This is a business. I had seven great years in Cleveland. I hope the fans understand, and maybe they won’t.”
~ LeGone James, newest resident of South Beach
It’s not about him leaving. It’s the disrespect. It’s time for people to hold these athletes accountable for their actions. Is this the way you raise your children? I’ve been holding this all in for a long time.
~ Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan “Kill the King” Gilbert
For LeBron James relocating his kingdom from Cleveland to Miami is about two things: winning a championship (or several) and maximizing his brand potential. For Dan Gilbert, his erstwhile employer it’s not business at all. It’s personal as in a personal insult and he’s not going to hold the door for James as he departs. If anything, Gilbert’s bashing of LeGone is more along the lines of “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”
If you’ve thought about buying a Lebron James jersey I hear they’re having a fire sale in Cleveland.
Word of advice to Cavaliers fans: Don’t take it so seriously. It’s only a game. Nobody’s lost life here. Setting fire to James’ old jersey? Smooth move, folks. Couldn’t find any rope? There is no guarantee that James will be soaking in a champagne bath next season in Miami. Can Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and James co-exist and raise hell during the regular season? More than likely and their quest for the ring will be featured on Sportscenter every night and they are a stone cold lock to be playing in primetime on Christmas Day. The only question is will it be against the Lakers or a road game in Cleveland. But don’t pass them the trophy just yet. Nobody wins a championship simply by front-loading the roster with three superstars and filling out the roster with nine warm bodies and assorted table scraps.
Chemistry is not overrated. The Three Amigos of the Boston Celtics (Garnett, Pierce and Allen) had it. The Less than Fearsome Foursome of the Los Angeles Lakers (Bryant, O’Neal, Malone, and Payton) did not. If Miami storms through the regular season and flops in the playoffs LeGone will look like the kind of hopeless loser whom if he felt into a barrel of nipples would come out sucking his thumb. James has put himself into a situation where he has to win a championship because all of his excuses are gone now.
The night James announced he was realigning the balance of power in the NBA he received two parting gifts from Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cavaliers: a blood enemy for the rest of his career and all the motivation to go all out in his quest for a ring. Gilbert didn’t just burn his bridges with LeGone; he blew them up and salted the earth for good measure.
Dear Cleveland, All of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Wherever You May Be Tonight;
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.
Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.
The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.
There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.
You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
You have given so much and deserve so much more.
In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:
“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”
You can take it to the bank.
If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.
Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.
Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.
This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.
But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.
The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
Sleep well, Cleveland.
Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….
I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:
DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue …
If we have never witnessed a vain and self-important athlete make an elaborate show of where he decided to play, never before have we seen an owner react with such bile in a petulant, insulting and petty manner. Strange days in David Stern’s Magic Kingdom and one wonders how he will react to Gilbert’s parting shots at his league’s best player.
This falls under the category of extremely sour grapes on Gilbert’s part. He bought the Cavs in 2005, inherited the best player in the league and installed two utter mediocrities, Mike Brown as coach and Danny Ferry as general manager. Among Gilbert and Ferry’s accomplishments were to surround James with such “talent” as Bruno Sundov, Zendon Hamilton, Jiri Welsch and Smush Parker.
Gilbert fired Brown and Ferry following this year’s playoff flop against the Celtics as sacrifices in a futile attempt to appease James, tried to woo Tom Izzo from Michigan State who balked when he couldn’t get assurances James would re-sign and is left now with an aging, salary capped-out shell of a team with a new coach, no stars and dim hope of even making the playoffs next year.
Gilbert’s temper-tantrum was a classless ass-covering for his own failure to bring in even one complimentary superstar player in his prime to aid James in winning a championship. A more mature approach would have been to express disappointment in James signing elsewhere and then to thank him for seven great years including two straight years with the best regular season record and an appearance in the 2007 NBA Finals.
That would have been the mature thing to do, but Gilbert reacted like a spurned teenage girl trashing James as a hopeless loser, coward and quitter. It makes you wonder why he didn’t trade or cut James years ago. Lindsay Lohan demonstrated more poise than Gilbert as the judge sentence her to 90 days in jail. Gilbert bashing of LeGone was meant as a show of solidarity with discouraged Cavaliers fans, but it overestimates how much ill will they will have for James.
They’re all disappointed, but most of them are sophisticated to know basketball is as much business as sport. They had seven years of good times with James and it was he, not Gilbert, who made basketball relevant in Cleveland again. Nobody went to Quicken Loans Arena to watch Dan Gilbert own. They sold out the joint to watch LeBron play and as much as it will hurt to see him wearing the colors of the Heat, many of them will do so because they love LeBron, not the guy who signed his paychecks for five years.
Despite Gilbert’s blustery bravado, the Cavs are headed into a long, dark tunnel and apparently they’re going to go into the gloom cursing James all the way. He had the best player in the world playing for him and he couldn’t win with him. How does Gilbert convince season ticket holders the absurd suggestion the Cavs are a better team now without James? With Jamario Moon as their new starting small forward? Anger may be a purifying emotion, but as bleak as the immediate future looks for the Cavs it won’t take them anywhere near the heights they achieved as part of the LeBron James Flying Circus.
LeGone now has something he never had before: enemies. He just went from one of the most admired athletes in America to one of the most reviled. Every great baller had a rival, an opposite number, the one guy who was guaranteed to get under his skin. Michael Jordan had Isiah Thomas and his Bad Boy Pistons. Magic had Bird. Kobe had Shaq and the state of Colorado. Now James has Gilbert. He’s also sure to be booed lustily on his next visits to New York, New Jersey and Chicago who were also deemed unworthy by King James.
There was a joke making the rounds on Facebook before James made his announcement he was dust in the wind. It went: Apple is releasing a special edition LeBron I-phone. Problem is, it only vibrates because it doesn’t have a ring. All right, nobody said it was a funny joke. The real fun starts next season when LeGone returns to Little Danny Gilbert’s House of Hate.