James, due to his willingness to take risks and having not gone to college, seemed an iconoclast, someone capable of doing something different. There's nothing wrong with his going to Miami or Chicago or New York but it would've refreshing had he stayed with the Cavs.
He hurt his "brand" (and it hurts me to use the word 'brand' in the typical corporate way but it is what it is), his brand being loyalty. See the 60 Minutes interview last year and how well he treated his old friends:
Three years ago, James took one of his biggest risks ever. Deciding he wanted to control his own image, not just appear in other people's commercials, he stunned the sports world by firing his agent and starting his own company to handle his outside business interests with some of his childhood buddies from Akron.I don't know why he chose Miami, but I hope it wasn't the peer pressure within the league that measures players on how many championships they win. If that's the criteria, then championships become meaningless as star players collude to form 'super teams'. In the end, no one should think less of Ernie Banks for having played his whole career for the Cubs, or Dan Marino for the Dolphins. But then it's not what fans or sportswriters think that matters but what the players think. And for the ambitious among them it's all about rings.
Asked why he fired his agent and hired his friends, James told Kroft, "I just felt like in order for me to grow as the person that I wanted to become, as the leader, as the businessman, I had to, you know, make a change. Make something that I think could benefit myself and benefit the guys that was around me."
Two of his partners, Richard Paul and Randy Mimms, had no business background at all. And the then 23-year-old CEO Maverick Carter had only a marketing course and an internship at Nike to draw on. A lot of people, including the commissioner of the NBA, worried that it might be a recipe for disaster.
"Everyone said, 'What is he doing? Why would he give three of his friends, three young African-American guys…' - that's what they really wanted to say, right? - '…hand over his business to them at that level?'" Carter told Kroft.