LeBron James fans speak: What's next for the King?

Migs Bustos
FILE - BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 3: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands for the National Anthem before the game against the Boston Celtics on January 3, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

With the 2017-18 NBA Finals in the rearview mirror, the basketball world turns its attention to the biggest question regarding this year's free agency: Where will LeBron James go?

James has a player option that will determine if he stays with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers or not. Where can he go to have the best shot at winning a ring? Are there non-basketball reasons why he should or should not find himself on a new team?

Now, I'm sure you've talked about this topic with your friends, and I bet coming to a consensus was next to impossible. Just to broaden your perspective, I've talked with a few die-hard LeBron fans to get their insight on his next move, and how they continue to reckon with the man who sometimes goes by King James.

Alvin Morelos - Electrical Engineer/Entrepreneur

Describe your LeBron James fandom. How did it start?

"I have been a fan of LeBron ever since he was hyped during his high-school days as the next Michael Jordan. There were great players after Jordan, [like] Kobe, Tim Duncan and AlIen Iverson to name a few, but the hype surrounding LBJ, and the appeal of being the next Jordan made me idolize him.

LeBron James as the player he is, is very likable, with his great all-around game and the unique approach he brings, combining some of the traits, being a hybrid of Magic-Pippen-Jordan all in one player."

What are your thoughts on his career? Is he already the greatest or on the way to being that?

"At this point MJ still is the 'GOAT' and LeBron has a long way to go in topping [him]. But I believe LBJ has some more good years left in his tank and can play five more years of elite level basketball. If he gets to six championships, winning three more over the next 5-6 years, he can bag the title of 'Greatest Of All Time,' backed by ending his career as the number 1 scorer (despite not being known as a scorer), top-5 in assists, and top-10 in rebounds. Remember, being the GOAT takes a lot -  you need to be physically, mentally, and psychologically prepared for such a long period of time and LBJ will be remembered as being the only basketball player to do so."

Should he stay or should he go?

"LeBron should just stay and finish his remarkable career in his home state of Ohio. I think if team management can pull off a trade for another All-Star or two, without trading Kevin Love, their chances of being back in the Finals will still be high. It would be nice to see LeBron win another championship or two in Cleveland, and silence all of his critics by winning it [anew] for his hometown. I think if he winds up finishing his career there with a few championships, and finish as the number 1 scorer in NBA history, he can solidify his case as being the GOAT."

How has your faith in LeBron stayed strong through all the ups and downs?

"When you start idolizing a person or an athlete, you start to appreciate both the good and the bad. With LeBron, I'm just amazed with how he handled the adversity early in his career, to his lowest point, especially during the [2011] Mavs series, after “setting up” his team and failing to win in their first year, bouncing back and learning how to win by joining the Heat, then returning back to Cleveland, and performing at a higher level every year. It just shows his discipline, love and respect for the game by being at the top of his game at year 15, showing little to no flaws in his game."

2. Robin Gatmaitan - Entrepreneur

Describe your LeBron James fandom. How did it start?

"I started following LeBron James since 2003 when he got drafted. At first, I just had a good feeling about him, and I supported him instead of Carmelo Anthony that first year, but it developed into something true and bigger, almost to the point of a kinship towards the King."

What are your thoughts on his career? Is he already the greatest or on the way to being that?

"For me, LeBron James has already given us a full and very successful career. He has nothing more to prove, but the fact that he continues to push and perform at his highest every single season, despite his back against the wall most of the time, makes him truly one of the greatest to play, and for me personally, my greatest of all time. He is one of the most inspiring personalities out there, a great role model to kids and adults, and truly a one of a kind ambassador for the NBA and for the sport of basketball."

Should he stay or should he go?

"Stay. At this point, the Cavaliers roster doesn’t seem to be built for championship success, which makes this decision I’d say more difficult, but I believe LeBron can still draw high calibre talent to play with him for that next championship run. However, as a true LeBron fan, wherever he goes, I will continue to support him. In some way, that makes it fun to be a LeBron fan as well."

How has your faith in LeBron stayed strong through all the ups and downs?

"As a LeBron fan, the ups and downs are part of the journey. The down moments hurt but through the adversity, it has made all the successes even more amazing. I have all the reason to keep my faith in LeBron because he always seems to surprise his supporters, even in the most unsettling moments. After 15 years, I still find myself rooting for the same rookie I did in 2003, and I do look forward to seeing what he has up his sleeves for season 16 and beyond."

3. EJ Sabandal - Creative Director

Describe your LeBron James fandom. How did it start?

"I started rooting for LeBron during the 2003 NBA season, when I started collecting NBA trading cards. Since day one, people already had high expectations, that’s why he was called “The Chosen One”. And that’s why he earned a lot of haters and “nakaabang sa kanya.” For me as a collector, I became more inspired to acquire more of his memorabilia even during his “downs”.

It was an advantage for me when he lost to his first NBA Finals against the Spurs. In the trading cards or collections industry, maraming nagbitaw ng Lebron collections because they lost trust in LeBron, but I kept on buying because I would get it cheaper, especially the autographed items. "

What are your thoughts on his career? Is he already the greatest or on the way to being that?

"I believe he is the the greatest of his era, and the greatest all-around player of all time. It’s hard to compare him to other greats [but] I believe he is special. He has a combination of different skills of different greats. I believe winning the first championship in Cleveland made him great and other achievements are just bonuses."

Should he stay or should he go?

"As much as possible, I want him to stay but it seems like there is little effort from the Cavs management [to do this]. That’s why it’s better to find a team that will help him win more championships, or a team that will help him further cement his legacy. Personally I want him to go to LA because all of the great legends played for the Lakers. It has a bigger market also.

Or go to Philadelphia and be a mentor to young future superstars like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. By the time that Lebron gets a little older, Simmons and Embiid will be at their peak.

Last option is to play with Gregg Popovich [of the Spurs], with Kawhi and Aldridge. At least he will be mentored by an iconic coach before he retires."

How has your faith in LeBron stayed strong through all the ups and downs?

"My faith in LeBron strengthens more during his down moments. I will support him in all his plans. He is a great athlete, a great person to his community, a great son to his mom, a great family man, and a great role model to me. That’s why I know he doesn't only think of himself when it comes to his next decision.

We are blessed to witness his greatness. Let’s enjoy it while he’s playing."

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Will LeBron James stay in The Land, or find greener pastures elsewhere? One thing's for sure, no matter wher ehe goes, you cannot discount the hearts of die-hard LeBron fans. The support will never waver. Wherever he goes, whether or not he gets past three rings, for them, LeBron will always be their King.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or ABS-CBN Sports.

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