Monday, July 12, 2010
Lebron, Free Agency and a Collection of Losers
One thing is for certain. The train wreck that masqueraded as the free agency scramble for Lebron James sure gave us something to laugh about.
So who doesn't come off looking like douche-bags in the whole "Lebronpalooza"?
I'm trying to see some winners here. ---Maybe it's better to start with the losers. Cavaliers? Check. Dan Gilbert? Check. Jesse Jackson? Check. James Dolan, the Knicks & Nets? Check. The Bulls? Lets come back to them, as I'm not ready to label them losers in this whole mess yet. The Heat? They got Lebron, Bosh & Wade. How can that be a losing proposition? Let's return to that topic later as well. Instead let's start with the city of Cleveland, the Cavaliers and their petulant owner.
The Cav's franchise is now in the toilet. You can't seriously talk about them being better off without Lebron (even if he held them hostage for another 3-4 years). Cleveland basketball has been relevant since Lebron showed up. Fans in the stands is always better than empty seats. You can whine about the the evils of selling your soul but the bottom line is sports franchises will always do a little soul bartering for wins, relevancy, and profit. However, there is no doubt the Cavs, and Cleveland in general, appear desperate and pathetic for pandering to James and then getting jilted. But can you blame them? They were a contender and an exciting team for the first time since Mark Price was nailing 3 pointers back in the 80s. They had the most talented basketball player on the planet playing for them and he threatened to leave if they didn't bow down to his giant billboards and satisfy his every whim. Don't kid yourself and say that he never threatened Cleveland. People in that city know the threat. They felt it for the last 3 years. That city was held hostage. Before his Heat announcement Cleveland didn't even dare call him out for his punk-like attitude in the playoffs. The guy quit on his team. The Owner was right about that. They were scared to say anything negative to him. That's the reality of today's free agent landscape in regards to stars. Here in Utah we have the same situation on a much smaller scale with Deron Williams. '"Make me happy.... or I leave". It's what stars do. But it still makes you sick to your stomach. So Cleveland, you've got nothing but love from me. You were trapped and I have totally sympathy for your plight. You did what every other franchise and city would have done with a megastar and mega-a$$hole like Lebron. Your owner is another story. He was rightly ticked off with Lebron for leaving in the way he did. He spoke for many fans. Still, where's the filter dude? You're not a fan, you are a professional sports franchise owner. You could share your disappointment without getting so nasty. And stupid. The Cavs will win a title before Lebron? That's just dumb. Now you got Jesse Jackson on your case. And some say many blacks are now backing Lebron because of Gilbert's comments (if Mike Wilbon from ESPN's PTI is any indicator). I agree more with Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports News who called the Reverend out for his crazy comments. Jackson's slave analogy is insulting and belittles what slaves went through in this country. Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman would punch Jackson in the face if they were alive today. The spoiled and ridiculously rich and pampered Lebron is in no way like the slave forefathers that toiled before him. Gilbert's anger is not about race, --he would feel the same anger if Lebron was white and meant the same in terms of dollars to his team. It's about $$$$. Jesse Jackson has done and said many things I agree with. This isn't one of them. So both Gilbert and Jackson come off pretty bad here. Douche-bag bad.
The Knicks and Nets lost in this farce. Of course they did. They swung for the fences and struck out big-time. The Knicks especially have egg on their face because they have been planning and hoping (and torpedoing their franchise) for 2 seasons at least to try and land the king of douchiness. Still, can't blame them either can you? Isaiah Thomas had already put the "stank" on the team and it couldn't be much worse for a couple of seasons. Lebron had teased them to the point it was actually getting fun to watch. Yankees caps, shout outs, etc. Unless you were from NY the ultimate rejection here had to make you giggle like a schoolgirl.
So what about the Bulls? They lose out on Lebron and probably more wins and possible titles. But I don't think James seriously considered playing in a place where he would have passed Jordan's statue everyday. I don't care how serious people say the consideration was, I don't buy it for a second. So how can they Bulls really be called losers here when there was nothing to lose. We aren't calling the Timberwolves losers in the "chase" for Lebron ----and realistically the Bulls are in the same category. They got Boozer and they still have a decent-to good team.
The Heat have to be winners in this. They had Dwyane Wade and still were not going anywhere without another star. They might have been good enough with just Wade and Bosh but now you have Lebron, and they become in my mind the instant title favorite (sorry Laker lovers). They have Haslem and Miller and they will have enough other role players. This doesn't mean I want them to win the title. I was a huge fan of Dwyane Wade and now I hope his team burns in hell. ----That's right, I want the Miami Heat to suffer like they have the very chains of Lucifer around their necks. That's what Lebron brings to this team for me. A likeable team becomes the symbol of all that is wrong with the NBA. I'm one of many on this bandwagon and I don't care. I'm not going to get off just so I can be different and contrary. You'll see many folks that will swing that way just because so many of us are miffed about Lebron's behavior. You'll see them excuse him and defend him. Please. Right is right and wrong is wrong. If Lebron wanted to leave Cleveland so be it. I've got no problem with it. But the narcissistic and jerk-like way he went about it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I will actively root against him and his new team. I'm predicting a Wade-James fued when Wade realizes James is the toast of the town and not him. When you invite a snake into your pants you can't be surprised when it bites you in the place you prize the most.
So in the final analysis Lebron to me is the biggest loser of them all. He may gain some of his tarnished legacy back if he wins and wins a lot. Kobe would be exhibit A for that. But he will never shed some of the valid criticisms that have come out of this summer of excess. He did show he is a coward by joining his rivals instead of fighting them. He did abandon and betray his home state. He did show excessive narcissism and an utter cluelessness on how his actions would be perceived. He might think he's global but everyone comes from somewhere and he has played basketball in the same state since he was old enough to dribble. Had he been drafted and played his first contract somewhere else this wouldn't be an issue but Lebron had either the privilege or the curse of playing b-ball his whole life in Ohio and the mainstream public there will never forgive him for leaving for beaches and sun. Because I've already seen it, I suspect it will divide somewhat racially even in Ohio (don't understand that and never will) but overall how does one forgive somebody for public humiliation. An hour-long tv special to say "screw you Cleveland"? What a dog. It's not silly to call Lebron out for all of this. He created it. Kevin Durrant did it the right way. Durrant is class. Lebron is classless. Also, you know you probably screwed up when people are talking about Kobe as the anti-Lebron.....and they mean that in a good way.
Too bad the most talented player to come along in a while has to be such a huge douche-bag.
Hey Lebron, break a leg.......Literally.
Ultimate Loser in the free agency summer of 2010.--- Lebron? Check.