Last night, Lebron James, the two-time NBA MVP, announced his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat.
Anyone who followed the controversy over LeBron James realized two things: Even with him on the team, the Cavaliers possessed neither the ability nor the heart to get to a championship and win. Secondly, as soon as he got an offer he wouldn’t refuse, he’d be gone.
Now that both situations have come true, there’s a lot of anger among Cleveland fans. I’m a football fan myself, having been a faithful follower of the Cleveland Browns for 46 years. Basketball is not my favorite sport. It’s the principle. What transpired was craven behavior on the part of a beloved athlete.
It’s not just what James did, it’s how. He conducted a three-ring media circus with himself as the main attraction. He disrespected Cleveland on national T.V. and did not have the courage or conviction to face the fans or the owner, Dan Gilbert. He was not straightforward. He chose instead to broadcast his message from the comfort of an ESPN studio. Then he fled down to Miami where Pat Riley met him at the airport and whisked him away to a hotel. Nice touch, LeBron.
Gilbert posted this letter on the Cav’s website, which clearly sums up the feelings in Cleveland:
Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.
Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.
The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.
There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.
You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
You have given so much and deserve so much more.
In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”
You can take it to the bank.
If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.
Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.
Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.
This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.
But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.
The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
Sleep well, Cleveland.
Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….
I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:
DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….
We all realize that sports is a “business”, but the trouble is, fans and local business owners also have a financial stake in their team, and they get shafted the worst. Vendors, restaurants, pubs, and parking lots, take a big hit when a star player or a team leaves town. The whole industry surrounding a sports team has an investment in the business and the effects are economically devastating.
Gilbert is right about James quitting. I watched those playoff games with the Celtics. He played like shit. You could tell his mind, heart, and body simply weren’t in the game. Much of the blame rests on him. Having said that, one player does not a team make. You need a supporting cast to assist and step up when you falter.
As for his new team, the Miami Heat: He took his unfinished business to a team that has only won a single championship, back in the 2005-2006 season. The lure was the signing of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who will be his teammates. A warning to Miami: We Cleveland fans know all about hyperbole and the high hopes attached to newly acquired athletes. Tim Couch comes to mind. We’re also painfully aware of getting this close to a championship, only to watch in total disbelief as the chance slipped away with one fatuous mistake on the part of a coach or player. This is not the first time a well-liked player (or team owner) has abandoned our town. Unfortunately, we’re old hands at this. Even after all that, we still believe that if you give loyalty, appreciation, and support to a team, you’re supposed to receive it in return.
As for the Cavaliers and our other Cleveland sports teams, maybe this will serve as a catalyst for the determination to fill our teams with the athletes who will bring us our long overdue championships.
Lebron James has moved to Miami, taking his ego and self-promotion with him.
Good luck Miami; you’ll need it.