Steamboat Springs Nobody has captured the sports world like LeBron James.
He’s the biggest free agent in NBA history, and his choice apparently will change the course of the NBA for the next five to 10 years. You can’t watch any sports without knowing what LeBron is up to.
Interestingly enough, he drove to meetings with the Knicks and Nets on Thursday in a Cadillac Escalade. On Friday, he chose a Range Rover. It’s that type of deal and story.
I admit, I’m not a big NBA fan. The game can slow down to an unwatchable pace, there is too much one-on-one play, four steps still doesn’t constitute a travel, and when one of the top-flight stars misses a shot, he complains like he’s just been robbed.
I’ll watch the playoffs or a game here or there.
But if LeBron leaves Cleveland, I’m done with the NBA.
At some point, you root for cities and not teams. It’s out of principle for Cleveland, a darn good sports town that deserves for something to go right.
I wouldn’t necessarily blame LeBron if he left. Have you been to Cleveland? The Mistake on the Lake is pretty miserable. Outside of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there’s not much there. Cold winters, hot summers and three professional sports teams that never win.
But that’s part of Cleveland’s charm. It’s one of those old Rust Belt towns: blue collar, hardworking, seemingly always in a decline and more than willing to enjoy a beer.
It’s a true sports town that has tried to do things the right way and has a passionate fan base, one that is just as good as New York’s or Boston’s, except it doesn’t win as much and never wins the big one.
There’s a sadistic charm to Cleveland fans. It’s the same with Buffalo. I’m a Buffalo guy, and as a devout fan, you know what you’re getting yourself into each season. In Cleveland, you start the season knowing there’s little hope. But each game, you make your eyes bleed by watching the crap team you’ve pledged an undying love to. Then you wish you’d been brainwashed as a child to like the Yankees, Red Sox or Lakers. At least then it would be easy.
But LeBron changed all that. For once, Cleveland had something to be excited about and to cheer about.
LeBron, don’t go to New York. You’ll make more money, but you’ll deal with the media circus, and at this point, you have the media where Tiger Woods had them before the car crash. They love you.
Don’t go to Chicago. You’ll always have to live up to Michael Jordan. Win seven titles or he’s better. Be your own man.
Don’t go to Miami. South Beach is lovely, but I’m not sure you can share the ball with Dwyane Wade, and all indications are that Wade is staying.
Don’t go to New Jersey. Sure, their new owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, is flashy, and your buddy Jay-Z is a minority owner, but they’re still a couple of years away from moving to Brooklyn.
Buck the trend. Show that loyalty still has a place in sports.
You’re already the King. Why not remain the King of Cleveland — a town that desperately needs a break.