Colin Cowherd: LeBron’s legacy was defined during his peak years, it won’t be during his final chapter

– I wonder if you ever thought about this. I grew up as a kid in a really rainy spot on the coast of Washington, truly wet. It’s very gloomy, fewer sun days, not Sundays like Saturday, Sundays, fewer sunny days than almost anywhere in the country. In fact, in my high school basketball league, we used to play a team called Forks. And it’s the wettest place in the continental United States. We played them one time at a high school football game. At halftime, we went and turned on the hot showers and just, in our jerseys, stayed in them. I mean, that’s the kind of weather I grew up in.

But I don’t remember it. I don’t remember rainy days. I remember the good days on my little motor scooter driving up and down the hills on Washington State, playing basketball with my friends. I don’t remember the rain. I really don’t. I know high school there was a bunch. But I grew up in the wettest part of the continental United States on the coast of Washington State. And I remember almost no rainy days. It seems to me I was always going to my friend Jack Jones’s house after school and playing hoops in his driveway. We were hanging out outside.

Why is that? Is that a protective mechanism? Does our brain do that to protect us? We don’t remember the dark and the sad and the painful. People go on Facebook and they pursue relationships that ended horribly. But you don’t remember that. You remember the good times. That’s why you keep going on ski trips with your kids, even though it’s mostly a headache. Because you remember that three or four minute drive up the hill, you get on the chair left, you’re going down watching your son, your daughter ski for the first time.

You don’t remember all the headache getting the equipment, renting the equipment, the cost, that drive home. They throw up. And I thinking about this with LeBron going to Los Angeles for the Lakers. I have had so many people say, you really think he would go to the Lakers? And I’m, like, well, what would the downside be? His legacy is set. He’s the second best player of all time. His only chance to be number one is to move and win a third title with a third team.

Then you get back to the goat argument. I mean, MJ went to the Wizards. That was a mess. Can you imagine a guy that was so great he went to three teams and won everywhere? What’s the downside? Because folks, you don’t remember Dominique Wilkins’ last year. He played for Orlando, five points a game. I say Dominique Wilkins, you just think of the dunks. Do you remember Shaq’s last year with the Celtics, 8 and 1/2 points a game? You don’t.

Kareem’s last year, all-time leading scorer averaged 10. Michael Jordan and the Wizards lasted several years. To me it’s a blur. I even saw him play live. It’s a blur. Magic’s comeback in ’95 or ’96 when he only started nine games. Listen man, if grandpa unravels in the last couple years, we remember the good grandpa, not the crazy, unhinged grandpa. We don’t remember the break-ups. We remember the good times.

Somebody once told me, you know why women have multiple babies? Because they can’t remember the pain. I don’t know if that’s true. But I’ve heard it before. But in life, everything’s sort of foggy, right? When you look back at your life, you don’t remember gloomy Tuesday. You don’t remember cloudy Wednesday. You remember that trip to Disneyland as a kid. If LeBron goes to LA and they don’t win, so? He’s going to be like all-time leader in this stat, that stat, this stat, that stat, that MVP, that final, that–

He won in Miami. He won in Cleveland. He went to LA. What’s the downside? He’s number two right now. You’re not going to remember Lakers that fizzles out after three years. Kobe’s last three years in Los Angeles, he stayed. And we celebrate his 60-point final game. Lakers were terrible Kobe’s last three years. But you think of it fondly. Do you remember Hakeem with the Raptors? I don’t. Patrick Ewing on the Sonics? I’ve got no recollection. Michael Jordan’s Wizard’s tenure? Foggy at best.

We assign an alternative ending to our reality. We forgive the final chapter when grandpa goes unhinged or when Michael goes to the Wizards. We just don’t want to remember it. And I always think, when I was a kid, I grew up in the wettest part of the United States. I don’t remember rainy days. Is it a protective mechanism? Is my mind wanting me to have positive memories? I don’t know how it works. But I just look at the history of all sports and all athletes. We are incredibly forgiving. So go for it.

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