A few words (or maybe more) about LeBron

In the days and hours preceding The Desaster, a common refrain emerged in response to widespread criticism of one of the most shameful media events of our time.

“If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”

That simple phrase — a less profane version of the message a certain fallen starlet painted above the cuticle on her middle finger — ignores the extent to which human nature factors into matters of this nature.

We had to watch it, whether we liked it or not.  It was a car accident.  A train wreck.  A solar eclipse.  A long, tall glass of funky, cold Medusa.

Since I gave in to the overwhelming desire to watch, I’ve been unable to shake an overwhelming desire to write about that which I saw, if only to make sense of an event that will leave us all feeling differently about professional sports from this point forward.

So even though this isn’t about professional football, if affects every American spectator sport in ways that won’t become apparent for a while, possibly for years.  For those of you who simply have no interest in the topic (or who have read plenty of takes from folks more qualified to talk about the subject than me), keep scrolling.  I’ve placed my specific observations after the jump.

1. Water skiing in a leather jacket.

At the PFT Twitter page on Thursday, I asked whether LeBron James, ESPN,
or both would be mimicking Arthur Fonzarelli’s shark-infested homage to
Evel Knievel.

ESPN arguably lost its credibility years ago, when the firewall between
the gathering of news and the generation of revenue exploded like a
firecracker.  But James lost something on Thursday night.   He no longer
seems special or different.  Both with his Decision and, more
importantly, the manner in which he went about communicating it, LeBron
has surrendered part of what made him unique in American sports.

Regardless of how many championships LeBron wins with the Heat, he’ll likely never
recover that.

2.  The revenge of Pete Rose.

Even before Darren Rovell of CNBC reported that Jim Gray was paid not by
ESPN but by LeBron’s camp to serve Seacrest-style softballs to the
King, Gray’s performance was memorable because it was so damn

We don’t need fancy words or metaphors to prove our point. As Andy
Bernard, Food Critic, would say, “This muffin . . . tastes bad.”

And Gray was the same guy who once sunk his teeth into Pete Rose’s ass
on national television like the prized pooch of the Bad Newz Kennels.  On
Thursday night, Gray sold out his tenacity to sell Slap Chops, repeatedly beating
around the bush so badly we expected him to start asking LeBron to
eliminate teams one at a time, with the choice between the final two
coming “after the break.”

Though the casual observer likely won’t comprehend (or care about) the serious ethical
questions raised by the fact that Gray was paid not by ESPN but by
LeBron, it’s the kind of thing that will stick to both reporter and
network like a tattoo of Chris Johnson’s face.

3.  LeBron can never return to Ohio.

When Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore in 1995, Modell knew he
could never return to Cleveland.  Since he didn’t play for or coach the
team, the situation merely created a minor annual inconvenience.

LeBron won’t have that luxury.  He has to come back to Cleveland for basketball games (the first one possibly coming on Christmas Day), where
he’ll face the kind of abuse no pro athlete ever has encountered.

If he’d merely left without fanfare or if he’d shed a tear or two for
his hometown while tearing out its heart and soul, things may have been
different.  But he strung this out for the glorification of his
massive ego
, giving folks in Cleveland false hope until announcing the
breakup on the set of Jerry Springer.

No matter how long he plays basketball and no matter how much money he
pumps back into the community in an effort to make amends, he’s done in
Ohio. The harder he tries to make things right, the more the locals
will resist.

4.  The Lord of the Flies factor.

LeBron always has looked much older than he is.  But his public appearance
and demeanor suggests a level of wisdom that can’t be obtained with a
decade of widespread worship and no years of college.

He’s still an overgrown kid, with limited life experiences and
little or no real-world savvy.  And he has surrounded himself with
friends who likewise have lived sheltered lives, never having to learn
hard lessons when constantly able to get out of jams by playing the LeBron card.

The end result?  A bunch of kids pretending to be grown ups.  Though
LeBron and his trio of childhood friends wisely opted not to use
LeBron’s money for fighting dogs, LeBron is no different than any other
high-profile athlete who lacks the capacity to trust non-athletes he didn’t
know before he was a star, and who instead relies blindly on the advice
of others who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

But, hey, it works on Entourage.

5. Who’s on third?

With LeBron invading Dwayne Wade’s championship turf in South Florida,
the situation instantly became the basketball equivalent of Alex
Rodriguez joining Derek Jeter’s Yankees.

And so we asked on Twitter moments after the last seal was removed from
the scroll, “[W]ill LeBron play shortstop or third base?

Miami is Wade’s world.  LeBron is horning in on the party.  Though both
may be sufficiently mature to handle the fact that the rules don’t
contemplate a flippers-and-plunger multiball feature, every team has a pecking

In New York, Rodriguez yielded to Jeter, moving to third base.  In
Miami, will LeBron stand down and let Wade lead the team?

More importantly, will the fans and the media let LeBron be anything
other than the focal point of the franchise, just as he was in

6.  Stephen A. Smith nailed this one.

We don’t really care much for Stephen A. Smith’s style, or his general
lack of substance.  Most of you agree; otherwise, he’d still be at ESPN.

But he absolutely nailed it on this one, days before anyone had
connected the dots.  Wade, LeBron, and Chris Bosh, all in Miami.

So Smith really was right.  And he’s not getting nearly enough credit
for it from the rest of the media.

7. Maybe Randy Lerner will sell to Dan Gilbert.

The biggest surprise of Thursday night came not from LeBron but from Cavaliers owner Dan
Gilbert, who unloaded on LeBron via an open letter posted on NBA.com in a
font that we previously had determined to be the only real victim of
the Y2K bug.

Richard Deitsch of SI.com expressed on Twitter an interest in seeing the
first draft of Gilbert’s gripe
. Frankly, we think the first draft was
the only draft.

The rhetoric potentially allows James to recapture the low shoulder of the high road, but it
will serve to galvanize Clevelanders who desperately need someone,
anyone to stand up for them and fight.  And we admire Gilbert for
blowing a gasket and taking two T’s in the hopes of getting others in
Cleveland to be as passionate as he is about building a winner in LeBron’s

For that reason alone, we’d love to see Gilbert get his hands on the

8.  The wisdom of “The Warriors.”

More than 30 years ago, I saw The Warriors at the local drive-in
theater.  (The one, that is, that wasn’t showing “The Whorriors.”)  The movie
was rated R, I was only 14, and so it was the greatest moment of my

Only seven years later, I saw The Warriors again, this time on videotape.   And it sucked.

 Apparently, LeBron, Chris Bosh, and Wade decided to find their way onto the
same NBA team based upon their magical experiences in the Beijing
Olympics, which culminated in a gold medal for the U.S. team.  And while
they may not conclude that their time together in the 82-game U.S. grind sucks like The Warriors, they’ll
quickly realize that the experiences from two weeks together in 2008
don’t translate to six months or more per year of euphoria.

But LeBron’s decision to latch onto two of the only guys he ever has bonded
with beyond the borders of Ohio makes sense.  It gets back to the fact
that, while the birth certificate says he’s 25 and the mirror suggests
he’s much older than that, LeBron still has a lot to learn.

And one thing he’ll learn within the next year or so is that his time on
the Olympic team wasn’t necessarily special because he was playing with Bosh
and Wade.

9.  The return of the villains.

No story commands serious attention absent a credible villain.  And the
NBA really hasn’t had a good villain since the Pistons of the late ’80s
and early ’90s.

Now, the villains return. The Heat instantly become the most hated team
in the league, with anyone not already a fan of the franchise inclined
to hope it fails.

And that’s the most tangible thing LeBron has lost. Previously, King
James had been the rare figure for whom we all rooted so that we
collectively could witness something historical.  Now, with a similar
outcome but an entirely different method, James will be regarded as
Tiger Woods — someone to collectively root against.

10.  In the end, the NBA wins.

Despite the shameful me-first frenzy that characterized the NBA’s
free-agency period, the unprecedented interest in the second-tier sports league
lays the foundation for a compelling 2010-11 season.

Come 2011-12, basketball could have the pro sports palette primarily to
itself, if the NFL shuts down next year.

Though the NBA needs to work through its own labor issues before it can
fill the potential vacuum the NFL may create, the league and its players
would be wise to recognize the birth of a new golden age that will spawn a large golden goose, just as the folks who run pro football risk
throttling theirs.

But what the hell do I know about any of this? When I was five, my dad told me that
watching anything more than the last four minutes of a basketball game
is a waste of time.  It’s advice I’ve followed for nearly 40 years.

Last night, he would have said the same thing about the last 50 minutes
of The Desaster.  And the first 10.

Still, we had to watch.

66 responses to “A few words (or maybe more) about LeBron

  1. Keep selling out florio. I thought this was PRO FOOTBALL TALK. your criticism of ESPN rings hollow when you run bullshit like this.

  2. I’m excited to read all of the commenters shouting “STICK TO FOOTBALL YOU HACK!” but this wasn’t that bad of a commentary.
    But for the record, Dwyane Wade misspells his name, therefore you did, too.

  3. Here is a BIG difference between LeBron and Favre
    FAVRE RETIRED CRYING HIS EYES OUT. LEBRON WAS A FREE AGENT He didn’t try to circumvent all contract rules like Favre So to every Cleveland sports fan that thought what Favre did wasn’t wrong KARMA SUCKS

  4. I post comments to other stories; leave to go on a Fire/Medical call; come back and you’ve posted a new story (about a basketball player at that); and you still haven’t posted said comments to said stories.

  5. I actually agree with Florio for once. Bravo sir. Gray was hand picked and paid for buy LeBron, so much for objective journalism.

  6. That four letter network or if you ask Adrian Woj of yahoo sports, it’s “LeBron’s personal network” has been defending LeBron all day. I am a life long Clevelander. I live and die Browns, Indians, Cavs, OSU. LeBron made us beleive that he got it. The Drive, the Fumble, the Shot, 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth of the 97 WS. But he never got it.
    He planned this all along. He quit last year in the playoffs, and quit this year. The sooner he could get to free agency to be with his boys the better. He Sacraficed Cleveland for his own personal gain. I along with other Clevelanders don’t give a damn he left. ITS HOW HE DID IT!! his management called the Cavs @ 9:01 last night. Instead of being upfront leaving gracefully and quietly he sacrificed the very ppl who worshipped him as their “king” in an hour long ceremony on the four letter network. And yes we are angry, hurt, and disgusted. And he best not show his face around here for a while

  7. It’s hard for me to give Stephen A Clownsuit (thanks, Whitlock) much credit considering he backed off his own report. He made a guess that he presented as a done deal, was afraid he was wrong and would look foolish, backed away from his own claim, and turned out to be right in the first place.
    I don’t mind the guessing, here I am on this (well-marked as such) rumors site. It’s just that SAC wants it both ways.

  8. Yeah, it’s hard to ignore all the hype go on with your day to day routine. It’s the 300 pound gorilla in the middle of your living room……….or something.

  9. Florio, I’m surprised you haven’t discussed ESPN’s failure to cover or announce in any way the lawsuit against Lebron James by James’ alleged father. This seems like a worse case of ESPN acting like a lapdog for an athlete than ESPN’s initial non-disclosure of the Roethlisberger lawsuit.

  10. dont say E*PN !! last time i said it i was banned.. poor PFT , i remember the good ole days when they used to write about football… besides i can just go to probasketballtalkn right?

  11. Hey, he’s just an athlete. Get over it.
    If you place so much weight on what LeBron does then your sense of things is extremely out of whack. If you expect a rich, massively lauded, and entitled athlete to act like anything else then you are stupid. If you think he needed to behave with some sort of absurd nobility, in a league and a world that has none, then you need to wake up.
    He gets paid to put a ball through a small hoop. Perhaps there are more important things to dwell on.

  12. sportzdiva ,
    Lol, got what? How to be a loser? Cleveland fans are like, he should have stayed here to keep losing with us, that’s more important.
    You people from Cleveland kill me. You act like you own that man or something. He elevated that city to visibility they haven’t seen since the great Browns championship teams of the 60s. His contract was up, he didn’t owe you shit. Just get used to it, you lost one of the greatest NBA players due to your basketball team’s incompetence, just like you lost one of the greatest NFL coaches ever due to the incompentence and disarray of the football operation. Has to suck being you guys. My college roomate was from Cleveland, and you can just see the “loser” dripping off you people, lol (sorry, you know I love you, man).
    As for you Florio, I’m surprised. For a site that slams Haynesworth daily for his money grubbing acts, this guy (along with WAde and Bosh) is taking less money just to win. He used the interest in his decision to give us a suspenseful event that drew eyeballs during the deadest of dead periods in sports, and on top of it, donated the advertising revenue to a worthy cause. I say Bravo. You think if Peyton Manning was allowed to walk by the Colts next March that something similar wouldn’t take place?
    People criticizing him for his “ego,” give me a break. A-type personalities are self-absorbed people….how else do they get to the top. I’ve never heard of him being a jerk or being one of these off the court nightmares, so what’s the beef with him? Are you people basically saying that because he was drafted by Cleveland, near where he grew up, he owed them to stay there his entire career? How’d that work for LT a couple of months ago when SD cut him? How’d that work for Joe freaking Montanna when the 49ers cut him? How’d that work for Jerry Rice when the 9ers were tired of him? So give me a break. He’s showing me that he’s more humble than I thought because not only did he take a huge pay cut to team up with those other guys, but he conceded that he needed their help to win it all. It’s the ultimate selfless act in sports.
    Whenever I think the sports realm of media and fans couldn’t be more hypocritical, they surprise me. When Tom Brady took a “hometown” discount to keep New England competitive, who was waving the pom poms more than the media and fans? He’s sacrificing much more not only monetarily, but by going to an unfamiliar place to win and admitting that he needs help. Real sports fans not wrapped up in the emotion have to love that.

  13. This is all just entertainment – in this case getting a boat load of cash for the boys and girls club. Hard to believe how emotionally involved people get about this stuff.

  14. For four years plus, I have read pft without any comment. But today, Mr. Florio, you crossed a line. The Warriors, whether at Drive-in, on VHS or it’s current version, which I proudly own on DVD, never has sucked! I showed my 5 year old it the other day and it is an American classic. WARRIORS!!!!

  15. You Are Right As Rain Sir.
    The Mother Ship (ESPN) has Jumped the shark.
    If anyone is bitching that this is NOT an NFL FOOTBALL post/Op/Ed you are gravely mistaken
    ESPN will take this sick American Idol like programing to our beloved NFL faster than you can say “Jack Robinson,”
    Florio is right, and this sickness will be coming to the NFL this season, brought to you by E.S.P.N. and which ever corporation pays the most dollars to jump in on the new press conference of the future.
    Brought to you By ESPN last night.
    Sad, Sick, and pitiful I think.

  16. He’s his own property. He doesn’t belong to some city. What’s all the fuss about?
    This seems inconsequential compared to the terror we export as a country, we’ve killed 1,000,000 people in Iraq. We gave 3 billion dollars to Israel to continue the subjugation of Gaza for a year.
    Write a letter to the corporate puppets that masquerade as your elected officials and tell them what’s on your mind. Stop the money flow into this war that is fought only for profit.

  17. 30PTBUCK says:
    July 10, 2010 12:24 AM
    Here is a BIG difference between LeBron and Favre
    Here is another BIG difference. LeBron left via Free Agency. Favre got traded by a GM who has been intimidated by him since he got there.

  18. Thanks, Mike. Everything you said was completely true.
    The problem wasn’t him leaving. The problem was the trail of fuel he laid as he sneaked out and the carelessly flicked cigarette he discarded over his shoulder. Cleveland doesn’t owe him anything and he doesn’t owe Cleveland anything but a little respect for the city he was about to blast back into the stone age would have been nice.
    All of this noble talk of taking less money is bullshit, too. He made the move to Miami because it was, in his mind, his best chance to grow his brand and legacy. And the only conceivable reason a person would want/need to grow their brand and legacy would be to fill their bank account and fuel their ego.
    LeBron James isn’t a dumb kid. He isn’t a mean kid. He’s a naive, selfish, and shortsighted kid. That also means he’s a normal kid. The only difference between him and every other kid, who makes a rash decision, is the number of families they impact. That is why he will be hated by every Cleveland native for as long as he’s a recognizable name. He didn’t just “Dine and Dash,” he torched the Diner.

  19. Mike,
    Great article. Keep them coming. One comment, you didn’t post a link to whatever Stephen A. Smith siad. So I have no idea what you are refering to with that comment.

  20. ESPN has been a clown network for years.
    Between their “fixed” draft lottery and their refs “fixing” of games the NBA has all the legitimacy of the WWE.
    That freak show Thursday night (happy to say I did not watch it) was a perfect marriage between the two.

  21. Well done Florio – you and I have bumped heads from time to time and I stopped coming to the site for awhile because I thought you had lost your mojo.
    But this is one of your best – be proud of it! A couple of thoughts that might add to what you laid out.
    1. LeBron & Co will probably try and make the distinction between Cleveland and Akron – it won’t work.
    2. I thought Nike was notably absent from this mess – there is a rumor they agreed to match to money raised for Boys and Girls Club that I have not been able to confirm – but they are very likely not happy about this whole fiasco.
    3. Watch for the little stories about the “real” LeBron to begin – TMZ is already on his case – and Dan Gilbert rightfully pointed out that the King had already quit on Cleveland in the last round of the playoffs. He was very likely “protected” by the Cavs and others – that is gone.
    Those of you posting that LeBron was/is free to do what he did – you are right – but HE IS THE ONE – he is the self-proclaimed KING – he was going to lead the Cavs to multiple championships – that was HIS story line – not Florio’s – not ours.
    Again – great post Florio

  22. All of these comments are so shortsighted and uninformed. He had/has the city by the balls. Our economy could collapse, crime will rise, our river will light on fire again. Its time to panic, people.

  23. Many people like to play the card that Wade and James took less money to play together. That is Wrong.
    Wade took the most money possible over 6 years. Lebron forfeit the 6th year of Cleveland’s “hometown” offer and a little each year (5-10% range). No income tax in Miami you say? So Lebron gets the same amount or more in 5 years instead of 6. Ego, greed, and the desire for a championship. Do not dissect them and make him into anything other than a combination of these things. Also anything Bosh gives up can only be considered fair for a guy who has not done anything in the league, other than befriend two superstars who play play different positions.
    This is not the same thing as Tom Brady or even Dirk (Mavs) or Pierce (Celts). They chose to stay home and try to facilitate more room for talent. In a world where a wrong move takes it all away, money in the hand is probably the safest. Then again not everyone has to support an entourage.

  24. Frankly its just another reason why the NBA sits alongside Major League Baseball in sports I don’t care about. Stern has run a crooked league for two decades and this type of garbage is simply par for the course.

  25. Well done, Mr. Florio.
    Whether we like it or not, this story affects all of sports. It has nothing to do with Iraq or foreign policy. There are plenty of places holier-than-thous can go to complain about what people are paying attention to.
    I didn’t think there was a way in the world he’d fund his own hour-long program to announce he was going to another team. To do that to a franchise that let him sign off on every trade, bend over backwards to bring in complimentary talent, build a $25 million practice facility for the sole purpose of having it closer to LeBron’s house…that’s just wrong.
    It’s true, he’s his own man and the rules of the occupation he has allows him some freedom to play where he chooses, his half-assed and disgraceful effort during the playoffs, complete lack of communication with his team afterward and his premeditated choice to kick that team in the nuts in front of the world are all things a decent human being wouldn’t consider.
    Kudos to Gilbert for calling him out (the Benedict Arnold tribute was particularly enjoyable), but more than anything else, credit to Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Stephen A. Smith and Darren Rovell for top-notch (and ethical) reporting throughout this entire ordeal.
    If nothing else, their efforts show that ESPN has the largest market share, but they don’t have the ability to control all of the news.

  26. Real Football Fan, well said, well said.
    LeBron doesn’t owe the Cavs or their fans crap. He played out his contract. Period, done.
    And Florio it really is that simple, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it. I in no way felt compelled to watch it. Unlike a car wreck that you may drive by and can’t help but look, you don’t have to turn the channel to be exposed to the “wreck”.
    If anyone in this situation is acting like a spoiled child, it’s Dan Gilbert, not James. Gilbert made a crap ton of money off of James and now that the gravy train is leaving he’s throwing a temper tantrum. It doesn’t benefit Clevelanders, it makes them realize they have an idiot owner.
    Please forgive me for quoting Ocho Cinco but he said it best, “when a free agent leaves he’s a traitor, but when a team cuts your ass, it’s a business”. Talk about a double standard.

  27. Mr. Florio, I really enjoyed your comments and agree with most of what you wrote especially about ESPN and this tasteless show. I actually could not bring myself to watch. James had every right to go to another team, and I never expected him to stay in Cleveland. Congrats!
    ps. To the tasteless comments on Favre, he was TRADED to the Jets by Thompson who did not want two egos in GB. There is no comparison to LeBron and Cleveland.

  28. NBA sucks now.
    Bring back Jordan, Bird and Magic to a NBA Seniors League. I’d rather watch that.

  29. Right on, Florio!
    James and ESPN deserve one another. Two pieces of crap make for the biggest turd in sports.

  30. Good job Florio on the commentary. I was beginning to think that you only lived and breathed football all day long. LeBron had every right to leave Cleveland but he had no right to disrespect the franchise and city with a spectacle like this. I never thought that LeBron would go to to Miami because of his massive ego. It turns out that his ego is not as big as I thought since he doesn’t mind playing “Pippen” to Wade’s “Jordan”. I had barely even heard of Bosh before this whole free agent thing so how good can he really be?

  31. “What’s the difference between Saturn and LeBron James?
    They’re both big and full of gas, but at least saturn has rings.”

  32. Reindeer_Rob says:
    July 10, 2010 8:26 AM
    Many people like to play the card that Wade and James took less money to play together. That is Wrong.
    Wade took the most money possible over 6 years. Lebron forfeit the 6th year of Cleveland’s “hometown” offer and a little each year (5-10% range). No income tax in Miami you say? So Lebron gets the same amount or more in 5 years instead of 6.
    Dude get your facts straight. LeBron Wade and Bosh signed 6 year deals and all took paycuts. They all could have gotten 125 mil over those 6 years. Instead LeBron and Bosh took 110 mil each and Wade took 107 mil. 15 mil paycuts for Bron and Bosh and 18 mil paycut for Wade. Thats quite a bit of change don’t ya think

  33. The NBA is just continuing on its long self made path to destruction. It decided a long time ago to make the game about individuals and not teams.
    I finally threw up my hands and turned it off for good when Latrell Sprewell choked his coach and could not get fired for it. Insane.
    Don’t dis “The Warriors” – remember the great parts of that movie: The Baseball Furies, the Lizzies and “CAN YOU DIG IT ????”

  34. I guess you can say the ratings just show a part of human nature, like rubber-necking at an accident. Most people are going to watch–they just can’t turn away.
    I personally didn’t because the whole thing turned my stomach. All I cared about was where he was going–I had absolutely no interest in listening to LeBron talk about his decision and his motivations. I’d rather not watch someone humiliate himself on a large scale.

  35. Shocking. A well written article that I mostly agree with. By Florio of all people. Usually Florio is the king of gutter journalism. But that was a nice piece of work. Good job Florio.

  36. I feel bad for James’ former Cavs teammates in addition to the Cleveland fans. That entire roster was built to support Lebron and as far as I can tell they were all pretty good friends. At least that’s what they acted like on the court, with all their choreographed dances and celebrations. They seemed like a pretty tight group.
    And then Lebron just ditches them so he can go play with the superstars down in Miami. It’s like in high school when a kid ditches the people he grew up with to go hang out with the popular kids and acts like they were never friends. I’m sure Lebron is going to have the time of his life in South Beach and probably win some championships but his legacy will be forever tarnished. He will never be a Jordan, Kobe, Johnson or Byrd. He’ll be known as a front runner who turned his back on his home and diehard fans.

  37. LeFraud is a stiff. He quit on the Cavs in game 5 against Boston and showed his major flaw. Its his heart and its 2 sizes too small. The grinch should have stayed in Cleveland and helped that city to a title. That is the tuff road to greatness, he took the easy road and it will effect his standing in the end when no one even considers him in the top ten all time. A true champion would have stayed and finished what he started. He would have done it where he started but not Lefraud James.

  38. To all the morons comparing Favre James try again.
    Cleveland DESPERATELY wanted James back. They LOVED him and did everything they could to get him to return. Green Bay told Favre to take a hike. The day Ted Thompson was hired he started conspiring to get rid of Favre which was perfectly his right to do. That being said if you want to get rid of someone and then they leave don’t freaking cry about it. These two situations aren’t even moderately similar.

  39. “Medina, Funky Cold Medina.”
    The joke obviously went way over your head.
    I can’t believe this whole charade will actually have me cheering for the Lakers or whoever plays the Heat – assuming they can make it to the finals. Besides, basketball sucks and the ratings prove that.

  40. LeBron is a tool and he can never be mentioned in the same breath as basketball legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, or Magic Johnson. Sure they had help, but they never called up their rivals and said, “Oh scoring 30 points a game and carrying a team is too hard, let’s team up.” Dwyane Wade will always have one more ring than LeBron. He’s riding Wade’s team now. He can never be the greatest of all time. It’s a real shame. I thought he could be the next big thing, but he didn’t have the heart. Instead he had a self- aggrandizing hour long bullshit special instead of quietly annoucing his decision in a press conference or something similar to what Wade and Bosh his new teammates did the day before. This TV special suggests his ego could still be the biggest problem for the Miami “superteam.” For the record, I am not a Cavs fan, just a disappointed NBA fan

  41. 24ksmith,
    YOU get you fact straight – NOBODY was going to give Bosch a max deal – he is a second tier free agent – and they all have outs after 3 years…
    They are all counting on endorsement income to make up some of the loss in salary – but I am afraid they may be disappointed on that front – LeBron is going to take a HUGE hit – no more Kobe puppets – Kobe will stay far far away from LeFraud…

  42. I managed to get through that small part of my life without watching it. They can’t make you watch anything.
    I agree with Florio here on Jim Gray. He’s the worst, and now he can’t even call himself a journalist. He’s James’ PR hack.
    I disagree, though, the Gilbert did anything to help the people of Cleveland or that the Browns would be better off with him. He’s assured the Cavs of never landing an elite free agent in the forseeable future, for fear of how he’d handle them ever leaving.
    One more thing to pile on ESPN — Rachel Nichols had a report about the curse Cleveland suffers under. The lead-in to this piece repeatedly called James leaving the worst betrayal ever felt by Cleveland fans. I think there are a lot of PFT readers who know better. This doesn’t even COMPARE to Modell.
    Other than that, I’m torn by the whole thing. I think the way this was handled was the absolute height of narcissism. But I can’t get behind the level of vitriolic hatred for a guy leaving Cleveland to win some rings. I think it’s refreshing to see three elite players all take less money for a better shot at a title. Isn’t this a remedy for the “show me the money” attitude we always decry?

  43. In response to Real Football Fan and Junior,
    It’s of no surprise to me, or many others I assume, that LeBron left Cleveland. Pick any fan from any Cleveland team, and they would tell you it would be too good to be true for LeBron to stay. The fairy tale just doesn’t happen in Cleveland. What is surprising to me is that Mr. James would like to hope that the fans aren’t too hard on him when Miami plays Cleveland next season. When C.C. Sabathia was traded, he took out a full page ad to thank the city. Very classy. LeBron made the decision to move, and yet during his 1 hour ESPN special he can’t thank the city, or much less the fans? C.C. showed how you can leave a city that builds dreams around it’s players. LeBron could have learned something from #52. Perhaps, he was too busy rooting for the other team. The point isn’t that he left. It was the manner in which he left. Have you read the news from other cities? NY, Boston, Chicago – all talking negatively about his delivery. True there are no rules for how someone has to handle a situation like this, but if someone does something offensive, others have a right to be offended. I’m in no way saying that LeBron had to take out an ad, just that his delivery didn’t have to be so…. well, rude.

  44. This was great, Florio! I, for one, always thought James was overhyped, because he hadn’t won a thing. Now, I absolutely loathe him.
    I’m a little nervous that I’m picking up some of your thoughts, because two days ago, I had an image in my head of the “The Warriors” and thought the same thing: that every other team in the NBA will be gunning for them all year long!
    Grab a bat, LeGone.

  45. oldleftie…..
    Could not disagree with you more – LeFraud is way ahead of Art Modell. Modell was not from Cleveland – he was born in Brooklyn and made his money in advertising/PR in NYC.
    Under his ownership the Browns DID win a championship in 1964 [a year after firing the legendary Paul Brown].
    The move to Baltimore has two sides – one was that Modell was in deep financial trouble – with no way out short of selling the team [something Mike Ditka advocated] or moving. Others saw is as purely mercenary.
    So there is no real comparison – he was not a “local” hero – he never claimed to be – he did move to the city and work hard for a number of local charities and was active in local politics.

  46. oldlefthander says:
    He’s assured the Cavs of never landing an elite free agent in the forseeable future, for fear of how he’d handle them ever leaving.
    More ESPN propaganda. Once the dust settles and guys around the league look back at how he did EVERYTHING that James wanted to bring him a championship, they’re going to give him a chance. Look, James was a coward. He left town and while one of his people told ownership what was going on, he didn’t have the guts to do it himself and so far, I don’t see him thanking the people of Cleveland for kissing his ass every time that he bent over. If James would have treated the fans and the team right by just announcing that he was leaving and not making them beg him to stay for days, no one would have reacted like they did. Yes, they would have been bummed out but they wouldn’t have felt like he had played them just for his ego.
    Rings are fine, especially when management is working its ass of to do your bidding. Not even Michael Jordan had the kind of input that James had in Cleveland and he nearly had a hissy fit when management sent Oakley away to make room for Horace Grant and to pick up Bill Cartwright to man the middle and he wasn’t happy when they put Jackson in charge and he went with the triangle and yet, in his 7th season (you hear that LeBron), the Bulls had the first of their 6 titles.
    Sure, it seems easy to get 3 super stars and put them on the same team and you have an instant NBA championship but remember when the NBA was losing in the Olympics despite the fact they had a team full of super stars and how about LA when they couldn’t do anything with Shaq and Kobe until Jackson went in and proved that Chicago wasn’t a fluke.
    People put down the Cavs sans James but they did the same thing when Jordan retired the first time and the rest of the NBA world nearly had a stroke when they not only didn’t go into the lottery as all the “experts” had predicted but they were one bad call away from making it to the conference finals and beyond. Given the fact that the team will probably lose some key players besides James, they may not make it to the playoffs but it’s for THAT reason and not that they were a bunch of bad players. James had the core of a team that could have done better but really, did you ever see Jordan quit like he did when he was in his 7th season? Hell, he was sick and puking his guts out and Utah found out how much determination that a REAL superstar has; something that “King” James doesn’t.

  47. I’m from Akron. Trust me, we don’t want him back and he ain’t coming back. The sign on West Exchange street that says “Welcome to Akron, Home of LeBron James” has already be taken down. Police still have to sit in front of his house. The Bath Police Department will be sending him a bill.

  48. So many mistakes in this piece. It’s Funky Cold Medina (not Medusa). And the word is spelled “disaster” not (desaster).
    I expect this from 14-year-old “bloggers.” I expect more from someone who has been doing good work in the sports journalism world for 10 years now and is a (former) lawyer.

  49. did we HAVE to watch it? The internet, word of mouth, other channels didn’t report the announcement.
    You’re saying its not our fault because we can’t do better

  50. How come no one writes or complaints about the Yankees ruining MLB because of what they do EVERY year? Isn’t this the same? If Lebron had gone to NY or Chicago then all this crap about LeBron would not be mentioned. Get over it! This is like any other job…you’re not supported by employer you look for another job, period! Gilbert never got LeBron the support he needed. What’s even better is that Gilbert after saying LeBron quit during playoffs, he would have signed him to max contract should LeBron had chosen to stay in Cleveland…Gilbert is a bitch. He got dumped and now is he hurt and points the finger at others. Look at yourself in the mirror idiot! Welcome to MIA LeBron; where players are appreciated. You haters, continue your hate and jealousy.

  51. BlitzDorsey says:
    July 11, 2010 11:19 AM
    So many mistakes in this piece. It’s Funky Cold Medina (not Medusa). And the word is spelled “disaster” not (desaster).
    Maybe I’m being generous but I think “desaster” was a play on The Decision.
    Either way, we hardly had to watch. I had absolutely no interest in watching it. Also, it’s utterly ridiculous to say that this “will leave us all feeling differently about professional sports from this point forward.” Perhaps Florio is shocked that a self-promoting man-child would act like a self-promoting man-child but, for the rest of us, the sun rose the next morning like it does any other day.

  52. Jordan never quit on his team…does everyone forget the White Sox? Seriously….He didn’t just quit on his team at their height…he quit to play another sport he sucked at.

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