Suck it up Cleveland

Cavalier fans are a little bit more than upset over the departure of Lebron James

The Dream team, 3 musketeers, the Lone Wolf finally getting a wolf pack. It doesn’t matter to Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh what you call them, but what does matter is that it is now official that the big 3 will be joining forces down in South Beach after James announced his decision last night live on ESPN.

Cleveland sports fans, who have endured so much heartbreak, were devastated to hear that Lebron James would not be re-signing with his home town team. In an open letter to Cavs fans, owner Dan Gilbert referred to Lebron James’ decision as a “cowardly betrayal,” which I’m sure is a statement that many Cleveland fans would agree with right now. However, I’m wondering why anyone would expect anything less from the man who features a tattoo that reads ‘CHOSEN1?’ Lebron James is a jerk. Always has been, always will be, and that is something that NBA fans are going to have to accept.

It’s amazing how many Cleveland fans were so delusional to so strongly believe that Lebron James was going to re-sign with the Cavaliers. There was obviously a chance of it happening, but it should not have been such a shock when he chose to play elsewhere. The city of Cleveland is whining like little babies but the whining is hardly justified.

I hear it over and over and over again that if Lebron had any loyalty he would have chosen to stay in the only city that he has ever known and lived in. That Lebron should finish what he started in Cleveland, and bring the city a championship.

Are Cleveland Cavalier fans trying to say that they are 100% loyal fans and support their team and players under any circumstance? It sure seems that way.

My question is what happens in the future when Lebron James loses a step in his game and is no longer the same dominant player that he is currently is. Can you say to yourself that you would give him your unwavering support?

Loyalty goes both way folks, and it is seen so often in sports where home fans turn on their previously beloved players. Donovan Mcnabb was pretty much shown the door in Philadelphia after he has given so much to that Eagles franchise. Where is the loyalty? Green Bay fans now despise Brett Favre after he “left” their team to continue his career even when it was the Packers who wanted him to step aside for Aaron Rodgers. Vancouver Canuck fans were quick to throw Markus Naslund under the bus for his many flaws once his game started to decline a bit.

Furthermore, where is the loyalty when fans are booing their team just because they are not playing their fans’ standards? Don’t give me the garbage that fans deserve to boo their own team because that’s their job, they paid to be at the game and that players make millions of dollars. Unless your team is not putting any effort in I cannot fathom why any fan believes that booing their own team will do any good towards helping their team win games. As a person how would you feel if your so called loyal fans were booing you when you are putting forth your best effort?

Cavs fans are not happy that their latest toy is being taken away

Sports fans treat their players like little kids do with toys. You love ‘em when they’re new, exciting and the best thing out there, but you want to get rid of them when they’re old and no good to you anymore.

I also wonder if people are naive or just too stupid to realize that sports is a business just like anything else. It seems obvious…right?

No player owes anything to any city or team. Lebron James had 7 outstanding years for the Cleveland Cavaliers while he was under contract. He brought them to the NBA finals once and had 2 MVP seasons. Yes it is about time he won a championship, but obviously he feels that he has a better chance to win one in Miami.

Here’s a news flash for everyone. You don’t own your players.

Vince Carter was once the talk of the town in Toronto

Let me pitch out two scenarios and you tell me which one you would rather have. What is a worse feeling for a team? Having your franchise player demand a trade while he is still under contract or have him leave as a FREE agent. As a Raptor and a Canuck fan I have felt the pain of having your franchise player demand a trade prematurely. Vince Carter just stopped trying in his effort to be traded and Pavel Bure flat out refused to play. Once they moved teams they both decided it was time to play again and of course play at an extremely high level. Vince Carter averaged 27.5 points a game in his first half-season with the Nets and Pavel Bure had 58 and 59 goals with the Florida Panthers in two consecutive years.

This was never the case with Lebron James as he had two MVP awards in his final two seasons with the Cavaliers. Lebron James left as a free agent, which means that he has no obligation to his former team for those of you who don’t understand.

I think another fact that is overlooked by people is that this is a once in a forever opportunity for Lebron, Bosh and Wade. When does anyone have the opportunity to play with two of his good friends who also happen to be a couple of the NBA’s elite? This is something that is unprecedented and may never be done again. It seems to me that it would be pretty difficult to pass up on an opportunity like this.

It also should be said that the criticism that Lebron James is getting is not fair at all. It is not the amount of criticism that is unfair but it is the way it is being presented. No matter what choice that Lebron made he would have been ridiculed by some. This was a no win situation for James.

Michael Rosenberg wrote an article for Sports Illustrated yesterday that focused on Lebron taking the easy route by choosing Miami. However, he also says in the article that he thought Lebron was going to stay in Cleveland because he thought that all he cared about was the adoration. So basically he is implying that if Lebron had chosen Cleveland he would have written an article about why Lebron James only cares about being the ‘man’ and wants people to worship him and only him. However, because Lebron chose Miami, Rosenberg decided to write about Lebron finding the easiest route to an NBA championship.

Way to contradict yourself.

I don’t see anything wrong with putting on an hour-long special to announce his decision. Sure it’s selfish and egotistical, but unlike other fans, this is what I expect from LBJ. The NBA loved this special, it created a different kind of hype that the sport probably won’t see again for a long time.

What I didn’t like though about the entire free agent ordeal was the way Lebron gave so many fans a false hope and kept them dangling for so long. Whose to say that those 3 hadn’t decided long ago that they were going to team up and that this whole process was just a big charade? If that is the case then I do see a lot of things wrong with the hour-long special, but until that story comes out I am completely fine with it.

In the end though, the fact of the matter is that only one team was going to happy, and the other teams would be snubbed. That was never going to change.

There is a big distinction between life and sports and we have to be able to differentiate the two from each other. Although, I do know that Lebron James is dead in some of the eyes Cleveland fans. Lebron leaving Cleveland for Miami is not on the same level as losing your job or having a close family member die.

Stop crying and just suck it up Cleveland.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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About Chris Ross
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47 Responses to Suck it up Cleveland

  1. I agree Cleveland needs to get over it but I also think that they’re mad not because he went to Miami (most reports said that he was going there before he announced it) but it was the way that he did it. That special was a farce and that’s what’s really hurting his reputation right now. I was embarrassed for Lebron after watching that wreck.

  2. Rafael Uehara says:

    Good post Chris. You sure make a nice point about how people only look to the part that interests them. James mishandled the situation badly. That said, the franchise mishandled his stay there badly too. Consequences. Only think the town, and maybe the fans too, derserved better than everything that just happened.

  3. jdiscover says:

    I’m not sure what an athlete owes to their team or what fans owe to their local team. What is clear to me is that LeBron as his tattoo reads is only focused on “The Chosen One.” Check out my thoughts at jdiscover.wordpress.com

  4. Will Law says:

    Definitley agree. Like that last point alot. Like what if LeBron wasn’t active in the community or anything. No one is mentioning how he donated all the money from the ads last night to the Boys and Girls Clubs. Sorry Cleveland…

  5. There’s such a thing as a social contract. LeBron had one with Cleveland. You can’t sue to collect on it, you can’t sue for breach of contract, but that’s beside the point.

    Yes. LeBron is an arrogant narcissist. Yes. Dan Gilbert enabled LeBron and then turned on him. Yes (hypocritically) Cleveland fans would’ve been as happy to see LeBron return as they were angry to see him go.

    But here’s the thing, IMO, you answer for your own conduct and your own standards, not someone else’s.

    As a human being with (theoretically) a conscience, James owed Cleveland something, regardless of the conduct of Cleveland fans, Dan Gilbert, or anyone else.

    http://roadsidenotes.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/did-lebron-owe-cleveland-anything/

  6. soivis says:

    Chris-

    Nice take on the Lebron-a-thon. I have all but given up on basketball…they have eliminated the relevance of college and the game is weaker today than it was 20 years ago.

    Thanks again for the comment on my blog. I will tab yours as a favorite!

    Howard Freedland

  7. laurenmichelesvent says:

    You make a VERY GREAT POINT about which one is worst…him leaving in free Agency or whinning and complaning while still under contract and cease putting forth any effort because he’s unhappy. It happens far too often…look at the Albert Haynesworth situation with the Redskins?! I think that would have been way worse. and what do they want from the man? His blood? When it’s time to go it’s time to go. I feel cleveland being upset, but yes, by Monday though…i’m going to need them to move on and not vandalize anymore property. lol

  8. venuist says:

    I think that the best point to be made is that he aimed lower than we all hoped he might. Whether you wanted him to rep his home town or wanted — like me — to see him take a huge market, the HEAT and playing Pippen to DWade was a colossal disappointment.

  9. elizabeth1011 says:

    Great post & great points! I definitely enjoyed reading your thoughts on the whole situation. I think the Cleveland fans went a bit extreme as far as burning jerseys and stuff… Do you know how much Jersey’s cost!? Like $65 bucks… It’s a recession people! Hahaha… Just kidding. But in all seriousness, by being a free-agent Lebron had every right to choose whatever team he wanted to play for. Sure it would’ve been nice to see him win a chip in his home state, but he did give him 7 good years. Now he’s South Beach bound where he’ll surely win a championship or two along the new “big 3.”

  10. footballpundit says:

    While you do make valid points, you’re overlooking the sports history of Cleveland. This is the city that’s suffered through the drive, the shot, Red Right 88, Art Modell winning a Super Bowl after leaving, and Jose Mesa in Game 7.

    LeBron had damn near messianic status in Cleveland, given his absurd talent and skillset, the Cavaliers winning the lottery the year he was available to draft, and the the fact that he was “home grown.” It seemed like he was destined to end the 56 year title drought.

    So when he dumps the one and only city he’s ever known in his entire life for the glamor, glitz, and chance to win a title somewhere else, you’ll have to acknowledge that Cleveland has every right to feel jilted.

    No matter how much we want to deny it, our emotions are tied into sports, and LeBron broke Cleveland’s heart.

    thefantasyfootballpundit.com

  11. forbus says:

    Lebron chose was was beneficial fr him and him alone. Last i checked he’s the one on the court.
    #2. Its a goddamn sport. I look at it like this….”Dat dude makes more money than me. Whether or not I agree with his decision he’s not giving me $25k…fuck them”

    #3 I understand it’s Cleveland….whats in Cleveland….if the focus is a single man….then geez. some people just need to get their priorities in order. Lebron is NOT the NBA.

  12. djepperson says:

    I’m with you. This was a big, big no-win situation for LeBron. There was no getting around it, and really, I have yet to hear anyone tell me how they would have preferred that announcement be handled in a way that wasn’t going to disappoint 5 different media markets.

    It’s going to be very interesting how the LeBron story develops from here. Do we finally start to reset the stage for the kind of drama we saw with the Knicks and the Pacers?

  13. all good points. I still think it is a bad bad decision and as a Communication Expert, a decision that was communicated very poorly. One mistake we all made is that we believed that LeBron was the alpha dog He is not. At times he talked like the alpha dog but he did not lead like the alpha. He is going to Miami to give up his leader status and become one of the pack. Nike didn’t pay 90million for one of the pack. As someone who coaches leaders in my profession, I had the a–ha moment that he does not want the pressure, he does not want the ball in the last two seconds. he is willingly giving that up to WIN. FUNNY thing, he could have won if he showed up in game 5 or 6.
    took advice from gloria? the mother who almost got him kicked out of BB in his senior year due to Hummer gate? he is a kid and this time he does not get an Oscar for acting like an adult.

  14. Forbus says:

    One more thing….Kobe and the Laker’s just won their 5th Championship…….Ya’ll clamoring over the dude who havent even won one?

    That’s like dismissing Eminem’s sale of 7 million the 1st week for Drake’s 1st album…

    Fuck outta here

    • 2 Guys, 1 Blog says:

      You know Forbus I completely feel where you’re coming from. I never liked Kobe, but you can’t deny that the guy is a winner. He doesn’t make a big deal out of it, he just goes out and wins. Lebron wants to be a celebrity, and he knows to become a bigger celeb he needs rings. Kobe just wants to win, and that’s why he already has one handful of rings.

  15. Nobodysview says:

    Chris, thanks for your comments at http://nobodysview.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/cleveland-cavaliers-owner-dan-gilbert-rips-lebron-james-maybe-it-should-have-been-david-stern/

    I like your take there (and here!). I think a lot of this comes down to how it all played out. In other words, I think James may have had his mind made up and then dragged it out. And really, there was only one way this was going to end: One happy team and then enough sour grapes to make a million bottles of wine (see Dan Gilbert’s open letter at the Cavs’ website).

    I’ve been a Cleveland sports fan my whole life (argh!) and I can understand how the folks there must feel. But in the end, I guess it does come down to business over loyalty, and I think last night’s ESPN “special” was just a symptom of a spreading sports virus.

  16. Hey Chris!

    First of all, I’d like to thank you for your comment on my post concerning this same issue. I don’t typically write about sports unless it’s something that really stays on my mind – Naturally, LeBron’s decision is fresh on EVERYBODY’S mind. Secondly, I REALLY enjoyed reading this! You make some STRONG, valid, and undeniable points!

    I really enjoyed your take on Loyalty and comparing a fans admiration of a player to a new toy. It reminds me that I should make the choices I make (as LeBron did) for ME, and not simply for the sake of others. The bottom line, no matter what you do in life, is that sometimes you’re ahead, and sometimes you’re behind – in the end, the race is only with yourself.

    I think a lot of people see LeBron as an invincible. He isn’t. I think people know that for the most part, but to this point, LeBron hasn’t really given us any reason to believe that he ISN’T some kind of invincible. He’s had a shockingly healthy career for the kind of player that he is, I don’t think anyone can deny that. Let’s say he stays in Cleveland and has a season-ending injury (God forbid). Would the fans of Cleveland be so content with their “broken toy?” Excellent analogy my friend!

    This comment is becoming a blog post all in itself so I’d better not carry on too much longer. Just wanted to mention, as you did, that I don’t think Dan Gilbert’s response was a very classy one…at ALL. Listen. You’re the OWNER of this franchise. Show some respect to the man that single-handedly ressurected not only your franchise, but the entire city of Cleveland. Have your own personal thoughts about LeBron, but as the Owner of this team, when it comes to speaking publicly about LeBron’s move – wish him the best, and then focus on the days ahead instead of what is now behind you, and the city.

    Oh, and GUARANTEEING that your now LeBron(less) Cavaliers are going to win a championship before the heat? Yikes. BAD move. Not even your own city is willing to back you on that. Talk about putting unesscessary pressure on your franchise…espcially after all of this.

    Alright, I’m finished. Again, thanks for the post, I hope to see more comments from you in the future!

  17. tcoley91 says:

    I agree that Cleveland is taking this a little too hard. The Cavs owner also needs to chill out, since he claims he never helped the team win – it’s kinda hard to do when you trading players off left and right.

    At the same time, LeBron is responsible. To be a superstar, no scratch that, the be in the same air as the greatest player alive, you have to push everyone to be as good as they can be. LeBron clearly doesn’t have that instinct to want it all, to push himself and everyone in that organization to reach their 150%.

    Why would he have to do that? Because that’s what the greatest basketball player would do.

    I’m not hating on LeBron joining Wade and Bosh, I don’t hate the guy at all. But it’s apparent that he doesn’t have the qualities to be considered one of the best players ever. He’s one of the best right now, but that’s not saying much in my opinion.

  18. 2 Guys, 1 Blog says:

    Hey this is a great article man. You know I completely agree that Cleveland fans as well as Dan Gilbert are a bunch of whiners. I don’t think that the Cavs deserved Lebron to be honest, and I think if you are willing to condemn your hero 1 second after he decides to find a better team, you were never a fan to begin with. Although personally, I know Lebron wants his name in lights, and he knows that the only way to upgrade from billboards to blimps is by winning championships. I just wish that he could make this decision without hijacking ESPN.

    • Jacob says:

      “I think if you are willing to condemn your hero 1 second after he decides to find a better team, you were never a fan to begin with.”

      Don’t think I could’ve said it any better myself – well put.

  19. chappy81 says:

    I couldn’t agree more. The pity party in Cleveland is pathetic. I’ve been a Warriors fan my whole life, and we trade away great talent for crap every year or two. I’m now waiting for Anthony Randolph to be huge in NY, and David Lee to jump on the injury report because that’s just how we roll….

    Anyways, Lebron is conceded like none other. I’m thinking it’s good for him to get out of Cleveland so maybe he’ll actually be around a few people that will actully put him in his place instead of sucking off the power nipple. Either way, I’m rooting against Miami the same way I rooted against Cleveland, because he isn’t bigger than the game…

  20. Great Blog, I see that you and I both did blogs on LeBron, but then who didnt today, lol. I completely agree though. Cleveland just needs to move on. But that city has lost alot of great athletes. They seem to be able to keep them.

    http://helmetandpadsrequired.sportsblognet.com/

  21. websterstyle says:

    I totally agree with your assessment of the whole situation. He gave his all for Cleveland and at the end of the day he got an offer that he couldn’t refuse. Unfortunately the days of players staying with the same team that they were drafted to are over. As a fan its nice to romanticize that we are still live in the era of Magic, Bird, & Jordan but the reality of today’s NBA is a cold hard slap in the face.

    Personally I would have loved to see LeBron stay in Cleveland. I would have loved to see if he could actually get them a championship. Picture it: Hometown guy drafted by hometown team brings first championship. Its a great story! The stuff movies are made of.
    However the story of the new Triumvirate in James, Bosh, & Wade is fascinating. Everyone will defiantly be watching the Eastern Conference and the NBA as a whole even more feverishly than usual.

    Somewhere David Stern is laughing like Dr. Evil.

    BTW: Great Post

  22. Paul says:

    What you said about Vince Carter is spot on, Chris! There’s a big difference between dogging it to get out of a contract (Manny Ramirez’s last season in Boston, anyone?) — and winning two straight MVP awards on the way to unrestricted free agency. I don’t think LeBron’s as big a jerk as you think he is, but I can’t argue with much else you’ve got to say.

  23. sethrob says:

    Nice thoughts on the relationship between fans and athletes. Aside from a couple isolated incidents, Lebron gave Cleveland his best, and it’s not clear they gave him the same. Would they have been cheering him in another 7 years if there was no ring? There are good odds he would have been hated at some point, so might as well take the hit now.

  24. The Cool says:

    Very good points Chris and thanks for checking out my article! You have a very unique view on the situation and it is very true. Fans can be just as ruthless as players, and often more so. In my article when I said that LBJ owed his fans more then what he gave yesterday, I did not intend to refer to him staying or leaving Cleveland. Yes he has every right to leave, but after 7 years, no matter what you say/do, you owe your fans and your home town some dignity. That is far from a business decision; it is a personal and emotional one. Unfortunately Cleveland was delusioned in thinking James was more then egotistical jerk we (non-clevelanders) see him for. He didn’t owe them a new contract, but he did owe them a straight answer.

    Also had he stayed in Cleveland, yes he may have had a few articles on how he wanted money and how he wanted to be the hero of the state, but they would would have been few and far between relatively speaking. I don’t know, in my mind a true winner like MJ wouldn’t have done what he did yesterday.

    Regardless I’m interested to see what happens next year…

  25. Doric Sam says:

    Chris,

    First, thank you for your comment on http://dsamsports.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/lebrons-decision-and-what-it-means-for-the-nba/

    I enjoyed reading your take on this issue. Especially because you pointed out how rare of an opportunity it is to be able to win a championship with two of your best friends who also happen to be two of the most talented players in the league. I agree with your point that Cleveland fans are a bunch of whiners. But what else would you expect from a city that lost the only reason it had to remain relevant in the league and in the world of sports. Now that they lost LeBron they are just another city full of below average sports teams. I remember before they drafted LeBron it was it was hard to remember that the Cavs were even in the league. Now they will be forever identified as “The city that lost LeBron.” I do feel bad for their fans though. It must be very difficult to live in a city where each of its sports teams are the worst teams in their leagues. But eventually the Cavs will probably get the #1 pick once again and they will hope to draft the next “chosen one” and we will go through this all over again when he has the opportunity to leave the city because, like LeBron, he realized it is impossible to win in Cleveland.

  26. Pingback: Suck it up Cleveland « Basketball Outsider

  27. Matt says:

    LeBron owed the Cavs nothing. He made the right decision for himself, went to the Heat, and moved on.

    http://writemakesmight.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/in-defense-of-lebrons-decision/

  28. nikekvn says:

    You have don a great job! Thanks for sharing it!
    By the way, it is good to see you! O(∩_∩)O

  29. bamajj says:

    Good Post! Your are right. He is own man and can do whatever he wants to do. He doesn’t owe Cleveland anything. Would they hate him if he just up and retired in his prime because his heart was not with basketball anymore. (maybe a lil bit but less than they do now)

    http://www.lockthree.com

  30. silk555 says:

    Great Post, but one point cleveland fans keep missing….thru out NBA history you cant win a ring with one legit superstar. Look who birdplayed with,magic teams,duncans team,kobe didnt win until gasol came along i could go on and on. The point is the owner never really surrounded lebron with a strong support cast,

  31. debeck says:

    hey chris, nice post!
    i can dig what you’re saying about this being a ‘no win’ situation for james (ie, easy route in miami, uber-loyal/attention whore if staying in cleveland). that seems unfair, but that’s what happens to celebrities that get ‘too big’–people root for the downfall.
    and as for taking the rational approach when talking about cleveland’s reaction, you hit it on the head. the nba’s a business. lebron’s a hired gun, if he so chooses to be.
    silk555’s right–the owner didn’t do his job; go to a team with an owner that you know can (just look at miami’s finals team!)
    good stuff; gonna check out the post about chris bosh being “money in the bank”!

  32. Excellent blog! I love the “new toy” jab too! The name of this game is win championships Lebron gave himself the best chance to win a title and he betrayed Cleveland! I never heard him say that he would stay there forever.

    endofregulation.wordpress.com

  33. Nuno Barreto says:

    In my opinion when the Cavs owner says LeBron’s decision is a “cowardly betrayal” he is basically saying that he the Cavs are a worst team than Miami, which by the way still isn’t a great team. If he had made a good job surrounding James with players that could deliver in the playoffs maybe this wouldn’t have happened…

  34. It's For Dad says:

    Excellent post Chris. To back up your comments with substance that makes you say “yeah, that’s right huh?” provides an excellent opinion on the subject. I would put more weight in the opinions of people who are not part of the fan base or who have a direct stake in the team he chooses. Sure it will affect us later on at the end of Spring if Miami ends up playing against our favorite teams, but until then, LeBron did what he had to do to get what he desired most. To a man pursuing his dreams, I congratulate him!

    http://itsfordad.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/lebron-james-did-the-right-thing-for-himself/

  35. El says:

    Chris – first, thank you for commenting on http://beingfullypresent.com/2010/07/11/lebron-a-year-later/, I appreciate it!

    You make a great point about loyalty. It doesn’t just apply to Cleveland; it’s universal in sports. Fans expect their superstars to be loyal to them, the team and their city. Yet, when a key play is missed, a play-off game is lost, or even when someone is injured, the “boo-birds” come out quickly.

    I’ve heard some folks make the comparison to Derek Jeter – he stayed with his home town team. Yes, he did. But, he also had a great team around him, many superstar players, and they won several championships together. That’s all LeBron wants, too.

  36. ghostwriter says:

    Chris, this was a good thought provoking post. You addressed both sides of the Lebron-a-thon fairly and objectively. I especially enjoyed being reminded about the culture surrounding younger superstar athletes – how everything is pretty much a reality tv-show centered about self-promotion. In football, we saw how this negatively affected Terrell Owens’ career – and for all the parents using Lebron as a role model, you pray he doesn’t go this route – bouncing from team to team looking for that ring whilst capitalizing off his chances if he doesn’t. Whilst it’s his right to – esp since Free Agency encourages this – you don’t want to see a great athlete gamble on his legacy – Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning all failed at some point before finding success. I guess that’s whats frustrating about this entire Lebron situation – Cleveland enjoyed massive success during the regular season. I don’t fault Cleveland fans from venting right now tho – this situation reminds me of when Art Modell took his Browns and left town – that was heart wrenching as well.

    But not as heart wrenching as Netherlands losing the world up in the final minutes of overtime, so it’s true – Cleveland needs to suck it up – an entire nation just got their heart ripped out for another 100 years.

  37. Hey Chris,
    Nice post. I, like you, understand the decision made by LeBron and have no problem with him leaving Cleveland to join a once in a lifetime tandem. My issue is not with his decision, it is with how he made it into a ridiculous spectacle driven by his massive ego and ESPN’s dramatization of it all. The past 2 years all everyone has been talking about was NBA free agency in the summer of 2010, when LeBron would top the class of all-stars. Since then, major cities everywhere have been courting “the king” and begging desperately for him to rejuvenate their team (and revenue). The entire buildup to this process was unbelievable, with celebrities and even the President himself trying to win LeBron over. This all played into his ego and propped him up even more.

    Let’s not kid ourselves: LeBron, Wade, and Bosh hatched the idea to be future teammates during the ’08 Olympics in Beijing. It made sense for them to go to Miami because they had cap space and Wade became close with Bosh and got LeBron to join also. I don’t believe one second that LeBron “decided” the morning of the ridiculous ESPN special.

    If you’re as cynical as me, you believe LeBron has been planning this thing for years and just milked it as much as he could. As you said, why should we be surprised? LBJ is, and always will be a jerk. But what tipped me over the edge was spitting in the face of his hometown on national TV and not even telling the organization his plans. He might not owe the city anything, but he at least owes the decency to the Cavaliers organization and owner Dan Gilbert to leave his former employer in an amicable way. I can understand Gilbert’s anguish, knowing that LBJ didn’t respond to any calls or messages from him after the season ended.

    LeBron was huge in Cleveland, he might have meant more to that city than any other star in any city. For him to completely spurn his hometown fans, who once praised him as their savior, on ESPN in a pat-on-the-back one hour extravaganza and keep empty hope alive for Cleveland (not to mention the other cities) I saw as low class. I didn’t like him much before this, but I certainly lost any respect I had for him after this unbelievable show of egotism and arrogance.

    Once again, I don’t have a problem with LeBron leaving. It’s the classless way in which he conducted himself during this process. Sure, he’s a spectacular basketball star, and most people will only see him for that, but the self-appointed King has fallen far from his throne with this one in my opinion.

  38. really good post chris. i mean it is crazy how fans act sometimes, but Dan Gilbert really made a fool of himself. I mean, the man wasn’t under contract anymore, so why throw a fit.

    I feel bad for the city, since they can’t attract big time free agents, but maybe this will be a learning tool for them. if you draft another great player, and he ask for help, don’t bring him over the hill players to help in his quest for a championship. If the city wants to blame someone for losing Lebron, they just need to turn to their owner.

  39. Rob Barkman says:

    Great post, you are absolutely right, way too much is being made of this whole thing. And, yes, the fans and the Cavs, by treating him as if he was god are partially responsible for creating the monster he is today.

    I think the worst part of the whole mess is the selfish example he has set for the kids who are trying to be just like him. If we all made our decisions selfishly like him the world would be a far worse place. I tried to address this aspect of the whole thing in my blog entry: http://bit.ly/apCCLU

  40. Pingback: End of an Era

  41. vincemnairn says:

    You’re right in that loyalty should go both ways. Many Cavs fans weren’t fans before LeBron and aren’t anymore now that he left. As much as a lot of Cleveland fans worshiped LeBron, they were dumb enough to boo him when he struggled from the free throw line in 2006.

  42. dagamemasta says:

    its amazing that all my views and your views on your blog and mine completely contradict, but nonetheless, i think the perfect scenario was if lebron signed a 2 or 3 year contract, make it perfectly damn clear he wants HELP, and if the front office doesn’t deliver, then he an opt out in the third year. since mike brown and danny ferry and finally changing teams, why not take a small chance?

  43. The Phil says:

    I can’t fault LeBron for leaving, you have to do what’s best for yourself. But the way he left, with a one hour TV special? Come on, at least Art Modell left Cleveland in the middle of the night.

  44. Eileen says:

    I shared this post with my son and he emailed this to me: VERY good article. I still think Lebron is a douchebag but he had some excellent insight. He was dead on that Cleveland would have turned on him if his skills went down. Thanks for sending this!

    Your articles are well written and informative!

  45. I realize this is a little out of date, but as a lifelong Cavs fan I have to make a few comments. Unlike all of the Cavs fans who came out of the woodwork when LeBron joined the team, I have always stated that I don’t care for him. He is extremely arrogant and only focused on himself. But I would disagree with the statement that he didn’t owe anything to the fans of Cleveland. He owed them on thing, respect. Clevelanders and the Cavs organization supported him through the ups and downs, even when he didn’t deserve it. (Such as when he quit in the playoffs). So, how about you don’t go on national television and embarass an entire city? Or at least give the only team you have ever known the courtesy of a phone call before announcing your decision to the world? I know the kind of person LeBron is and wasn’t surprised by his decision, but I dont’ think it is wrong to expect some respect from someone who was so dearly loved by the Cleveland faithful. It is also different than most situations because LeBron was a hometown kid and was a part of the community before he became an NBA superstar.

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