I decided to split the LeBron James story up in two parts. Today, I’ll write about LeBron leaving Cleveland. The second part, my thoughts on the telecast of “The Decision” will be in my next blog.
It’s was all about promoting his “name” brand (the prime-time “special”) and about business (signing with Miami).
Fans get too emotionally invested in stuff like this, and in return, they become irrational. LeBron’s decision was about what was in the best interest for him, not for Cleveland. It’s natural for fans to be upset or gleeful. But, in the case of Iowa State fans on my Juice blog when Greg McDermott left for Creighton, fans go overboard and emotionally take it out on whomever aggrieved them.
I want to feel sorry for Cleveland fans, but I can’t. They knew that there was a likelihood that James wasn’t coming back. Remember Adrian Wojnarowski’s article I posted on Thursday?
James never shared that town’s (Cleveland’s) angst with the Browns and Indians. He wanted winners in his life, and rooted for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees. He doesn’t feel the pain of a city’s broken heart. Shaquille O’Neal(notes) leaving the Orlando Magic for the Los Angeles Lakers 14 years ago was a hard hit, but LeBron bailing on Cleveland is far more devastating on a different level.
Everyone ridicules Cleveland, makes it a butt of jokes, but LeBron James has the chance to change all of that. And even then, it has to crush Cleveland’s sporting psyche that James could still walk out. If one of our own won’t stay, what does that say to the rest of the country?
-Adrian Wojnarowski, “State of LeBron: Live at 9, his ego”, Yahoo Sports, July 7, 2010
What’s Cleveland known for? Winning teams or agonizing losses?
–“The Shot” (Michael Jordan’s series-winning shot over Cleveland’s Craig Ehlo)
–“The Catch” (Willie Mays’ over the shoulder catch of Vic Wertz’s hit in Game 1 of the ’54 World Series killed Cleveland’s momentum and they got swept by the Giants)
–The 1997 World Series (Edgar Renteria’s GW hit off of Cleveland’s Jose Mesa aka “Joe Table”)
Maybe this will help joggle your mind:
Yeah, that’s why LeBron decided loyalty wasn’t going to win him a title. He had several chances in Cleveland and fell short. LeBron didn’t pick New York either. The Knicks picked up Amare Stoudamire, but the Knicks have too many holes in their roster and the pressure to win a title right away was too much for him to shoulder.
Kevin Garnett found out the hard way about loyalty. He was never going to win a title in Minnesota. No matter how much loyalty he gave to the Timberwolves. Owner Glen Taylor and GM Kevin McHale didn’t see the need to build a better roster around Garnett.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s inability to get top-of-the-line stars to surround LeBron was also a major part of this decision. Do you think LeBron appreciates having B-/C+ talent around him and he has to bail them out all of the time? Plus, it also doesn’t help when the gossip mills were churning over the rumors that fellow teammate Delonte West was getting busy with LeBron’s mom.
LeBron was best suited to go to Miami, where he had the best chance of winning a NBA title, with a championship veteran in Dwayne Wade and a budding superstar in Chris Bosh.
Remember the Lakers? A superstar in Shaquille O’Neal, a budding superstar in Kobe Bryant, and role players like Rick Fox and Derek Fisher garnered three NBA titles. Michael Jordan had sidekick extraordinaire Scottie Pippen, rebounding savant Dennis Rodman, cagey vets like Ron Harper and Steve Kerr. The Bulls won 6 NBA titles.
Mo Williams, Antwan Jamison, Anderson Varejao, and a bunch of scrubs isn’t going to help a superstar win a NBA title.
LeBron James was not going to win a title in Cleveland or in New York. New York’s still picking up the pieces from the disastrous reign of Isaiah Thomas. Dan Gilbert sold a bill of empty promises. He can rip LeBron in that letter he sent out, but don’t buy Gilbert’s promise that the Cavaliers will win a title without James.
There’s no way in hell that will ever happen. Not in Cleveland.