Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Open Letter to LeBron James

Dear LeBron,

First of all, thanks for the public nutshot to the city of Cleveland. As if The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, Jose Mesa, and The Choke weren’t enough, now we have The Decision to add to that miserable list of sports failures. If it was always your intention to leave that’s fine. You were, of course, a “free” agent. I can understand you caving under the pressure of delivering this region its first major sports championship since 1964. It’s a tall task and obviously you weren’t up to it. Few probably would be. But the public way in which you chose to disclose The Decision was by far the most obscenely egomaniacal thing I’ve “witnessed” in all my years as a Cleveland sports fan.

What makes this hurt the most is that I honestly believed that all they ESPN-driven hype leading up to tonight was a smokescreen. Maybe it was just denial. I thought you and the LRMR management were playing everyone for fools to drum up interest in tonight’s spectacle. I thought in the end you would reveal your true intentions to right the wrongs of this postseason and sign on again with the Cavaliers. After all, you were as one of us. You were the local boy from Akron that could never do wrong in our eyes. But somehow in these last few weeks you managed to take all that local goodwill and flush it down the toilet. Not an easy task, so bravo on that accomplishment. The sudden implosion of your image in northeast Ohio is nothing short of remarkable.

Surely the public display will be defended as an act of charity for the Boys and Girls Club of America. And that’s fine. You covered all your bases. It was a shrewd move and ready-made defense when the accusations fly your way about such a public dismissal of your home team. But please, spare us the outright lie that the decision was made this morning after a long talk with Gloria. Anyone who believes that is as na├»ve as I was when I defended your insanely cocky display of that Yankees cap inside Jacobs Field during the 2007 MLB playoffs.

You have definitely made a fool of me and countless other loyal Cavalier fans who refused to believe that you would ever take that loyalty for granted. What’s most shocking to me is how aloof you seem to the entire process. Almost as if you don’t understand what it means to be from northeast Ohio. And that’s exactly the conclusion I’ve come to. OK, so you were never a Clevelander – you’ve made it clear many times that you were from Akron and just working in Cleveland. But even a real man from Akron would realize the effect tonight’s public stab to the heart would have on this region. You truly are the spoiled boy prince that Skip Bayless has been calling you for years. (I honestly can’t believe these proceedings have brought me to agreeing with that asshole tonight after denying it for so long). I guess one thing I can take from all this is that your true colors have finally been revealed.

So go, enjoy your time in the Miami sun. Enjoy sharing the ball with Wade, Bosh, and six or so as-of-right-now faceless minimum salary scrubs. You will probably have a great regular season and maybe even some success in the postseason. But don’t expect to EVER be welcomed back “home.” You’ve lost your Cleveland privileges.

I read a line this morning by the great Brian Windhorst that read, “hell hath no fury like Dan Gilbert scorned.” I’d like to think that’s true and I’m sure in time the Cavaliers will find a way to recover from this blow. Gilbert has a casino to fill and has proven to always be an active owner willing to do whatever it takes to win. That won’t change anytime soon. And he has to take advantage of the advance tickets sales for next season. You’d better hope Mickey Arison is half as good an owner as what you’re leaving behind in Gilbert because there are going to be problems if you don’t bring a championship immediately to that bandwagon fan base this season.

No matter what, the sun will truly rise again in Cleveland, even without you LeBron. But it’s unlikely that you’ll notice or even care. Just remember that hell also hath no fury like a scorned Cleveland fan. And unlike Carlos Boozer and Art Modell, you won’t be able to get away with only one annual visit “home” in the coming years. You’ll have to bring your posse from South Florida up here multiple times every year. You will have to show your face again and we have long memories when it comes to being screwed over. I guarantee you that it won’t be a pleasant experience. You are no longer royalty here, you’re just another guy who couldn’t get it done in Cleveland. Good riddance.

A Cavs fan before you and a Cavs fan after you

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