Monday, July 12, 2010

What's up with my homeboy LeBron?

Images from Sunday, July 11, 2010 as the infamous "We All Are Witnesses" billboard comes down in Cleveland, Ohio.

Some of my friends don't understand why I'm uncomfortable w/LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavs for the Miami Heat. Those friends are not from Cleveland or Akron or even from Ohio for that matter. I'm an Akronite, Clevelander and Ohioan so here goes ...

I'll make my points quick:
  • It's not about LeBron leaving. I, like many others, understand free agency. The main issue here is LeBron decided to do make the announcement of his decision. You should only hold an hour long, prime-time TV special if the announcement will be that you are staying in Cleveland; otherwise, hold a normal press conference and save us the humiliation.
  • You can't compare my life working in the media to LeBron James. I knew that my career would force me to leave my hometown and possibly the state. I've worked off and on in Akron/Cleveland and Ohio. Loved it. Love my home state. Didn't hold a press conference to say "I'm leaving you".
They started to take down the billboard on Saturday, July 10, 2010. They had two crews working on Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Some say, they should have left the "We All Are Witnesses" billboard up. I say no. He no longer plays in Cleveland and no longer wears that jersey. You say the kids need a role model? You don't need a 10-foot billboard as a role model. Also, Cleveland fans are rabid and we don't have the manpower to guard a billboard 24-7.
  • LeBron should have given Dan Gilbert a courtesy call before the big announcement. Some say, well, the players are often the last to know when they've been traded. I say, two wrongs don't make it right. Just because others behave unprofessionally, doesn't mean you have to reciprocate.
  • Gilbert's letter to the fans was passionate. I cringed when I read it. Some of my sentiments were in there. The letter was mostly fine in content, but it should NOT have been written by a NBA team owner. Let the fans or some other team official make those remarks. I do wonder how Gilbert is going to make good on the promise to get a ring in Cleveland before Miami does?
  • Some say, he gave you guys seven good years and how do you treat him? You take down the billboard and you burn his jersey. (see my first point). And don't get me started on the guys who came to Cleveland to play ball w/LeBron, but found themselves not playing their role on the court. Nor do I want to talk about the players who did not even want to come to Cleveland to play w/LeBron.
  • LeBron could have executed this in a much more classier way. He could have left for Miami, but still appeased the folks in Cleveland/Akron. Boy did he blow it. And now, he's basically homeless. He won't be welcome in Ohio, he'll be uncomfortable and as a result he bail on us permanently, but it did not have to be this way. I feel sorry for him in that regard.
  • When the Miami Heat come to Cleveland to play the Cavs in the fall, it will not be pretty. I'm hopeful that there will be tight security and I hope that no real nonsense breaks out.

Here's the disclaimer on the article in the previous point. It reads:
"We understand your anger, but please show that Cleveland has class: no racism, no vulgarity and leave his family out of it. Commenters who cross that line may have their accounts temporarily or permanently suspended."

  • But knowing now that going to Miami was pre-planned, I'm wondering more about why LeBron played so poorly in the 2010 NBA semi-finals against Boston? Is there a connection?
  • All of this talk about Gilbert treating LeBron like a slave is unfortunate. I should have seen that coming and I especially should have seen it coming from Rev. Jesse Jackson. Why does it always have to come to that? We all know how the professional sports team system works.
So much for making some quick points. And I could go on. What do you think about all this?

For more on this from a Cleveland perspective, check out @PDCavsInsider on Twitter.
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At 5:13 AM, Blogger Tonya Horn said...

Good read Kim. You said it all!


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