Even Lebron Doesn’t Listen To President Obama

One of the most anticipated NBA free-agent announcements came when Lebron told the world he's heading to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat.  Of the six teams coveting him, really only three stood a chance: Miami, Cleveland, and New York City for obvious reasons.  The other three teams: Chicago, LAC, and New Jersey will just be footnotes and forgotten.

What's most interesting is not Lebron's decision to make millions of dollars less to join two guys he thinks he can win championships with.  Instead, Lebron's decision to completely spurn President Obama is what really gets me thinking!

No less than seven times has President Obama made a public statement insisting that Lebron join the Chicago Bulls. As you know, Obama was the Senator of Illinois before he became President.  Many pundits also believe that Chicago is a better candidate for Lebron to win championships with Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Derrick Rose, Brad Miller, and Joakim Noah.  But, nope.  Not Lebron.

If Lebron James, who is a huge Obama fan, doesn't even listen to Obama's words, why should the general public?  It wasn't like Obama was saying go to the Minnesota Timberwolves where they have a snowball's chance in hell of winning.  Chicago is a seriously legitimate team if not the best choice!


* Relationships are most important. Lebron, Dwayne, and Chris created an amazing relationship after winning gold metals in the Beijing Olympics.  Their friendship transcends money, which jives well with the theory that money can't bring happiness but friends can.

* Location matters. Let's face it.  Chicago is a crappy place to live 6 months of the year.  Why on Earth would Lebron decide to move from crappy weather Cleveland to crappy weather Chicago?  He might as well stay in Cleveland!  Ever wonder why it wouldn't be easier to get Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to go to Cleveland?  It's because Cleveland is a hard place to live unless you have family there.  If you're going to make a move, you might as well go all out and either move to Miami or LA because we all know that weather in NYC and NJ is horrendous as well.

* Charity is a good thing. At the end of the interview with ESPN, Lebron announced he is donating all proceeds raised from the “The Decision” to the Boys & Girls Club he's so intricately involved in.  With President Obama limiting the tax break for charity deduction to 28%, that penalizes those in the higher income tax brackets who are the onse who make up the majority of this country's donations!  The clear repercussion of this proposed legislation is that giving will decline by billions at the margin.

* Just say NO to discrimination. With President Obama allowing for an even higher progressive tax system, he is saying it is OK to discriminate against people based on their income.  If you worked hard and spent an extra 8 years of your life after college to become a physician and make $500,000, the Democrats believe it's OK to tax you 39.6%.  Meanwhile, if you decide to goof off in school, not study and make $25,000 a year for the rest of your life, you are rewarded by only paying 15% in Federal income tax.

* Lower taxes is the result of fiscal prudence. Although Lebron has to pay 39.6% on his mega millions a year, he won't have to pay state tax, which is a 10% savings compared to playing in California or New York, and a 6% savings compared to staying in Cleveland.  If you make conservatively $50 million a year after endorsements, you're saving $5 million in state taxes a year!


It's been a year and a half since President Obama came to office and some people are getting tired of rhetoric.  We've had a great recovery in the financial markets, but our employment outlook still looks murky.  We are spending record amounts of money on government programs, yet the government tells other people to practice financial austerity.  Federal government employees are raking it in with recession proof jobs and rising wages.  Lebron has lost faith in the President and his ability to help out the Midwest and his home state of Ohio.  As a result, he no longer listens, so why are you?

Readers, has anybody else lost faith in our President and his promises?

For basketball fans, did Lebron make the right choice going to Miami?

Why do you still not play or follow sports when America is a nation of sports enthusiasts?

** Very few people can claim to have worked in one job for 7 consecutive years right out of school.  So before you go bashing Lebron for his decision, like Cleveland Owner Dan Gilbert who just lost hundreds of millions in franchise value, take a look at your own track record.


Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

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30 thoughts on “Even Lebron Doesn’t Listen To President Obama”

  1. I agree with you that Obama is doing the best he can. It’s not like he’s purposefully trying to let people suffer. And so, I give him a B+/A- for effort.

    The reason why I ask why don’t more people play sports is b/c of what you mention. It’s fun, builds relationships, and so much a part of Americana. If you don’t play sports, you are at a comparative disadvantage when you are interviewing, trying to get to know someone at a party, climbing the corporate ladder, b/c so many other people are into sports.

  2. Roshawn @ Watson Inc

    Very interesting post.

    The state tax issue is big, as you pointed out. It’s interesting how taxes can impact one’s decisions once you realize how much is at stake. This is even more true for some of the most talented because they are likely to have more at stake.

    Chicago weather – I don’t think it is that bad personally. I have lived there for almost two decades and prefer the milder temperature compared to the hot South. That said, there is no comparison to Miami or LA.

    One more think, the person making $25,000 may likely be one of those paying no income taxes at all (considering only 1 out of 2 people pay taxes) once all the credits and tax avoidance strategies are accounted for.

    1. It is indeed such an irony that one is rewarded by the government if they decide to make $25K instead of $80K and $150K and $250K and so forth. America is great! Let’s reward the lower end and punish to hell the higher end!

  3. A bit of a disingenuous argument blaming the President for the nation’s ills and little to no progress? Last I checked there were three branches of government on both the Federal and State levels. As long as the general populace keeps accepting the rhetoric and dumbed down issues of political parties utilized to secure votes we as citizens shall never make intelligent decisions regarding the course of our nation.

    Also smart move by lebron to accomplish his goals of winning a title. Tis better to win a title with other greats and not be considered the greatest than to go it alone,not win the title and considered almost great.

    1. I thought initially that the connection between Lebron and the government might not work, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized Lebron, even though he’s such a huge fan of Obama, and even though Chicago makes a ton of sense, can’t accept and listen to him b/c of the inequalities our government has created against hard working people.

      Tis better to win a title with other greats indeed! Frankly, Chris Bosh is not a “superstar”. So in my mind, it’s just Lebron and Dwane….. with Chris Bosh cleaning up!

  4. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

    Readers, has anybody else lost faith in our President and his promises?
    Ummm…because of a basketball player’s decision…no. I never had a lot of faith in any of our government, so I have low standards.

    For basketball fans, did Lebron make the right choice going to Miami?
    I think his decision was fine, but did he really need to have a tv special to announce it?

    Why do you still not play or follow sports when America is a nation of sports enthusiasts?
    Because they allow travelling…when I played basketball, they’d call that crap faster than your feet could squeak. I do watch NFL though…

  5. Nice analysis, Sam, and for the most part I agree with you. But really, why all the fuss over this guy? ;-)

    Paraphrasing the great Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James has won at every level except college and the pros.


    Len Penzo dot Com

    1. Shaq is a classic.. what a great line he speaks!

      The fuss is that it’s fun to get caught up in the fuss. And since so many folks are caught up in it, it makes for good banter and parties, outings, office place settings, with clients, whatever. It’s all just for fun, but also interesting about one man’s decisions regarding loyalty, money, and so forth!

  6. I agree with you, I think the lack of state taxes is a big reason why Lebron and company decided on the Heat. Also, if you’re 25 and on top of the world, do you want to live in Miami or Cleveland?

  7. Money Reasons

    has anybody else lost faith in our President and his promises?
    Yes, his actions don’t really match his words. The BP mess has really made him look bad too. Apparently the “I will not rest until” comment about BP Leak includes golfing, playing basketball, etc… While I’m not totally in disagreement with some of the plans that the demos forced through, I do think their timing stinks.

    For basketball fans, did Lebron make the right choice going to Miami?
    Lebron has done some wonderful things for Cleveland and their community. It’s a sad day for Cleveland… But I think he’s got to do what he (or his maybe his mom) is best for him and his family (he has at least 2 kids).

    Why do you still not play or follow sports when America is a nation of sports enthusiasts?
    I don’t follow it too closely (except football, fantasy football has me semi-hooked), but I do think it’s silly to waste so much money on something that doesn’t really produce anything. I’m in a minority in this area, look at the rest of the world and soccer… I do like high school sport, they represent something, unlike professional sports where the talent comes from all over.

    Great points Sam, once again you made me realize that you are right on the “discriminate against people based on their income.” and the “We are spending record amounts of money on government programs, yet the government tells other people to practice financial austerity. Federal government employees are raking it in with recession proof jobs and rising wages” parts above in your article!

    1. Thanks for pointing out the last paragraph Don. I just wish the government would follow its OWN MANTRA and keep spending down so we don’t have such a massive deficit and have to tax people more in this economy. Oh well, that’s what happens when people have power!

  8. Here’s my take on his move.

    As far as superstar status is concerned, I think he loses credibility even if he win’s a championship. Jordan needed help, but primarily got it with Pippen. Kobe needed help, but primarily got it with Shaq (and now Gasol). Lebron now has two superstars he’s playing with, so it’ll look like he needed more help.

    He was hyped as The King, but I don’t think he can wear that crown now that he has two all-stars as his sidekicks. He was trying to be mentioned in the same breath as Jordan and Kobe, but I don’t think that will happen anymore.

    But I can understand his desire to win. KG did a similar thing, although he was at a much later stage in his career.

    1. Yeah, I hear you man. Jordan, Kobe… they both stayed for the longer term, and the mgmt got it done by building an A quality organization around them.

      If I was Lebron, I wouldn’t care that I have to share my glory with my two buddies. There’s enough glory to pass around, not to worry! I’d love to be be with my closest friends and earn millions. That would be a dream come true!

  9. Sam asks, “Why do you still not play or follow sports when America is a nation of sports enthusiasts?”

    For the obvious reason that American is first and foremost a nation of individualists, and that right is both protected by the 1st Amendment and endorsed by the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” clause from the Declaration. I do not go to my job each morning as I would in China forced to participate in group calisthenics. I don’t give a damn about sports, have never heard of Lebron, and if I prefer to spend my time attending a concert at the Philharmonic or an exhibit at the Met (in New York, where the weather is perfectly decent, thank you), that’s my prerogative.

    Perhaps I’ll comment on some of your other comments later . . .

    1. Love your answer Larry! Seriously, most excellent retort.

      That said, I think you are missing out man. I love the Philharmonic, the Met, and going to Carnegie Hall myself when I go visit NYC. But, I also love sports.. playing, watching, following. I’d feel something is missing if I wasn’t physically active.

      Sports gives people something to banter about and build relationships with. The more things you enjoy, the happier one’s life is.

  10. I can’t blame Lebron from choosing a warm-weather state. There’s also a huge night-life there as well, perhaps that influenced his decision too. As for being sick of the Obama administration, I have to say that they are approaching the joblessness all wrong. Big government won’t cure the lack of jobs. More money needs to be freed up for businesses big and small. Small shops and large corporations need to see healthy profits again so they can hire more employees, instead of running a tight ship.

    P.S. I’m not a huge sports fan, I could really care less. However, I do think it builds a camaraderie among people and I’m always encouraging sports with my students.

    1. I’m just wondering whether there are going to be a lot of Lebron love children running around Miami, b/c you know the temptations are high there!

      Sports definitely helps students build character, self-esteem, and camaraderie. It’s like music, orchestra, debate teams, whatever. Sports is in my mind so important a tool to help children mature and become good people.

  11. While I wasn’t surprised, I was sad Lebron decided to leave his hometown. I’m not a big Cavs fan, but I am a big Cleveland fan (Indians and Browns) and we have had too many big players leave us out in the cold. At least he didn’t leave for more money.

    I can’t blame him though, I left my hometown and moved south for better job opportunities and weather as well :-)

  12. @ Little House

    i agree that creating a bunch of govt jobs isnt the right solution for unemployment. but where is profitability going to come from? in the end i think it comes from consumers having buying power. not sure where we’ll get that from.

    that aside, if i had a HUGE pile of cash, wouldn’t it be simpler for me to stuff it into paper assets and earn dividend income? i don’t have the US tax code memorized but whenever I do my taxes, I know the “qualified dividends” get treated more favorably. so maybe it’s an issue of restructuring our tax code so it actually gives the incentive for innovation and job creation, rather than putting it in the financial markets. (i’m thinking from an individual perspective, not if i were a corporation).

      1. Sam,

        “earning 4% on $1mil” – you just described my retire-at-30 scenario! of course, i envisioned this when i was 20, and in the years since then, i still want my millions at 30 but i want to keep contributing more to society even after i’ve made my stash. i’ve got a few more years to figure it all out :-)

        1. Sounds like a good plan to me! Stay the course, and make sure you have “lock down money” so that even if the economy falls off a cliff like it did in 2008-2009, you’re still wealthy. Besides, if you win the super rounds in Jeopardy, you might get there instantly!

  13. I love your personal finance angle to this hoopla lol.

    The ability to save millions in taxes a year and live in Miami and play with Chris and Dwayne is a no brainer!

    Who would want to play in NYC with 13% state+city taxes! Forget that suckers! New York can go spend millions and fail again!

  14. Excellent points about weather and the absence of state income tax in FL.

    All that being said, Lebron is essentially admitting that he is not a Jordan/Duncan alpha-dog who can lead a team to a title, so for all his physical gifts and ability to post a triple-double on command, I’m not sure he can be mentioned in the same breath as the all-time greats. But that’s the argument of me the sports fan, not me the personal finance thinker!

  15. Well I am a Michigan State alum, and I imagine Izzo would have been quite ticked had he gone to Cleveland and Lebron bolted. (Unless he truly would have stayed if Izzo coached.)

    I am almost turning apathetic toward our economy as a whole. Since I live in a suburb Detroit, I think I probably feel more dismal than most because it is just so depressing here. (We also got to enjoy the great political genius Kwame Kilpatrick..)

    By the way, I never believe a President’s promises. See how jaded I am?

    1. Poor Byron Scott, the new Cleveland head coach! Byron is totally screwed! I love Dan Gilbert (Cav’s owners) e-mail rant. That was the best!

      Good to never believe. That way, there’s only upside!

  16. i have never ever liked sports; which is weird because i am not in any way over weight. I am actually in very good shape but i have never had an interest in team sports like b-ball or football or any other -ball. I prefer a good run once in a while. As for watching games, the thrill of watching politicians play them all day and then turn on the sports channel and watch more of it wore off. I just think there are better things to do(i hope i am not stepping on people’s toes) like read a book or something.

    1. Not stepping on anyone’s toes there mate. To each their own!

      I just think sports is such a big part of Americana. If one doesn’t follow or play sports, one misses out on a lot of banter, relationship building, and camaraderie.

      The more joys we have in life, the better!

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