Heat

LeBron James is Your Problem Now, Miami Heat

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So LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat, teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form one super, cash strapped team. I really don’t care what this does to his legacy or how this affects the NBA or sports in general. LeBron has no real control over those things. But he did have control over how he handled himself during this free agent process. And he handled it poorly, to say the least.

Obviously, him leaving stinks regardless as there was not a right way for him to ditch the Cavaliers. No matter what, if he left, Cleveland fans would’ve been pissed off (not that I can blame ‘em).

But it’s the way he did it that is so…. frustrating? Aggravating? Infuriating? All of the above?

LeBron could have taken the normal free agent tours, visited various franchises as they pitched him business plans and then weighed his options. He could have announced his new deal at a press conference, like literally every other professional athlete. It still would have been pain, but it would have been par for the course.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

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But no, that’s not what LeBron decided to do. Instead, he made all those heavy hitters come kiss his ring at an office in downtown Cleveland (after he went on Larry King and said the Cavs “had the edge”). He announced that he would reveal his choice during one hour live special broadcast on ESPN (allowing them to run the Cleveland sports misery montage in prime time).

Oh, and he called the special, “The Decision.” The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot… The Decision. Awesome. Thanks for giving us the finger on your way out!

There are people out there that will say that LeBron doesn’t owe Cleveland fans anything. And to a certain extent, they’re right. LeBron gave this city seven years of high quality basketball and when he became a free agent, he chose a new destination.

Does he owe us anything? No. But a little f@#$%*& respect would’ve been nice! I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

This is a town that watched him grow up, followed him since high school and ‘witnessed’ him become the MVP of basketball. They cheered him, ignored the slights (the Yankees hat, the gratuitous flirting with other franchises), looked past the faults (hooray for more heat checks) and stuck behind him in the face of national criticism (the worst part of this whole debacle is that I now find myself agreeing with Skip Bayless). Kill me.

Furthermore, the franchise let his family and friends follow the team around. They built a new practice facility and upgraded the lockeroom and arena. Oh, they also built two 60 win squads.

And for the seven years of good times, LeBron slammed the door on Cleveland in the most public and painful way possible.

What kills me is, he doesn’t even seem to understand what he did wrong. He seemed completely oblivious when Michael Wilbon suggested that he might be hated. During his ESPN interview, he acted like the fans should be grateful because he “took the franchise to places [us] fans have never seen.” Gee, thanks.

And sure, he’s right. I’d never seen the Cavs have a 60 win season or get to the NBA Finals. But it’s not like he should be bragging about any of this. His team had homecourt advantage these past two seasons and never even got to a Game 7 before bowing out. I’ve sure as hell seen the Cavs bow out in the second round before… but just not while their best player blatantly quit.

And that’s right. James quit against Boston. There’s no other way to put it (Dan Gilbert sure as hell knows). LeBron needed to step up and he failed. The Cavs had the better team but LeBron never stepped up and became a leader. It was a squad built entirely around him, to “win now.” And when I read garbage like this, I just want to scream.

A source with knowledge of the conversation, said James recently told a friend he would sign with the Heat because he didn’t see enough effort from his Cavaliers teammates in the playoffs.

That’s what was so frustrating about this ESPN lovefest, it’s like LeBron’s performance against Boston never happened. James (…and the Cavs) lost because his teammates (on those back to back 60 win teams) just weren’t good enough (it certainly wasn’t because James never developed a post game or decent shot selection). LeBron’s teammates stink and that’s the story and everyone seems to be sticking to it.

Nevermind the fact that Danny Ferry and company had to build and rebuild those (60 win) Cavalier squads on the fly while James was holding a gun to their heads and playing footsie with the entire league. I highly doubt Mike Brown survives the Orlando series or Gilbert picks up Antawn Jamison’s salary if they had a solid commitment from James. The Cavs could’ve done more (i.e Trevor Ariza) if LeBron committed to the organization.

Instead, James decided to bolt and sign with the Heat for five seasons, which is a bigger commitment than he ever gave the Cavs. (Side note: To add insult to injury he chose Miami where fans are notorious for their lack of loyalty).  At least the entitled New York fans would have appreciated their talents on a nightly basis. Talk about a town that doesn’t deserve it!

All I know is, the Heat better win at least 60 games next season. At least. I mean, we all know James can carry a squad of “scrubs” to 60 win seasons, so he sure as heck better be able to do it with two All-Stars.

No pressure, Bron-Bron.  You *#%^