Friday, July 9, 2010

Fuck You Very Much, Cleveland

I didn't watch the farcical one-hour Decision and I won't, but I know what was said, more or less:

Jim Gray: You've made up your mind, LeBron.  Is there anything you'd like to say in parting to those you are leaving behind in Northeast Ohio?

LeBron James: Most definitely.  First and foremost, I'd like to say fuck you, Cleveland fans.  You cheered me from the beginning.  I made it easy by being the greatest high school b-ball player anyone had ever heard of, and when that ping pong ball came up Cavaliers, you were all on board the L-Train. Taking a 17-win team to the NBA finals four seasons later didn't hurt either, and neither did being a two-time MVP.  But hey, you were there for me during those times when I was screwing up, too, when I was accepting contraband gifts as an prep player, when I was driving 100 MPH down I-71, when I was wearing Yankees caps to Indians games, when I was openly showing up other teams with my clowning antics.  Even when I was falling flat in playoff games, you had my back: I didn't have enough help; my elbow was hurting; coach Brown needs to go.  Through the good and the bad you bought my jerseys, shelled out for tickets, filled the stands, never doubting I would deliver a title.  For your undying loyalty, I say fuck you. Fuck you for believing that, just because I tattooed "loyalty" on my chest, I actually meant anything by it.  Fuck you for believing, even up to the bitter end, that I would never betray you on national television.  For that I fuck you from the bottom of my heart.

Fuck you, too, teammates.  You put up with my lack of faith in you.  You stayed positive when I would demand the ball and stall the offense, when I would jack up two or three standstill three pointers in crunch time after running down the shot clock.  You never said a thing because we were a family, after all (I have a tattoo on my chest to prove it).  You never complained because you knew there was always a chance for a title on a LeBron James team.  In the end, though, you were only my teammates, not my Team, and my Team and I are headed to South Beach, fuck you very much.

Can't forget to say fuck you, Dan Gilbert.  You built a state-of-the-art practice facility in my backyard.  You indulged my demands to upgrade the roster.  You turned a 45-win team into a 66-win team.  You were willing to take on one of the highest payrolls in the league, spending millions in luxury tax and committing financially at levels that other owners wouldn't touch, especially in a recession.  All along I held free agency over your head, scaring away the best free agents who sure as hell weren't going to sign without knowing if I was going to sign.  You never balked at approving trades that made the team better and always after consulting your superstar, me, LeBron James.  You spent money on the arena, revitalized a dead franchise, instilled a culture of success.  When we got our asses handed to us in the playoffs year after year, you finally chucked out the most successful coach/GM tandem in team history.  Why?  Because your number one priority, aside from a title, was keeping homeboy at home.  For your devotion to winning and willingness to appease me, I say fuck you very much.

Here's a quick fuck you to Coach Brown.  Fuck you for teaching me how to play defense, and how to win in the playoffs.  Fuck you for guiding me and a collection of overachievers to the NBA finals.  You showed me that great defense trumps great offense.  You staked your job on this philosophy paying off.  It didn't.  Fuck you for getting us close.

I'm not forgetting you, Danny Ferry.  You made some truly creative trades in an effort to win and win now.  You traded Damon Jones for Mo Williams.  Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace for Shaquille O'Neal.  You persuaded arch rival Washington to give us Antawn Jamison for free.  You staked your job on these moves paying off.  They didn't.  Fuck you for all your hard work.

Oh, I should also say fuck you to coach Scott.  You took a real chance, signing a contract without knowing if I would stay or go.  Fuck you for having faith in me; I wish you all the fuck in the world without me.

Fuck you, Downtown Cleveland.  You invested in my potential and it paid off...until now.  Winter after winter you provided oases for hungry and thirsty fans to whet their whistles and watch a game.  You understood how much a successful sports team can bring to a city, and not just financially.  Sports are what make strangers gather in public places and become instant friends.  You plastered my face and name on buildings and bridges.  You were grateful for all I brought to the region, for the revenue that a championship caliber team and a global icon brought to a local economy operating in a constant state of desperation.  Hey, you're welcome Cleveland, and fuck you.  Fuck you so very much.

Gotta say fuck you to Akron, too.  You gave birth to me and raised me, saw me transported from a hundred childhood homes to a palace in one of the city's most affluent areas.  I'll always be the King of Akron.  Fuck you, Akron, forever home to the King.

Fuck you, underpriviledged kids of the Boys and Girls Club, for providing an adorable and heartwarming backdrop to my hour-long ego stroking session on ESPN.  I'll never forget that, a mere seven years and 500 million dollars ago, I was one of you.  Fuck you, broke kids, for participating.

Jim Gray: Well, that should just about cover it, I'd say.  Thank you for being here, LeBron.

Lebron James:  Fuck you for having me, Jim.

nwb

10 comments:

Slider K. Shaftacular said...

I say this as an avowed Bulls fan and the husband of a South Euclid native: LeBron screwed the pooch on this one. Good luck on being regarded as the greatest player ever. You've officially down-graded yourself to role player. MJ is drinking a cold one somewhere.

McBone said...

So is Kobe, since he also relinquished the title of best current player.

nwb

Evan said...

My only problem with what he did was the whole "Decision" charade. He tried to win for seven years in Cleveland. At what point did his career become Cleveland's and not his own. He went to where he thought that he has the best chance of winning, taking at least a 10 million dollar loss in doing so. I could honestly say that I would have done the same thing if I were enthroned, and if you say that you wouldn't. Then you're lying to yourself. The whole reason I love the NBA is for its athleticism as in jumping. Therefore the greatest thrills to me about the game are from dunks. The most consistently high-flying dunker is Lebron James. And even if his off the court decisions aren't up to what I want in a superstar, it doesn't matter. It's simple. I want to watch Lebron DUNK, Wade DUNK, Wade pass to Lebron DUNK, Lebron pass to Wade DUNK, Bosh DUNK, Lebron chasedown block to Wade pass to Bosh spin move pass to Lebron Dunk.

I just took an Ambien so I think my points weregrandll for you to see my way. Thanks again Mr. Boner

Anonymous said...

I disagree. He gave Cleveland 7 years and invested his money and time back into the community. He made a career decision. He wanted a change. He didn’t want to work for his boss anymore and after reading Dan’s rant I don’t blame him. We all “witnessed” Glibert’s unprofessionalism. Akron will always be his home and I’m sure that he will keep writing checks to his city. He won’t sell his house in Bath because who could afford to buy it anyway. Did this hurt Cleveland? Yes, but it wasn’t personal. He never said anything negative about the city. We all saw this coming and if you didn’t then you were being naive. He is not Art Modell. He didn’t take the team away. He is one player whose contract ended. In the end he is in a business and this was a career move. How many of us make career changes for ourselves. Let’s remember we are talking about a recreational activity. It’s just basketball.

McBone said...

Evan,

The whole thing is rotten. I would certainly not have done the same thing. Let's not pretend that the Cavaliers are some second rate franchise. This isn't the Indians we're talking about. He left a great situation. And he dunked a lot for the Cavs.

Anonymous,

I don't know if you are a Cleveland fan, but to us it's more than just basketball. The implications of this stretch far beyond the arena. Like you said, he hurt Cleveland. We'll see to what degree pretty soon. Dan Gilbert may have gone all Mark Cuban on us, but I personally was glad to know beyond any doubt that we have an owner dedicated to winning. Unprofessional? By using that word for Gilbert you are conveniently forgetting what LeBron did on national TV. Not just unprofessional, but crass to the highest imaginable degree.

All players devote time and money to the community to polish their image. The NBA cares, remember?

nwb

Anonymous said...

Well said, Nate.

Let's just call it like it is: Lebron couldn't do it on his own. He couldn't handle the pressure of being the savior for the city of Cleveland. He didn't have the killer instinct we all thought he had (choosing to be a second banana in Miami then being an alpha dog for possible winner in Chicago: screw the Nets, Clippers, & the Knicks). And the guy's single & TWENTY-FIVE years old! He's been in the league since he was 18! (I don't know about you guys but I wasn't thinking rationally at twenty-five much less eighteen.)

In his mindset despite all his great physical attributes and skills, he's still a kid who wants to have fun (not be considered one of the greatest). And where can he have the most fun...MIAMI! Doesn't have the pressure of being the alpha dog, can kick back with his buddies, and maybe (MAYBE) win a title or two. (Don't forget he'll be able to achieve his billionaire status faster in FLA with very lenient tax rates there: and btw Evan, if you think Lebron is worried about leaving ten million on the table with the Heat when he probably made that back in publicity alone because of this Decision bullshit ).

Did he screw Cleveland over with this Decision bullshit & cover up the whole thing by giving the dough to charity? Absolutely. But in the end. He's just a kid who made a bad decision based on 'fun' and probably destroyed his legacy as one of the great ones in the game.

And coming from a Celtics fan, if Wade, Lebron, and Bosh think they can just mail it in because they were the best on their individual teams, are all buddies and they'll just naturally find a way to play together without crushing egos, that 'friendship' is in for a world of hurt. Somebody (or all three) better be willing to sacrifice their games tremendously. Otherwise, it's gonna be a long six years in Miami.

-Dave

Darin said...

Am I deeply disappointed that LeBron left Cleveland? Yes. As a NE Ohio native, I am a die hard fan of all Cleveland sports. I knew there was a good chance LeBron was going to leave, but I never dreamed he would present that "Decision" in such a spiteful way.

He can tell the city that it was a personal decision for him, but it was taken personally by that city.

Part of me says that he can still give back to the community. He can still provide something for the community - if he really cares about it and only left because he truly thinks its better (or easier) to win in Miami. I wish he would continue to play in Cleveland and help give what the city wants more than anything - to win any championship besides the National Spelling Bee. But he made his decision. He's allowed to choose what he wants. He just didn't have to be such a big dick in the process.

For the record, I will always hate Art Modell more.

Darin said...

Oh, but Nate, your post is by far the best piece of writing I've seen on the "LeBron James leaves Cleveland" subject. Brilliantly written.

Darin said...

"Anonymous" Dave, you made one good point. LeBron left for what he describes as "fun." He claims it was a business decision, but it wasn't. It was all about fun. Fun for him at the cost of all of his fans. Oh well.

If it was truly a business decision, would his announcement have been "I'm going to South Beach"? Wouldn't the business side of him said, "I'm going to Miami," or "I'm going to the Heat." He said he was going to South Beach, He's going to the fun.

But as Nate so eloquently wrote, it was a giant FUCK YOU to Cleveland.

You can all make whatever decisions you want, but those that care about you are also allow to decide that it was a dumb decision, take it personally (even if you say its not), and be hurt and let down.

I hope LeBron has "fun" in South Beach, but doesn't win a championship in Miami.

I also hope the Cavs came turn the 5 draft picks they receive from Miami into winning championship.

McBone said...

Thanks, Darin. This is one post I never wanted to write. You're right. He can have all the fun he wants. I just hope he never wins it all. Knowing Cleveland luck, though, I have to like his chances.

nwb