Oh, hey Cleveland. Sorry about that big knife stuck in your back. Let me help you with that! Oh hey, did you know there are some other daggers already in there...
I come not to praise or bury LeBron James. Let me be clear: I have no love for him. I hate Cleveland. I hate "straight to the NBA from high school" stars. I don't much like the NBA. I'm no fan of giant hour long press conferences, either.
What I can't stand, however, is scapegoating.
What happened to the people of Cleveland is too bad, but they should not direct all their rage at a 25 year old man. LeBron had plenty of help.
This man has to be the biggest clown in the NBA. He screwed this scenario up six ways to Sunday, and he'd better not get a free pass. First, right after the Boston series news was leaked that he was going to fire Mike Brown. It was the obvious decision. Forget regular season wins, Brown was a mess. He should have been canned 60 seconds after the Boston series. I applauded Gilbert's decisiveness. But oh! He didn't actually fire Brown. In a classic show of head-up-his-butt-itis, he let Brown dangle for a few more days, THEN fired him. That was my first clue this guy was out to lunch.
Of course the fact that he had LeBron for
SEVEN YEARS FIVE YEARS (note: Gilbert bought the team two years into LeBron's career) and couldn't manage to put a decent coach/GM/team around him should have tipped me off. The corpse of Shaq? Jamison? Boobie Gibson? Seriously? This owner got the break of a lifetime in winning the lottery to get James, and he couldn't manage to build a credible team around him. Gilbert is the real villain of this story. He's a joke.
If we had any doubt as to what kind of psycho this clown is, just read his insane screed written after James left. NO WONDER James didn't stick with this guy! He's completely unhinged. I'm sorry, but as classy as James' press conference wasn't, Gilbert's rant was a million times worst. On top of it all, he promises a championship? HE IS DELUSIONAL. You need players, specifically stars to win titles there Gilly. You aren't ever getting any to come to Cleveland.
Sorry Cleveland, but Gilbert had a knife in your back well before LeBron stabbed you. But, oh...he had help.
The basketball press has been peddling the insane notion that "the only thing that matters is championships" for years. LeBron has heard nothing but "MVPs don't matter, only rings!" and "without a title, you are nothing". Then he does the only thing he possibly can: he chases a ring. How does the media respond: outrage.
LeBron had two options: Chicago or Miami. He was never going to win crap in Cleveland. The Cavs left him no choice. If he goes back to Cleveland, they are no better than the fourth or fifth best team in the East. Because the media refused to let him be a big fish in a
dry small pond, James could not go back there.
Now the media is hacking away at LeBron. Several writers have said that this cheapens James' legacy. We know he's not like Jordan or Bird or Magic. Those guys would never have conspired to form a super team with other stars.
That's true, but do you know why? THEY ALREADY HAD SUPER TEAMS!
Jordan played with Pippen (one of the best players of all time) and Rodman (who had HoF talent when he cared enough to play). Magic had freaking Kareem and James Worthy. Bird? He had three other Hall of Famers in the starting lineup with him! Do you know why Bird and Magic never joined forces? Because they had amazing teams around them. Don't even get me started on Bill "I played with 8 Hall of Famers" Russell. No one ever won a title by himself! LeBron isn't a lesser competitor for wanting to play with Wade and Bosh. He's just smart enough to know he doesn't want to lug four losers around the court with him all year again. I don't blame him a lick for that.
Kobe? Don't even bring up that fraud. 6-24 in game seven of the Finals and THE LAKERS WON! Kobe was not a one man show, not even close. Bashing LeBron for not staying in Cleveland and chasing a ring is insane. The media told him he had to do it. Now they are ripping him because it's popular, but the minute he scores 40 in a Finals game against the Lakers and wins a title, everyone will be back to riding his jock. The whole thing is sickening. Don't tell me his legacy will never recover. Kobe raped a girl. Now look at him. If we've learned anything about legacies in the NBA, it's that they recover (cough, Ron Artest, cough).
They created this monster, and now they want to kill it. Good luck with that. LeBron chased rings, not money. He left cash on the table so he could win. That's the mark of a competitor, not a loser. Had he signed with Cleveland, the same people ripping him for not having the guts to stay would have written that he chose money and comfort over greatness and winning. They would have said that he's scared of the limelight and doesn't have the will to be a champion.
LeBron proved one thing on Thursday: he has the will. He turned down money and stabbed his community in the back for a ring.
Sounds positively Kobian.
If he would have played in Cleveland, LeBron stays. It's that simple. LeBron had to have someone to play with. Bosh, wisely, would rather winter in Miami than in the seventh circle of hell that sits on a frozen lake. I don't blame him for that. Clevelanders should though.
Again, I'm not excusing the way James made his exit. That's been trashed enough by others. I don't blame him at all for leaving. Gilbert and the media made it so there was no way he could stay and be a winner. Bosh refused to bail out the Cavs.
Those are the real villians in this story.