Thursday, July 8, 2010

He has to be staying, right?

You don't schedule an hour long prime-time special to publicly humiliate your home town, right?

This is just the ultimate, incredibly egotistical way to create your world legacy: the NBA mega-star who, instead of running off to a star-loaded team , steps up to finish what he started and will your team towards a championship. Win or lose, you are know as the courageous star (and best individual player) who ruggedly refused to abandon his current team (and the fanbase that worships and adores you and is 40 minutes for your birthplace) simply to take an easiest road towards a title.

LeBron has to stay in Cleveland, right?


Kurt said...

Bill Simmons (ESPN): "Any super-competitive person would rather beat Wade than play with him. Don't you want to find the Ali to your Frazier and have that rival pull the greatness out of you? That's why I'm holding out hope that LeBron signs with New York or Chicago (or stays in Cleveland), because he'd be saying, "Fine. Kobe, Dwight and Melo all have their teams. Wade and Bosh have their teams. The Celtics are still there. Durant's team is coming. I'm gonna go out and build MY team, and I'm kicking all their asses." That's what Jordan would have done. Hell, that's what Kobe would have done.

In May, after the Cavs were ousted in the conference semifinals, I wrote that LeBron was facing one of the greatest sports decisions ever: "winning (Chicago), loyalty (Cleveland) or a chance at immortality (New York)."

I never thought he would pick "HELP!""

Kurt said...

More Simmons: "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..."

Kurt said...

Ian Thomsen (SI): Going back to November, on the morning of James' only game this season at Madison Square Garden, I believe I was the first to firmly predict that this entire process was set up for him to return to Cleveland. This is what I wrote Nov. 6:

I bet James already has the entire recruiting process planned out. He'll listen to the Knicks, the Nets and anyone else who wishes to speak with him. Then he'll hold a news conference on live TV and announce that he is staying with Cleveland. It will be the professional version of national signing day, when the top high school recruit announces the college of his choice.

But it will be much bigger than that. An entire city will rejoice, and its people will speak of how proud they are of their LeBron James. Casual fans who would have booed him for going to New York will now be cheering for him because he stayed in Cleveland. By showing loyalty to his hometown, he'll have a chance to become a bigger force than he could have been on the world's greatest stage. He'll be the NBA's Family Guy.