Saturday, July 24, 2010


Bill Livingston is a cranky old man:
Before the Cavaliers retire LeBron James' number 23, they will win that championship owner Dan Gilbert promised would arrive before James' first one in Miami.

The number 23 will never hang in the rafters on Gilbert's watch. It is entirely appropriate that it never hangs there at all.


I believe we will want to remember the six good players (Austin Carr, Bingo Smith, Nate Thurmond, Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance) whose numbers hang in the rafters, not the indisputably great player who left in a manner designed to inflict the most emotional pain on the fans and do the most harm to the franchise.

James simply does not belong with men who took pride in the jersey and played to honor the city and its fans.
Um, the guy is the Cavs all-time leading scorer and won two MVPs in a Cavalier uniform. Yea, he's a total dick. I get that. And I get that we're all pissed at him for how he left the team. (Basically, it's the 'Pete Rose was an asshole, but he was really good at baseball' Hall of Fame argument).

But again, the last seven years didn't suck. You can't tell me those years weren't fun. Yes, the way LeBron left was terribly shortsighted and narcissistic but it doesn't invalidate all the things he did on the court.

The Cavs have retired Nate Thurmond's number and Nate the Great played a grand total of 114 games in Cleveland. 114! If Nate's number is retired, I don't care if LeBron decapitated Moondog and wiped his ass with a Mark Price jersey on his way out, his number deserves to be retired.

(However, before LeBron gets his number retired, World B. Free needs his jersey in the rafters. Should've happened years ago).


Erik said...

However, you retire a jersey to honor the player. And would LeBron really consider it an honor to have his number retired by the Cavs?

Even if all was forgiven, I doubt he'd even show up for the ceremony, or even take the time to record a 90-second scoreboard video thanking the organization.

Maybe things change in the 15-20 years between now and when LeBron would be eligible to have his number retired. But if they don't, my feeling is, if LBJ views his seven years in Cleveland with a shrug of the shoulders, where is the meaning and fun in honoring him?

Graham said...

Yeah, you can't just retire a number best on stats - though that's obviously a big component. LeBron left Cleveland as a quitter and disgraced the city on national TV. That's a a major aspect of his legacy, and its one that will not be honored.

There would have to be a signficant reconciliation to have his number retired here, and I just can't imagine that happening.

Ben said...

I dunno, 15-20 years down the road... he makes an apology, there's a big to-do...

I guess, Time Heals All Wounds. I listened to Simmons's podcast with Jack-o and he talks about Dave Winfield saying nice things about Steinbrenner, after all the shit The Boss did to him over the years (the name calling, private investigators, etc).

ClevelandPoet said...

I agree prob should but not for a very long time and def not before world b get his raised.

the other thing is when retiring a number its mostly to honor the player but its also for the fans too so it'd have to be at a point where its not going to be some horrible thing the fans hate.

you know excluding the few that would hate it no matter when it happens

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