twitter.
We’ve given Philly a pity pass, since its residents burned the city to the ground after the Eagles won their first ever Super Bowl. But now that the city is rebuilt, we can see the ugly reality of Philly sports. Philly fans are insane and disgusting. You can only imagine the horrors that would result if LeBron dropped himself into this frightening place.
Plus, the basketball fit isn’t great. Ben Simmons could be the blockbuster remake of LeBron’s original IP, like Kobe and Dwyane Wade were for Michael Jordan. They do most of the same stuff on the court, and Bron could stunt his development. And you know Bron and Joel Embiid would be sniping at each other constantly. Plus, Philly has the talent to be a real Warriors challenger on their own.
Obnoxiousness level: 8/10. So many subtweets.
#2: Los Angeles Lakers
Oh my god, this would be unbearable. I can’t fucking stand the Lakers. I can’t stand their smug, entitled fans. I can’t stand their ubiquity. I can’t stand the way they breathlessly stan for Kobe Bryant.
In fact, I have one thought about Kobe Bryant, and I mean this from the absolute, deepest, most sincere bottom of my heart:
Fuck that guy forever.
The breathless, simpering ESPN segments that would result from Kobe and LeBron passing in a god damn hallway would be excruciating. And you know Skip Bayless would whine and drone on and on and on and on and on about how Kobe was better than LeBron, which—just kill me now.
Plus, the Lakers have—along with the Cowboys and the Yankees—more palace intrigue than any other team in sports, and Bron is nearly as accomplished a front office schemer as he is a basketball player. The plots, the intrigues, the whining about video tributes… I’m exhausted thinking about it.
Obnoxiousness level: 9/10. I haven’t even mentioned Lavar Ball yet.
#1: Boston Celtics
Because what America really needs is for the (arguable) GOAT to join the most spoiled, entitled group of fans in the country, AND have them complain about it in all sorts of vaguely racist ways.
Besides, Bron hates Boston, hates the Celtics, the whole mess. This would be the basketball equivalent of Kanye’s MAGA heel turn.
But, remember, kids: Trump is president, everything is terrible, and people are the worst.
Obnoxiousness level: 11/10. I can hear Bill Simmons crowing about it now.
Also published on Medium.