Sunday, October 05, 2008

ESPN is gonna need a new narrative

From the Cavs media day:

''Go on the Internet and look at every time I have been asked am I happy in Cleveland and see my response,'' James said to the large media gathering.

''I've never given any indication that I was leaving or didn't like being here. Every time I am asked the question — I love being here, I love playing in front of these fans, my family is here, I grew up 30 miles away — I never gave any indication that I did not like playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.''

Then on to hot button part two, an issue that seems to be equally as debate-worthy in Northeast Ohio: James' support of the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys. James brought up this one on his own and he was equally serious in relating his feelings.

''Now, I'll say I like the Yankees and the Cowboys, but that has nothing to do with the Cavaliers,'' he said.

''It's not fun [to be questioned about it]. Am I not allowed to be a fan? When I grew up watching sports, the Cowboys were a team to love; Michael Jordan was [a player] to love. If I say I like Michael Jordan, is that a problem because I didn't say Mark Price?'' James asked. ''Is that a problem? Is it? That is who I grew up watching. These are the teams and the people that inspired me. Now I broke it down for you all.''

Did PTI break this down? Was this quote on Truehoop? Sportscenter? I don't seem to remember.... (this is why Dan Gilbert says the "LeBron to the Knicks" speculation is driven by bored sports writers and is an insult to Cleveland). Stuff like this is never prominently displayed or pushed by the world wide leader.

Also LeBron (who apparently is also a socialist) addressed an Obama rally in Cleveland and ended with this:

Thank you, Cleveland. Of course, you all know I love y'all, of course. I love Ohio and I ain't goin nowhere. I'll be here.

Look, I've said it before and I'll say it again: LeBron James doesn't need New York. He's hosted SNL and the ESPYs, he's got a ton of major endorsements, he hangs out with Warren Buffet and Jay-Z, he's third guy ever to be on the cover of Vogue and he's the 17th most powerful person in all of sports - all from Northeast Ohio. Moving to New York City makes him bigger... how exactly? What doors will NYC open for him? What can't he do now that playing for Knicks/Nets will allow him to do?

Look, the only way this guy can get any bigger is if he starts winning championships.

And the Cavs give him the best shot at a ring.

7 comments:

Erik said...

Can somebody please make sense of the Cavs portion of this article?

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/8570652/Pistons,-Cavs-are-class-of-Central-division

In particular, these quotes:

"...And before last season's trade, Cleveland had an exceptional defensive ball club, with LeBron evolving into a strong on-ball defender, Zydrunas Ilgauskas swallowing up post players with his massive frame, Larry Hughes clamping down the perimeter, and the entire team buying into Mike Brown's defensive principals. That defense allowed 92.9 points per game in 2006-2007, helping the Cavs catapult to the NBA Finals."

"...Their offense isn't versatile enough, their defense has taken a step back, and the team may be the least athletic in the NBA. Unless LeBron's inconsistent jump shooting improves, Mike Brown retools his entire offense, and the team gets a lot quicker in a hurry, the Cavs will be faced with yet another long summer of looking for a Robin for LeBron's Batman."

So... this writer, Erick Blasco, essentially says the Cavs are WORSE now than they were prior to the February trade, because at least the Cavs could hang their hats on defense before the trade, and now they can't hang their hats on anything.

I know the Cavs are now older and more susceptable to injury because of that, but honestly, how do you jettison Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones in exchange for Ben Wallace, Wally Sczcerbiak, Delonte West and Mo Williams, and end up worse?

I mean, only Wallace is what I'd consider "old" by NBA standards. Wally is past his prime, but not by a ton. West is a solid defensive player, and Mo will learn to play Mike Brown defense or he'll lose minutes to West.

And one more thing: How does any team with LeBron James on it EVER qualify for "Least athletic in the NBA?"

It must be fall. The "Cavs Ain't Shit" bandwagon is pulling out of the station, making stops in New York, Los Angeles and Cucamonga.

graham said...

Erik, my only guess is that Charlie Rosen changed his name to Erick Blasco.

Ben said...

+1 to Graham

Erik said...

++1

I sets 'em up, you knocks 'em down.

graham said...

Hey, did you guys read this little bit from ESPN's TrueHoop?

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-35-15/-I-love-Cleveland--I-love-Ohio--and-I-m-not-going-anywhere--.html

Something about this just really hits a nerve - even worse than everything else that was blatantly anti-Cleveland. Maybe it's the subtle condescension towards Cleveland and its fans, or that Abbott usually doesn't come off as a shill for ESPN's media gimics.

LeBron eventually said something about Darfur, so he's probably just playing to the Cleveland fans??? Gimme a break.

Am I overreacting here?

Erik said...

Henry Abbott is definitely on the "LeBron's leaving Cleveland" bandwagon. He responded, I think, to both Ben's blog and my blog last year when we called him out for having an anti-Cleveland bias.

His response to my blog post was particularly rambling, where he went off on some tangent about actually loving Cleveland, but that he had credible sources that told him LBJ is just putting on a front for Cleveland and he's really out the door on July 1, 2010.

So, whatever. ESPN's company line is "LeBron to New York in 2010." That's what sells subscriptions and pumps up their TV ratings.

What really seems like a slap in the face is when Chris Sheridan pens an article, as he did today, featured on the front page, noting that D-Wade plans to sign an extension in 2010. In the same article, he notes that the Cavs live in "mortal fear" of LeBron leaving.

Again with the whole idea that D-Wade should never want to leave Miami, no matter how bad the Heat are, and LBJ should never want to stay in Cleveland, no matter how good the Cavs get.

I don't know if it's arrogance, coveting, what it is, but I've never seen so many people hope one team fails so that one player will leave that team. It's amazing. I guess it's one more way people in this region are going to have to persevere. Even in our moments of triumph, there is still an underlying current of worry and/or misery.

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