Don't mention the name LeBron James in Cleveland.
He was once the pied piper of the area, destined to lead a downtrodden city into basketball glory as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but now, well, let's just say many in Cleveland are no longer fans.
On July 8, James held a national press conference to announce he was leaving the city to go play for Miami and many reacted angrily. Today, The New York Times has a story discussing how Cleveland is faring since the "break-up":
"This community has been battered around a lot in the last 30 years, a lot of it unfairly starting with the Johnny Carson jokes on down," said David Gilbert, the president and chief executive of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. "When things go good, people are very willing to jump in and be part of what's going on here and it's great," he added. "But when things go bad, I think people take it even more personally than they might in other communities."
The extremely talented player grew up in Akron and was going to bring cash (from ticket sales) and glory to a city known as the "Mistake on the Lake" that was voted the Most Miserable City in the US this year by Forbes Magazine.
LeBron was right to leave, even though it broke the hometown's heart. And here's why:
- He's a team player: He's more likely to win a championship this way. He has the individual accolades, but what he wants is a championship. He's to be commended for recognizing that his talents are as a team player, not as a Michael Jordan-type solo star.
- Where would you rather live? Cleveland suffers greatly. The New York Times calls the city "a region that is both proud and sensitive, a combination that does not always mix." An entire city with an inferiority complex isn't exactly a fun place to disco or play ball. Let's face it, Miami Beach is a better place to live, especially with oodles of cash and fame.
- He was a big fish in a small pond: Cleveland was lucky to get him in the first place. Had they not had the number one draft pick in 2003, he would have gone elsewhere back then. The guy has a right to go where he wants. It's his career.
- The owner is a d-bag: Dan Gilbert, who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, wrote an open letter to LeBron accusing him of betrayal and desertion and all sorts of terrible things. He was fined for his letter, but seriously, would you want to work for a man who treats his employees so coldly after giving him so much? Private disappointment is one thing, but making it public like that only proves that the man is a psycho boss.
- It's about business, not loyalty: Loyalty is so overrated. Had he stayed, he may have been loyal, but his career could have stagnated and he might never have won the championship he wants so badly.
Were you angry when LeBron left Cleveland?