Friday, July 9, 2010
Fuck You Very Much, Cleveland
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.