Friday, July 9, 2010

It's Over

I get it. While I don't think that Cleveland fans are justified in burning LeBron's jersey, I get it. In the words of Bill Simmons,
Cleveland fans will never forgive LeBron, nor should they. He knows better than anyone what kind of sports anguish they have suffered over the years. Losing LeBron on a contrived one-hour show would be worse than Byner's fumble, Jose Mesa, the Game 5 meltdown against Boston, The Drive, The Shot and everything else. At least those stomach-punch moments weren't preordained, unless you believe God hates Cleveland (entirely possible, by the way [My note: Michael Wittmer sure thinks so]). This stomach-punch moment? Calculated. By a local kid they loved, defended and revered.
With that said, I don't think that LeBron is a bad guy or that he had to stay in Cleveland (although I think one could make a decent argument for his moral obligation to remain a Cav). Cleveland wasn't a place where he could win a title, so I understand his desire to leave. He just shouldn't have left on national TV. It's like sending your girlfriend a link to a video on Youtube where you announce that you're starting a relationship with another woman. I don't think LeBron's a bad guy, I just think he's become too self absorbed and misguided. Again, I think Simmons was on target (emphasis mine),
...I don't think LeBron James has anyone in his life with enough juice to hurl his or her body in front of the concept of "I'm going to announce during a one-hour live show that I'm playing somewhere other than Cleveland." It's the best and worst thing about him -- he has remained fiercely loyal to his high school friends, but at the same time, he's surrounded by people his own age who don't stand up to him and don't know any better. Picking anyone other than Cleveland on this show would be the meanest thing any athlete has ever done to a city. But he might. Assuming he's not malicious, and that he's just a self-absorbed kid who apparently lost all perspective, that doesn't make him much different than most child stars who became famous before they could legally drink -- or, for that matter, Tiger Woods. That's just the way this stuff works. Too much, too fast, too soon. You don't lose your way all at once; just a little at a time. Then one day you look up and there's a TMZ photo spread with 15 of your mistresses, or you're agreeing to stab an entire city in the heart on a one-hour television show.
So I'm very disappointed in Lebron. But should I be? Isn't this the logical outcome when someone gets this much media and fan attention? Isn't this the only possible result in such a celebrity crazy society. I now see my own hypocrisy. I derided the way people went crazy over Paris Hilton, yet I've done the same thing with LeBron and his free agency. I couldn't get enough. I'm not saying that we need to completely ignore him, but we definitely focused way too much attention on one individual, a celebrity, even if he is exceptionally talented. While Lebron is accountable for his behavior, we certainly share in his guilt as enablers.


  1. I'm with you. I don't blame him for leaving. The Cavs have an obligation to build a contender around him, and they've failed pretty miserably. Fans often forget that the team has a responsibility to demonstrate loyaly to their superstars. The Celtics finally did it with Paul Pierce by getting Garnett and Allen. The Cavs failed to do the same.

    With that said, James created a circus that made the likes of Jordan and Bryant look classy. It was a desperate cry for attention and a pathetic display of immaturity (and I won't buy the "I raised money for a charity" line, he could have simply written a check if that's what he wanted to do).

    For the record, I actually still think Chicago made more sense. A team with both Wade and James sounds good, but I'm not sure how it'll actually work. Besides, if LeBron James is concerned about his legacy and his place in the history of the game, he'd been better off going where there would be no competition for #1. Then again, maybe he isn't as concerned about that as some are.

  2. Yeah, I never thought I'd agree with the words, 'James...made the likes of Jordan and Bryant look classy.'

    Yes Chicago would have made more sense. The team would compliment him better. If he wanted to win, he needed to come here. I'm not so sure how the Lebron+Wade combo will work out. It'll be interesting, but they're far from a lock to win a title. I still think that the Lakers have to be the favorites next year.

  3. I think Miami needs to 2 main things to round out their starting 5: a Kendrick Perkins like center (pure rebounding & defense) and a guard who's main job is simply to shoot.

    You don't necessarily need a traditional point guard. The Celtics won in the 80's with a backcourt of Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge, neither of whom were point guards. The Bulls won with B J Armstrong, John Paxson and Steve Kerr, none of whom were really point guards, either. Their main job was to shoot. Pippen probably handled the ball as much as anyone on that team.

  4. Yeah, we will see if they have the money to get those things. If Perkins doesn't get hurt, Boston might have won Game 7. I think they should (and will) use LeBron as the primary ball handler.

    The other question will be depth. Will they burn these guys out, there's no way they can have a decent bench with all of the money going to these guys? And what happens if one of them gets hurt?