LeBron James: We Were Witnesses Once, and Young

Michael OleszekAnalyst IJuly 9, 2010

Congratulations to you, LeBron James.


You blew it. Big time.


That sound you heard last night as you held NBA fans hostage as they hung on every word until the moment you decided you were going to shun your hometown team was the sound of your massive ego crash landing on South Beach.


I guess it is easy turn your back on everything you’ve ever known? The place where you were Mr. Basketball, a state champion, a No. 1 draft pick, and a place where everyone was a witness.


Forget about landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated while still in high school. Forget that your high school moved its games to the University of Akron so that they could make more money at the gate when you played. Forget all the attention you received when you got a Hummer H2 for your birthday, or the trouble with the free throwback jerseys.


All was forgiven and forgotten because you were the local kid who was destined to make good. The Nike sponsorship and endorsements alone had you set for life before you even set foot on an NBA court. All you had to worry about was playing basketball. You were supposed to bring a championship to Cleveland.


The fans didn’t mind too much when you missed the playoffs your first two years, and they weren’t too upset when the Cavs were swept by San Antonio in the Finals because you had carried them there in the first place.


You were the good athlete. The one who didn’t cheat on his wife, or take his money and start a dog fighting ring, and you were certainly much more mature than Pacman Jones.  

Everything in the city would benefit from you and all you had to do was return the favor with a championship. Too bad all you did to repay them was become the biggest drama queen in America, which given Lindsay Lohan’s week is saying something. At least Lindsay had the balls to say ‘F--- You’ to everyone.


I feel sorry for Cleveland. The city that has had its heart ripped out over the years by the likes of John Elway and Michael Jordan surely wouldn’t have its favorite son just get up and leave on them. I guess now the only chalk they’ll see flying in Cleveland is the one to draw a line around your career.


The only thing that could sting worse is having another bought-and-paid-for team from Miami swipe a championship straight out of Cleveland’s hands. Oh wait, that already happened.


I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you turned your back on everyone. Just watching the playoffs this year against Boston, you could tell you were finished in Cleveland.


Unlike your hero, Michael Jordan, you refuse to do the dirty work. He swallowed his pride and sacrificed his individuality when it mattered most to win a championship. You refused to stay and work with a team that has given you everything and ultimately got nothing in return.


Now, King James, you’re nothing more than a mercenary. You’re a hired gun, with an imagined easy road to an NBA title. The NBA doesn’t pass them out like party favors; you actually have to earn them. With all of your talent, you lack the ruthlessness needed to win a title.


Michael Jordan had it. Larry Bird had it. Magic had it. It’s an inherent gift to be the absolute best in the game. Kobe Bryant, your contemporary and arguably a better player than you, has it. He also has five more rings than you, too.


What’s going to happen when the three egos clash or one of you doesn’t get the ball enough? Are you going to turn your back on your friends then? How about if the Heat bench doesn’t produce? Are you going to put the team on your shoulders?


Can you actually stand back and watch Dwyane Wade carry the team? Or Chris Bosh? What will you do if Pat Riley’s supposed dynasty experiment fails? Don’t forget, he already had one built for him in Los Angeles that crumbled. He had another chance for one in New York with teams better than the Bulls, and they couldn’t get the job done.


So again, congratulations LeBron. You blew it.