Thursday, July 8, 2010

5 hours and 20 minutes

Loved this take from Bill Simmons on ESPN

If LeBron picks anyone other than the Cavaliers, it will be the cruelest television moment since David Chase ended "The Sopranos" by making everyone think they lost power. 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). This stomach-punch moment? Calculated. By a local kid they loved, defended and revered.

It would be unforgivable. Repeat: unforgivable. I don't have a dog in this race -- as a Celtics fan, I wanted to see him go anywhere but Chicago -- but LeBron doing this show after what happened in the 2010 playoffs actually turned me against him. No small feat. I was one of his biggest defenders. Not anymore.

And here's where I really worry, because 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.

(When Kevin Durant announced his own five-year, $86 million extension with an endearingly simple tweet yesterday, we all had the same thought: "Now that's how it's done." Pretty sad that an NBA star stood out for being humble and only caring about basketball.)

LeBron waved at me 2 weeks ago...I know he was indicating to me that he was staying in Cleveland on subconscious I, the always-stars-in-the-eyes-Cleveland-Sports-Fan remain unwaveringly steadfast in the belief that he will stay.

Funny related note...the radio guys on 850 am's The Really Big Show suggested that if LeBron goes, Cleveland replace the larger than life poster of him on the side of a Cleveland building with a larger than life middle finger...I'm not condoning such behavior, but it is kind've funny.

So will he say stay or will he go? What's your 11th hour prediction? I'm still in the "Stay Camp" but most addicts might call this phase "Denial".


Anonymous said...

I say Good Riddance!!!!!!!

wood said...

I was thinking that he'd stay in Cleveland. part of me is disappointed, but I cant call him a sellout, he didnt do a Thome on us and go for the money. Being on an allstar team was his desire. He got it. now the pressure is on, because if they dont win, that would be bad. I wish he would have done it differently.

Gotta also say Dan Gilberts reaction was without class. Hes more upset about what lebron leaving does to his casino than to the team, we'll see what happens next

Ben said...

I think LeBron's move was done without class, but Gilbert will garner some support from the fanbase because he said what so many were feeling, but it was probably a little classless as well.

Guaranteeing a championship before the Heat might be a bit of an over promise...considering we have very little in the talent pool right now. Bah well. Dare I say the Browns are the best team in Cleveland now?