Thursday, June 03, 2010

Have some God damn self respect

Jesus Cleveland, just stop it.

We don't need to see any videos of Cleveland "celebrities" pleading LeBron to stay. We don't need the city of Akron to have an LeBron Appreciation Day. We don't need painted cars, dudes being slapped 23 times or beard contests. (This is coming from a guy who (minimally) helped with the LeBron2010 banner and absolutely loves facial hair contests).

We're embarrassing ourselves.

We're the guy who can't stand that his girl is leaving him, so he concocts more and more ways to show him that he loves her, only he's coming off more and more pathetic and desperate. Not only is she still leaving him, now he looks like a loser.

If LeBron James plays basketball for another city next season, life will still go on.

Don't get me wrong, I want the guy to stay in Cleveland. I absolutely want him back. Hell, I started this blog so I'd give myself a reason to watch every one of his games as a Cavalier.

But if he's gonna go, he's gonna go. No "LeBron Appreciation Day" or lame (intentionally or no) song is going to convince him to stay. All of these things simply make us look desperate and thin skinned.

This is about LeBron. Full stop.

Danny Ferry and Dan Gilbert have done everything in their power to make the Cavs an attractive destination. They have a top notch practice facility, The Q is routinely sold out and Gilbert has shown that he's willing to spend the money to build a winner.

If LeBron wants to leave, he leaves.

Going into the playoffs, there's no way I thought LeBron would be somewhere else next season. Of course, I didn't think they'd ever lose to the Celtics in the second round either.

But I've come the realization that there's a good chance he's out the door. I've made my peace with it. Maybe he sticks around. But (barring some crazy draft day trade *cough* Chris Paul *cough*) I seriously doubt it. The Cleveland Frowns write:
You have to be serious about bolting to go all this way. Either that or seriously mistaken about how it would all work out. And in LeBron's defense, most of us, at least here in Northeast Ohio were glad to let LeBron carry on with the off-court drama, not worried at all about what impact it might have on what LeBron continues to say is the only thing that really matters -- which is, of course, winning.

"Oh, let the kid sell shoes to those jaded New Yorkers," we said. "Why wouldn't LeBron want to sell as many shoes as possible, anyway, and why wouldn't we want him to? Think of what all that shoe money will do for the local economy. And how's that crow sandwich for the self-proclaimed 'greatest city in the world' gonna taste when we're having the 'LeBron Stays' parade down Market Street. He who laughs last, laughs best. HA."

The idea that LeBron would leave was so unthinkable, especially back then, that it was easy to look away from the fact that it's no way to treat people. Not even residents of the self-proclaimed "greatest city in the world." To jerk people around like that just to sell some shoes and get on Larry King.

And all so easy to see with hindsight that it's no way to treat your employer either, especially if you want to win an NBA title with that employer. Now it's easy for everyone to see that even The King, The Chosen One, the most athletically talented basketball player in history can't do it all by himself. At least not in an environment of such unprecedented uncertainty. To keep your managers, your coach, jumping at your every whim. To saddle them and your teammates with the incredible pressure of this "win-now or else" season. Who's ever won a thing under such circumstances?
Exactly. LeBron did the Cavs no favors with this constant speculation about his future. On one hand, I don't begrudge the kid for wanting to choose his own employer (Tim Duncan tested free agency before returning to the Spurs) but you'd be blind to say that July 1, 2010 didn't affect the 2009-10 Cavaliers.

Vince at '64 and Counting writes:

All for a 25-year-old kid who we thought belonged to us, when we actually belonged to him. The quotes about lighting Cleveland up like Vegas, about bringing a championship to Cleveland, the constant Akron references, the “330” tats, and the Nike designs — it was just as much about marketing as it was sincerity. Who could pass up the local-hero-making-good narrative arc? That shit sells sneakers. Stir in a big chunk of superhuman talent and you’ve got yourself a global icon.

Yes, there’s a very real void in Cleveland. For a championship. For an ambassador to the world. For a hometown superstar. But LeBron has done nothing to earn the undying trust we’ve bequeathed him thus far. The fickle happenstance of ping-pong balls landed the Akron sensation here in 2003. (Unlike the deft and intentional maneuvering by Bernie Kosar to land on the roster of the Cleveland Browns.) LeBron’s existence in Ohio has so far been a matter of convenience, chance, and dough. All that, but not loyalty — at least not loyalty to us, as most seem to assume.

LeBron might fill that void by re-signing this summer, and by God let’s hope he does. For the sake of the Cavaliers and for the chance to validate our belief that he is indeed a civic King — a title he’s done little to earn so far but could put a lifelong claim on if he chooses. Either way, it ain’t validating you. It ain’t validating me. And it ain’t validating our city.

Exactly.

So stop with the videos. Stop with pleading. We're better than this. Obviously, I'm not saying I want the James to leave. He's the best player in Cavaliers history and he has the skill set to be one of the greatest of all time. Of course I want him to stay.

Will it suck if he bolts? Of fucking course. He's the 2-time MVP!

But life will go on.

And as far as I'm concerned, all these desperate pleas aren't a point in our favor. They're not helping, they're hurting.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well done Benny. I checked out after they lost... I knew it was going to be and embarrassing and overwhelming two months in CLE until sign time... Because I live out west and am from Cleveland, everyone and their brother want's to ask me what LBJ is gonna do, even those who have no idea about basketball.

All I tell them is, "Jog on, Only Labron knows and I'm not going to validate this drama."

Erik said...

I don't see where there should be "serious doubt" that LeBron is going to stay. Where else is he going to go and accomplish more than he's done here?

Where is it going to be better for him? Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah don't trump playing in MJ's shadow. The Heat with LBJ+Wade will be exactly like the Cavs: Gaudy regular season team that constantly folds in the playoffs.

The Knicks wouldn't be a contender, even with LBJ+Bosh. The Nets won't play in Brooklyn for at least three more years, and right now, that franchise doesn't know which way is up. Same goes for the Clippers.

What team is he going to look at and say "This opportunity is totally worth leaving millions on the table to pursue"? I don't see it.

Maybe the grass is a little wilty on this side of the fence, but I don't really see where it's greener. Unless he wants to MLE his way to the Lakers.

davemanddd said...

erik, my sentiments exactly. you are absolutely right, the "grass" is greener in cleveland for once. the only reason we lost albert belle, manny ramirez, jim thome & cc sabathia was because they were able to go to places where they got more "green" and a lot more of it thanx to not having any salary cap in baseball. thankfully, the nba doesn't stack the deck against smaller market teams like baseball does and in fact gives the home teams the best advantages to keep their players or else lebron would no doubt be gone to a much bigger market who could just simply over-pay anyone else. that's just not the case now though as the cavs hold that ultimate trump card. if you ask me, i think it would be wise (quit lookin' at my lemonade) for lebron to just exercise his 1-year player option with the nba's collective bargaining agreement set to expire at the end of the 2010-11 season and then become a free agent next season after he sees who went where and how they did with their respective teams to determine which team gives him the best chance to win multiple titles if that's what he really wants. the whole collective bargaining agreement will more than likely change then and he might get an even bigger contract next year than what he could this year.

Ben said...

I'm pretty sure I'd go insane if LeBron just exercised his option for a year. But I doubt that'll happen (I believe it has to happen before July 1, but I could be making that up).

Ben said...

and (one of) the reason(s) LBJ (and Wade and Bosh) signed the deal he did was so that he could get the max contract before the new collective bargaining agreement kicked in (which will probably shorten the length of the contracts)

Ben said...

I dunno, Derek Rose, Joakim Noah with Coach Tom Thibodeau all on the team LeBron rooted for while growing up.

I agree with you re: MJ's shadow, but I dunno how much LBJ will factor that in.