LeBron and Ron look to re­de­fine le­ga­cies

Sport360 - - News - By Jas Asser b @Jay_Asser * jayasser@sport360.com

We’ve seen not one, but two po­ten­tial GOATs (great­est of all-time) in their re­spec­tive sports switch teams this sum­mer.

Be­fore the ink even dried on LeBron James’ sparkling new deal with the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers, Cristiano Ron­aldo cre­ated seis­mic waves by leav­ing Real Madrid for Ju­ven­tus on Tues­day.

Both megas­tars be­ing on the move in the same month is the sports equiv­a­lent of catch­ing a so­lar eclipse. It’s pos­si­ble we may never see a bas­ket­ball or foot­ball player reach the heights LeBron and Ron­aldo have ever again, let alone wit­ness them choos­ing new homes at the same time.

As if it wasn’t serendip­i­tous enough, LeBron and Ron­aldo are also the same age (33) and at sim­i­lar points in their ca­reers.

Their very best days may be be­hind them, but they re­main in­sti­tu­tions unto them­selves, still more than ca­pa­ble of be­ing the tides that lift all boats, on and off the play­ing field.

In Ron­aldo’s case, Ju­ven­tus ap­pear to be tak­ing more of a risk, mostly due to the Serie A record trans­fer fee of 100 mil­lion they’ve splashed to ac­quire the reign­ing Bal­lon d’Or win­ner.

It’s a mas­sive sum, but one that could be re­paid through en­dorse­ments and spon­sor­ship money gar­nered by Ron­aldo’s pres­ence.

Sim­ply put, The Old Lady are buy­ing pres­tige.

That’s not some­thing the Lak­ers are lack­ing, but it had been ly­ing dor­mant be­fore LeBron’s ar­rival fol­low­ing five straight los­ing sea­sons.

One player on a bas­ket­ball court can also have more of an im­pact than one player on a foot­ball pitch, and with LeBron com­ing off ar­guably his great­est sta­tis­ti­cal sea­son yet, the Lak­ers are guar­an­teed a mas­sive im­prove­ment in a way Ju­ven­tus aren’t.

Ul­ti­mately, both will ben­e­fit their new teams in a way that’s ex­pected and un­quan­tifi­able.

What’s more in­ter­est­ing is why they’ve cho­sen to go down their re­spec­tive paths.

Both are leav­ing sit­u­a­tions tailor-made for them – Ron­aldo de­part­ing ar­guably the big­gest club in the world and one that has won the past three Cham­pi­ons League crowns; LeBron wav­ing good­bye to his home­town team (for the sec­ond time) where he ful­filled his des­tiny by bring­ing a much-cov­eted ti­tle, thus making him a God-like fig­ure.

Nei­ther have much, if any­thing, left to prove. But there is a sense of un­der­ly­ing pride for both men.

Ron­aldo re­port­edly felt un­der­val­ued by Madrid president Florentino Perez, who ap­par­ently didn’t do enough to keep the face of the club happy.

Feel­ing loved and, maybe more im­por­tantly, re­spected, is some­thing legends of Ron­aldo and LeBron’s ilk crave.

LeBron has had his own fall­ing out with a pow­er­ful fig­ure at his team, with Dan Gil­bert draw­ing his ire after the Cava­liers owner made dis­parag­ing re­marks fol­low­ing James’ first exit back in 2010.

It’s un­likely the re­la­tion­ship with Gil­bert was the main rea­son why LeBron left this time around, but his pride is cer­tainly on the line after los­ing to the Golden State War­riors three of the past four years with no end in sight while ream­ing in Cleve­land.

Per­haps more than any­thing, both Ron­aldo and LeBron are em­brac­ing a new chal­lenge that has the po­ten­tial to ex­pand their legacy. Th­ese aren’t first steps to re­tire­ment, they’re moves to flex their un­de­ni­able power and so­lid­ify their stature.

What else would you ex­pect from two ath­letes nearly as big as their sports?

Whole new ball game: LeBron James.

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