We Are All Witnesses

Witness Poster

We Are All Witnesses. We all know the slogan. We all know where we’ve seen it. We all know who it refers to. Do we know what it means?

Think about that slogan/saying/motto/mantra/whatever for a little bit. Think about what it makes the “we” in question, and think about what it does not make us. We are not LeBron James’ family. We are not LeBron James’ friends. We are not part-owners of LeBron James, nor do we hold shares of him. We are not LeBron James’ bosses or employees. We are not his defenders or his prosecutors. We are not his judge or jury. We Are All Witnesses. We have all watched.

Cleveland owned the Browns long before Art Modell bought them, took them, and moved them. Likewise, Cleveland owned the Cavaliers long before LeBron James joined the team. Cleveland will own the Cavaliers long after LeBron James leaves.

Cleveland does not own LeBron James. LeBron James was born in Akron. He was drafted by his hometown Cavaliers, who signed him to a contract. He played at a high enough level to make his contract a relative bargain. He then signed an extension with the Cavaliers. Again, he played at a high enough level to more than justify the money he was given by the Cavaliers.

LeBron does not owe the Cavaliers any more than he has given them. LeBron has never needed to pay off some cosmic debt to Cleveland. He’s done all he can to bring a title to the city, but it was never about anybody forcing LeBron to win a title for the Cavaliers. He tried to win Cleveland a title because he wanted to. Cavs fans just got to watch.

We are not LeBron James, and LeBron James is not us. On the court and off of it, LeBron has only allowed himself to appear tangentially human. On the floor, LeBron is the most blessed player the game has ever seen. Nobody has ever had his combination of size, speed, and explosiveness. He can see plays in a split second that most people couldn’t dream up given all the time in the world. He’s more skilled with his off hand than most forwards are with their dominant one. He can hit insane shots from anywhere on the court, and often makes them simply to prove he can.

He also refuses to make the concessions to fundamental basketball that so many people have demanded him to make. His shot selection is often baffling. He refuses to put himself in the post and use his combination of size and strength to dominate with a minimum of effort. He’s never developed a solid mid-range game, and he’s not even a lights-out free throw shooter. Sometimes, it’s like being the best isn’t good enough for LeBron; he needs to be the best while proving that his own way of doing things works better than all the ones that existed before it.

Off the court, LeBron is even less accessible than he is on it. He wants to be the richest athlete of all time, yet he surrounds himself with his high school buddies. He’s constantly cracking jokes and playing the buddy-buddy role with his teammates, but he keeps the general populace at arm’s length with a bizarre gumbo of warmed-over team-first mantras and a healthy dose of self aggrandizing-behavior. He wants to be Warren Buffet, but he wants to be a big kid as well. He wants to be One of The Guys, but he wants to hand-pick who gets to be One of The Guys.

He has refused all archetypes. He is not the intense workaholic whose desire to win dominates all other aspects of his personality. He is not the happy-go-lucky kid who just wants to play the game and have fun. He is not the suave businessman who controls everything in front of him. In trying to be all of those things, he has become none of them. He has become larger than life, but not in the way he wants to be. He is Alice after eating the cake, too big to fit through the door to the garden and too far down the rabbit hole to come back. And he might not even care.

Tonight, the eve of what was supposed to become LeBron’s big day, is instead the nadir of his career. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and all the hype and adoration that LeBron James inspired has come crashing down upon his ringless self. He is a King without a crown, and now he is being criticized for daring to take the throne. All LeBron did was play basketball very well and lap up every bit of praise lavished upon him for doing so. Whatever LeBron is other than a basketball player, we made him into. Now we have taken it upon us to punish LeBron for his hubris, and ourselves for trusting it. What the gods wish to destroy, they must first label as promising.

Tonight, LeBron is a man without a country. He hasn’t won the championship that would endear him to the fans who want a winner, and he hasn’t stayed humble or loyal enough to the fans who want their superstars to be paradigms of truth, justice, and the American way. He never brought his hometown team to the promised land, and he’ll never be truly worshiped there unless he does. If he leaves, he will go to a new team, a better team, in a bigger city. There, he will never be fully embraced, because he needed to take a shortcut to greatness. If he stays and does not win a championship, he will forever be seen as a player too weak-willed and weak-skilled to have ever truly been great. Even if he stays and does take the Cavs to a championship, he’s gone too far down the aforementioned rabbit hole to ever be the humble, team-first, hometown hero he wants Cleveland to see him as.

On Thursday, LeBron will have a new contract, and may someday get a championship ring. What he will never be is what he was once supposed to be; a player so great that he would unite all basketball fans under his banner, and achieve the kind of consensus greatness that Jordan once did.

He may unite great players under his banner, he may unite the mainstream media and his team’s fanbase under his banner, and he may unite the stat geeks under his banner, but he will never have the mob appeal to match his snob appeal. That ship has sailed, regardless of whether or not he stays in Cleveland.

This was supposed to be LeBron’s year. It was the seventh year of his career; Jordan won his first championship in his seventh year. It was his best individual season ever, both on the stat sheet and in terms of his evolving skills. He had more quality veteran players around him than he ever had before. His team was built to win a championship, not just impress in the regular season. With his contract coming up and a veteran team around him, it was do-or-die time, the time when the great ones are supposed to reveal what it is that makes them great.

If LeBron’s career was scripted, this would have been the year he finally won a championship. The Celtics’ defense didn’t care about any of that, and now the LeBron honeymoon is over. The first act of LeBron James’ career is over, and it ultimately turned out to be a tragic one. From a narrative standpoint, LeBron has tasted true, inexcusable, and lasting failure.

“A life, Jimmy, you know what that is? It’s what happens while you wait for moments that will never come.”

-Lester Freamon, The Wire

We are not LeBron. LeBron is not us. LeBron does not owe us anything. We do not own LeBron. What we do own is the moments that LeBron gave us over the last seven-plus years.

The moment that you turned on ESPN2, saw St. Vincent/St. Mary’s beat Oak Hill, saw LeBron find Romeo Travis with a behind-the-back feed, told any other 8th grader who would listen that this kid was for real, and thought maybe the Cavs might get this kid in the draft? You own that moment.

When the ping-pong balls went Cleveland’s way? We own that moment. When LeBron showed up in that white suit and there was suddenly hope in Cleveland? We own that moment. When LeBron started owning summer league and then got a near triple-double against the Kings in his NBA debut? That moment is ours as well.

How about when LeBron became a legit MVP candidate at 21 years old, then tiptoed the baseline to beat the Wizards in his first-ever playoff series? Yep, that moment is ours. 25 straight points to beat the Pistons in double overtime and take a rag-tag team to the finals? Nobody can take that away. Then there was LeBron in the 2008 playoffs, fighting to the bitter end in a seven-game series against the eventual champs.

Then there was the 2008-09 season, when LeBron somehow took his game to another level and emerged as a dominant force en route to his first MVP award. Even against the Magic, LeBron managed to keep Cleveland’s hopes alive by draining an off-balance, buzzer-beating three in game two. This season, LeBron raised his game and led the Cavs to a 61-game season despite some new acquisitions and a slew of injuries, and nearly every one of those games was a small masterpiece in its own right.

There were the bad moments as well. When the Cavs collapsed down the stretch in 04-05 and missed the playoffs. When the Cavs couldn’t quite finish off the Pistons in game six of the 2006 playoffs. When LeBron took a good portion of the 06-07 season wandering around the perimeter and only trying to take over the game when he felt like it. When LeBron looked like a completely over-matched 21-year old against the Spurs that same year. When LeBron came up just short in his duel with Paul Pierce in 2008. When LeBron couldn’t quite finish off his masterful game one performance against the Magic in 2009, and had that sloppy fourth quarter and overtime in game four of the same series. Then, of course, there was LeBron getting completely demoralized and overpowered by the Celtics’ defense this season, backing down from the challenge he was supposed to embrace.

Off the court, there were the times LeBron had one eye on the bright lights New York or New Jersey/Brooklyn. When it seemed like he wanted to be a global icon more than he wanted to be the best player ever. When he may have told Nike to destroy tapes of a college kid dunking on him. When he was out pimping some self-serving biography. When he acted like he was the one with the right to take Jordan’s number and wear Bill Russell’s. We own all of those moments the same way we own the good ones.

All of those are just the big moments. There was also the night-in, night-out pleasure (and pain) of watching LeBron play. Every time he would lull his defender to sleep with a slight hesitation dribble and explode to the basket. Every time he would shrug off a big man and convert an impossible and-1. Every time he made a jumper few other players would be able to get all the way to the rim. Every time he got the ball in the open court and you told your friends to shut up and watch what was about to happen. Every time he threaded the ball through a hole nobody but his teammate knew was there. Every time he snuck up behind an unsuspecting opponent who thought he had an easy transition layup. Every time the game was close in the last five minutes and you knew LeBron had it under control. There were thousands of those moments, and LeBron gave us every one of them.

(The bad little moments; every time LeBron got in in the post and hesitated to go at his defender, every heat-check, every missed free throw, every stutter-step 20-footer with time on the clock, every off-balance mid-range shot, every time he would dance 30 feet from the basket instead of running the offense.)

Last Saturday, me and a few friends of mine went on a hike. We were led to believe it would be a three-hour day hike, but we ended spending nearly all day climbing up a freaking mountain. It was miserable. At some point during the hike/climb, I realized that a goal-oriented view of hiking makes very little sense. Was the moment I was working for the moment I got to the top of the mountain, only to realize I was now going to have to scramble down this freaking thing? Was it the moment we got to the car, too exhausted to do anything but drive to the nearest gas station, buy a bunch of Gatorade, and drink it in silence? Was it when we got home and finally got to shower? Which one of those moments was supposed to make the whole miserable experience worthwhile? Was it when we could tell very unimpressed people that we climbed a relatively small peak?

The answer, of course, is none of them. If you don’t enjoy the process of hiking/climbing mountains, there is no way to justify the activity. Professional cyclists often talk about how the love of suffering itself is something all good cyclists must have on one level or another. More and more, I feel the same way about being a sports fan. If you’re waiting for that one game, one moment, one play, one championship, three championships, that will make all that suffering go away and let you feel nothing but warm inside when you think about your favorite players and teams, I suggest taking up quilting. To be a die-hard fan is to suffer. You just have to enjoy the little victories that you find while you’re suffering.

Maybe you believe that all the great things LeBron James did in the last seven years were just a dress rehearsal for the moments when he ultimately failed to deliver. Maybe you believe that all the good things you thought about LeBron over the years were revealed to be the products of deceit when LeBron started acting like a jackass who believed himself to be bigger than the game this summer. I suppose those are valid viewpoints. They do not happen to be my own.

For the first two years of his career, LeBron James was perhaps the most exciting prospect the game has ever known. For the next three years of his career, LeBron was an underaged MVP candidate who gave the Cavs a fighting chance at a championship. For the last two years, LeBron has been a dominant individual force who turned the Cavs into true championship contenders. For the last seven years, Cleveland basketball has been something to feel good about. When you think about it, that’s something.

If LeBron does decide to stay tomorrow, it will still never be the same as it was before; LeBron is no longer the golden child, and the Cavs won’t have the buzz around them that they once did. If he does leave, it will be one of the lowest moments in the history of one of the most tormented American sports cities. Either way, an era will officially end tomorrow.

The seven seasons that made up the (1st act of?) the LeBron Era in Cleveland ultimately ended in disappointment, failure, heartbreak, misery, doubt, bitterness, and plenty of suffering for everyone who lived and died with LeBron and the team he led. Personally, I wouldn’t trade those seven years of watching LeBron play for anything in the world.


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cavaliers girl
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cavaliers girl
8 years 5 months ago
when lebron james left, cleveland was first frozen. then slowing awakening to what just happened, the shock of betrayal. quickly this shock turned into sadness making grown men,women, elderly, and even fellow players of lebron cry. it was that feeling that you lost someone dear to you. i was the feeling of having a loved one die so suddenly in the beginning of their life. but that sadness didn’t last long, as clevelanders began to have the feeling as if they have just gotten dumped. cleveland started to fury. burning lebron’s t-shirts in the streets, screaming his name in betrayal. watching him with evil eyes. lebron has seen this coming for a long time. lebron can never roam the streets of cleveland again. for i hope to see the day when lebron comes on his hands and knees begging to come back after cleveland has won championships before him, and i hope to see the reaction on his face when cleveland will come together and say “no”,”not again”. that’s when he will see what he’s done. for in the day when miami faces the cleveland cavaliers, he will see the state he has left us in. anger. but we will… Read more »
Michael
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Michael
8 years 5 months ago

Wow amazing article. So eloquent.

ozward
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ozward
8 years 5 months ago
Hey John, Really like your writing. Bummed me out though, that TrueHoop linked to this post as an eloquent Cavs fan take. As nice as this post is, I can’t help but hear the non-Ohio in your perspective. So much of your analysis/writing comes from the brain. Great. But you lose the heart aspect of everything when you talk about memories. John, because you don’t have Cleveland sports memories. You have Cavalier memories. Did it bum you out the Browns left town? Game 7 1997 meltdown? I saw Bron play in high school at the Q. I graduated HS the same year as him. My emotional attachment to him/the Cavs is compounded by my love for Cleveland sports. His actions always had more weight (fair or not) than any other athlete I’ve ‘witnessed’ in this town. Yes, the memories of having a great athlete playing on your team are great. But I can’t help but notice the fact that your perspective actually lacks the memories that make up the heart of a true Cleveland sports fan. Which is fine. You don’t need to be from the area to write nice analysis of games or players. You don’t need to have… Read more »
bullshooter
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bullshooter
8 years 5 months ago

I think the point is we as sports fans, but more specifically you as Cavs went from being witnesses to accomplices. Lebron brought everybody in one his spectacle and made himself bigger than the game. And then he took all of those people and made them fools because they cared. Instead of sharing and explaining his dream to go play with his super talented friends, he turned us into suckers. His show last night was a like a Jerry Springer where they have the schmuck on stage and his baby’s momma comes out and tells him he isn’t the father. Cleveland’s “witnesses” didn’t deserve that. Dan Gilbert didn’t even deserve that. As dumb as his reaction was, Gilbert treated Lebron like a hero, someone who deserved all the special treatment. Lebron treated him like a guy who signs a check and all of the Cavs fans like stiffs with nothing but $20 bills in their pockets. Think about that.

Nevermind
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Nevermind
8 years 5 months ago

good for you. great article

Mark
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Mark
8 years 5 months ago

Sorry…Him is Bosh!

Greg
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Greg
8 years 5 months ago

Congrats Lebron. Maybe now you will get a ring. If you stayed will cleveland you wouldn’t get a ring.
Cleveland is cursed and will always be cursed. I think seven years of trying to get a ring is long enough. The Cavs will never get a ring now. Shame on you Cleveland for burning his jersey. It just goes to show you how low class Cleveland can be. If you want a ring then fire the GM and all front office staff members.

I will always be a King James fan. He will get a ring in 2 years.

Mark
Guest
Mark
8 years 5 months ago

Why don’t you work for ESPN? This is maybe the most thoughtful piece I’ve read in my life. I am from Toronto and although I wouldn’t compare him leaving the Raptors to Cleveland’s pain I feel the same way you do. He gave us what he had and it wasn’t good enough but he owes me nothing. You have to do whats best for you and the people who burn his jersey and hate him are the same idiots who set cars on fire after their team wins!!!! Enjoy the journey and live in the moment….good or bad.

Siva
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Siva
8 years 5 months ago

Here Kitty Kitty, no tears Kitty Kitty

TJMan
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TJMan
8 years 5 months ago

So again John, with all due respect to your literary genius, I challenge you to rewrite this piece by taking out MJ in your memory as if he never existed. Then let’s see how you will rate Lebron to himself alone rather than to the greatest one to play the game. Lebron never promised he’ll do what MJ did, nor did he promise he’ll surpass it. The problem began when we all expected it. 

TJMan
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TJMan
8 years 5 months ago

(continued) 8th attempt at posting this

And one more thing i noticed in this piece after reading it again, not once did you mention Phil Jackson. You allude to Mj so much and his Bulls teammates but you never mentioned who made him who he was. MJ himself had acknowledgeqd that he would not have achieved what he did without Phil. And whether he admits or not, so does Kobe. 

TJMan
Guest
TJMan
8 years 5 months ago
My 5th attempt at posting this. I was going through a roller coaster of emotions the whole time I was reading this great piece.  But as great as it is I can’t help but find this line stuck in my head.  “On Thursday, LeBron will have a new contract, and may someday get a championship ring. What he will never be is what he was once supposed to be; a player so great that he would unite all basketball fans under his banner, and achieve the kind of consensus greatness that Jordan once did.” John with all due respect to your experience and literary gifts, i challenge you to rewrite this great piece and take out one key aspect from your mind: that Michael Jordan ever existed.  The problem i still see in the NBA is that since MJ left we’ve (myself included) all been looking for the next MJ. But that was when we all screwed up the careers of all the talented players that have come and gone since him. What an unfair barometer to be put up against.  Seriously. Its like asking every prophet after Jesus if he can be like Jesus.  In my book nobody can… Read more »
TJMan
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TJMan
8 years 5 months ago

Thanks for never posting my reply coz I disagreed with you and challenged you to rewrite this pretending MJ never existed. You’re awesome

Josh
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Josh
8 years 5 months ago

Wow, you write this like LeBron is supposed to be some kind of a supernatural Mesiah. LeBron is just a man, no more. This guy was given what, 90 million when he was 18, touted to be the next Michael, and it comes as some sort of a surprise that he has an ego? He is not perfect, figure it out. LeBron did what he could for the Cav’s and things didn’t work out the way they were supposed to, as many things often do not. Nobody should blame him for leaving the Cav’s but I guess we will have to hear Cav’s fans whine for generations to come. Too bad.

AJones
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AJones
8 years 5 months ago

This thread is populated with those who apparently have the ability to type but not read. One of the main points of this article is not what LBJ did but how he did it. This is, yes, a tired saying in every breakup, but at the same time, there are classy ways to act and there are the other ways. LBJ can be a frustrating player to watch on the court, but this preposterous event was far more than frustrating. It was distasteful to me long before the decision was announced. By the way, I’m not from Cleveland and not a Cavaliers fan. In the past month, we just learned the NBA regular season doesn’t matter and the NBA’s best player is a thoughtless egomaniac.

Panger
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Panger
8 years 5 months ago

John,m

As an outsider looking in on the Cleveland trauma, I was one of the swarm in the LeBronathon hive, ready with snarky one-liners, breathless posturing, and finally, feigned boredom…

Then I read this. First, such a clean, elegant piece of writing. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find it in the New Yorker.

And, going deeper, a poignant, heartfelt elegy that will break any true sports fan’s heart just a little.

Wonderful.

As a thank you, Fred Astaire singing Gershwin: “The memory of all that/No, no, they can’t take that away from me…”

Taylor
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Taylor
8 years 5 months ago

Wow- this article puts it all in perspective. Every so often someone writes something of this caliber that makes me stop and appreciate it all (especially as a Cubs fan).

Thanks for reminding us what being a fan is really about.

Matt
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Matt
8 years 5 months ago

i dont understand how Dan Gilbert can be that mad? Its obvious that players cant win Championships by themselves. MJ never did it and Kobe never did it. If the Cavs really wanted him to stay instead of sitting back and letting him do it himself maybe they should have gone out there and gotten him some real help instead of some wash-up center and 3 point shooters. he did what i think was best for his legacy we will all see that when everyone sees what special things they can do down there in miami to me they will someday be to us now like the Bulls were in the 1990’s. because to me he’s different than MJ they had Pippen along side of him and Rodman aswell LeBron had no one that could compare to those two in my mind and yet he still got the Cavs 60+ games. i just think all u Cleveland fans need to lay off him if u wanted him to stay give him a reason to stay make a move that would actually HELP him.

chris
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chris
8 years 5 months ago

just thought i should say that this was the best basketball piece ive read in a long time

nmgrizz
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nmgrizz
8 years 5 months ago

Thanks for putting your time and soul into this one, great read.

jay
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jay
8 years 5 months ago

stop whining losers.hahahha

Simon
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Simon
8 years 5 months ago

Great piece. I think The Cavs put no-one of worth around him for a full season other than Mo Williams. It was like KG on the Timberwolves all over again. Just as this article says – LeBron owes The Cavs nothing. If they had done a good job and got him good players then he would still be there now. He shouldn’t have done the one hour special show and it was a bad move, but when a team trades or doesn’t re-sign a player is the team at fault? Ladies and Gentleman – this is a business. LeBron madea great business move. Finally he can win a ring.

John B.
Guest
John B.
8 years 5 months ago
This piece of writing was very interesting. I thought it was very well-written and brought alot of truth to the current situation/decision of LBJ. I can only say this. If this is truly how all of Ohio feels towards the “King” then perhaps his decision is justified. “You are only as good as what you can produce” Clevland fans never loved LeBron they loved how he represented them. “We are all Witnesses” simply means shut the hell up and watch because dispite our personal feelings at the end of the day all we can do is watch. No one before him, and probably not for a long time down the road, will we see a prospect with the physical and mental maturity that LeBron possessed. Only to evovle as a true leader in one of the toughest leagues on the planent. From a human stand point I wish him all the best because that what REAL friends, fans, family would want. Let him be happy no matter where he plays. If I could personally talk to Lebron I would tell him don’t worry about all the haters writing this rubbish just so they can have something to do. In trying… Read more »
vj
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vj
8 years 5 months ago

Yo, JK, respect! Finally, someone with perspective!

dmortone
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dmortone
8 years 5 months ago

Great post, I’m a Hawks fan so I have no emotional reaction whatever Lebron does, but the part in your article about enjoying the momemts did speak to me in my horror of Joe Johnson being paid more than anybody on the Heat.

pao
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pao
8 years 5 months ago

great piece man. personally, i dont understand all the hating (unless if youre a cleveland fan! haha). but really, who wouldn’t want to see IF two of the top 3 players in game playing on the same team can torch the entire league?

to Mr. Gilbert
Guest
to Mr. Gilbert
8 years 5 months ago

Way to Go Dan! You took the words right out of my mouth!! Bye, Bye Lebron. Who needs you?

Paul A.
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Paul A.
8 years 5 months ago

“If you’re waiting for that one game, one moment, one play, one championship, three championships, that will make all that suffering go away and let you feel nothing but warm inside when you think about your favorite players and teams, I suggest taking up quilting. To be a die-hard fan is to suffer. You just have to enjoy the little victories that you find while you’re suffering.”

Spoken like a true Cleveland sports fan. Yes, enjoying the journey is part of the experience, but the championship is the payoff for sticking with your team through thick and thin (same should go for the players too).

Ryan Carey
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Ryan Carey
8 years 5 months ago

Nice piece John.

I read it yesterday and I re-read it again tonight.

A little more suffering won’t hurt us Cav fans – we had our fun. I will steal a comment made from a buddy of mine – “At least he left us the gift of hate.”

Yes LeBron – we hate you tonight. Many will hate you forever. I won’t hate you forever – but as a Cleveland fan I will always be rooting against you from now on. Don’t hate ME for that – it’ll be more fun that way. Good Luck and I hope you enjoy being the villain as much as you did being the “King”.

Jason
Guest
Jason
8 years 5 months ago

I truly feel for Cleveland fans. If this happened to Boston I’d be super pissed. I realize Lebron wanted to help the boys and girls club (at least that’s the reason given for having the big announcement), but he could have just donated some money himself and saved face by not making it such a spectacle. If he went back to Cleveland, it would have been fine. But by not doing so, turning the whole thing into a circus is very disrespectful to the city of Cleveland in my opinion.

Brundylop
Guest
Brundylop
8 years 5 months ago

Dear Rob H,

If you are going to respond and criticize the blog post, you should first read it. If you had read it, then you would have know that this was posted BEFORE Lebron announced his decision. If you read this post, then you would know that this is one of the most thoughtful and reasonable posts about Lebron out there.

To specifically refute your accusations would be giving them too much credit. I doubt you can appreciate the humor in your accusing somebody of a crime that exists only in your head.

Congratulations on the excellent post, John. Please don’t let the ignorant get to you (there’s a lot of them on this here internet, especially when it comes to sports)

Tom Martin
Guest
8 years 5 months ago

Dammit, John – this is one of those pieces that makes me go back and look at everything I’ve ever written and find all of the ways that I’ve fallen short of what you’ve just written. But perhaps that’s a good thing. Well done.

Rob H
Guest
Rob H
8 years 5 months ago

Dear Mr.Krolik,

You are a very bitter Cleveland fan. Why do you keep mentioning LeBron James as a jackass? Also, you truly believe James is a jackass and selfish, but you try to pass your opinion off by suggesting that is the general view of Cleveland fans.

Alex
Guest
Alex
8 years 5 months ago

John, thank you for that wonderfully written piece. I think it perfectly sums up the experience of the Cavs’ last seven years. Once I’ve calmed down a bit and my friends/family ask how I as a Cavs fan feel about this situation, I will point them directly to this post. Keep up the great work.

Mitch
Guest
Mitch
8 years 5 months ago

I wish nothing but bad fortune for LeTraitor. May you and your buddies in ‘South Beach’ get your a s s e s kicked by all the teams in the NBA for however your long your together. I hope LeTraitor NEVER wins a single championshio in his evil career.

Randy
Guest
Randy
8 years 5 months ago

Go enjoy Miami MR JAMES. Do us all a favor and never return to Akron or Cleveland. Please move your business offices to the south and try to give your house to your neighbors so they can start an amusement park ( Michael Jackson is rolling over in his grave ) Go away and stay away. I will no longer support or purchase any item or company you endorse or promote or get receive monies from. So long Nike. The fans in Cleveland supported your antics for years and this is what they get. Kicked in the face cause you need a ring. The NBA is becoming a laughing stock. You and your friends have created this joke. Hope your laughing cause i am not. I will never watch another NBA game again. ESPN please stop patronizing this rich SOB and get on to more important things. Heard a jart league has started and I wanna read more about it.

tim
Guest
tim
8 years 5 months ago

Greedy, self-centered, piece of fecal matter. To go on national TV to kick Cleveland in the nuts? Are you kidding me?
Complete and utter scumbag, low-life fuckhead, douche.

pepito
Guest
pepito
8 years 5 months ago

great writeup man! :)

Andrew
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Andrew
8 years 5 months ago

All we can say is we tried. I don’t think LeBron realizes the amount of hate his hometown will have for him now.

MatthewNYC
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MatthewNYC
8 years 5 months ago

Aww man, RCF went behind a password wall. I knew I should have registered. :[

Here’s a livestream from Greenwich:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/lebron2010#utm_campaign=www.coveritlive.com&utm_source=1054152&utm_medium=social

jonathan
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jonathan
8 years 5 months ago

Hey guys, how’s everyone doing?

Kevin
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Kevin
8 years 5 months ago

Rick, I doubt Gilbert would have ever purchased the team if LeBron was never in the equation, but that post was hilarious. Good job on bringing comedy to an otherwise dark situation.

rick in boise
Guest
rick in boise
8 years 5 months ago

LOL, James – excellent point (alas!)

Had another thought.. WHAT IF… Cleveland didn’t get the top pick that year… and LBJ is somewhere else and considering Cleveland?

#1 Sans LBJ, this team would have evolved VERY differently (we’d have the sidekicks?)

#2 If he “came home”.. imagine that feeling?

p.s. I still like the LBO idea…. ;) I do think there’s a surprise lurking just ahead…

James
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James
8 years 5 months ago

rick, have you ever watched a “one-hour special?” It’s usually about something that takes about 30 seconds to announce, but they fill the rest of the show with BS to get more advertising time. Examples would be Al Capone’s Vault or the last episode of any reality tv series.

rick in boise
Guest
rick in boise
8 years 5 months ago
LBJ leaving = Glibert losing $200-$300 million in market value in a blink – he knows that, so what could Dan G do? (And won’t the Chinese be infuriated after investing in 15% of the Cavs?) And so…. Why the hour-long show? 60 minutes of puppies, kittens & cute kids, as LBJ thanks Cleveland for 7 great years? [entirely possible, I admit] OK – here’s a different premise. What if The Decision is something completely unexpected? The Clippers? [After all, he dismissed them so thoroughly & quickly… but OK] a 1-year deal, guaranteed in case of a lockout? (or a 2-3 year deal to give Cleveland one last chance? Well, it’s possible) Or…. a real blockbuster like… Dateline Cleveland (AP) M&A powerhouse Clayton Dubilier announces a leverage buyout of the Cleveland Cavaliers for $500 million by an international investor group including Worldwide Wes, Maverick Carter, [insert various names] and retaining Dan Gilbert & his Chinese partner as minority investors. Per league rules, newly-resigned star Lebron James cannot be a shareholder but did received warrants for 20% of the new corporation that can be exercised only post-retirement and no earlier than 2020.” “Gilbert remarked that “It is time for the NBA… Read more »
comrade brad
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comrade brad
8 years 5 months ago

I knew you’d sum it up well, Krolik. I’ve been consciously ignoring the entire egomanic spin cycle, but wanted to check in to get some quick context. I’ll still be reading this blog next year (if you’re still writing it) no matter who is on the goddamn team.

James
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James
8 years 5 months ago

J.A. Adande asked Cleveland fans to fill in the blank on twitter: “If LeBron leaves Cleveland will still have _____”

I must say I enjoyed this response: “at least an ounce of class…which is more then Lebron can claim.”

Kevin
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Kevin
8 years 5 months ago

Now Rick Puker is saying LeBron is either going to Cle or NY. WTF

Dave
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Dave
8 years 5 months ago

What evidence is there that he’ll announce he’s leaving for Miami? I may not have seen all the information, but from what I know, Broussard has “sources” which said that’s where LeBron’s going, and LeBron apparently is having a party in South Beach. Haven’t several of you guys been saying for weeks that rumors and speculations from “sources” don’t have any credibility? And haven’t you been saying that his chosen locations for events are similarly meaningless? I don’t understand why nearly everyone seems so positive all of a sudden that he’s leaving Cleveland.

Denny
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Denny
8 years 5 months ago

@Mitch

If this is all a big charade for the ratings and he STAYS will you still stand by your word? Not one of “US” anymore?! Really?!

Sometimes I think Cleveland fans deserve this type of treatment with their horrid attitudes. Guy busts his butt for us 7 years running and now he MIGHT be moving to Miami (hell, which one of us wouldn’t want to live in Miami?) and we say he’s a classless hack who is not from here anymore. Conveniently forgetting everything he did and going on a revisionist history bender.

If he stays I hope people like you eat some serious crow.

Chris UK
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Chris UK
8 years 5 months ago

Most of the current rumblings say he’s staying in Cleveland. The more I think about Miami, as fun as it would be for those guys, I’m not sure it would work.

I think this is this a flirtation just to make EVERYONE watch his TV show. If he says Cleveland he’s a hero. Everything else is negative – if he says NY he wants to be a brand. And as Simmons said, moving too Miami screams “I need help”. Chicago, maybe, but I just don’t buy it.

Heck, give the guy a break until he actiually says he’s going. II think he’s staying.

Colin Zvosec
Guest
8 years 5 months ago

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Mitch
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Mitch
8 years 5 months ago

I’d trade in the last 7 years easy if I knew what whas likely to happen tonight. In the end, Lebron is proving one thing – he knows nothing about dignity or class. He’s not one of ‘US’ northeastern Ohians anymore – and should immediately stop referring to himself as King of Akron – I for one, a lifelong 330-er now suddenly take great offense to his chosen moniker. He’s not from Akron from tonight on – we disown this cold-hearted fool who thinks nothing of publicly assassinating and humiliating Ohio. Thanks John for thoughtful posts over the years.

Andrew
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Andrew
8 years 5 months ago

Best piece I’ve read about LeBron all offseason, great work Mr. Krolik.

Rich
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Rich
8 years 5 months ago

Here’s what is going to be the real knife…a 5 year deal. If he signs a 5 year deal with miami it will be the real killer for me.

Kevin
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Kevin
8 years 5 months ago

Yeah, we should sign and trade him for Beasly so we can get another POS

B.Ross
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B.Ross
8 years 5 months ago

Amazing piece. Is a sign and trade starting to look a little more comforting or what?

Justin
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Justin
8 years 5 months ago

ok star wars references and trolling aside, his decision impacts NE Ohio in a huge way. All I know is that I’m preparing for the worst.

Ace
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Ace
8 years 5 months ago

“On Thursday, LeBron will have a new contract, and may someday get a championship ring. What he will never be is what he was once supposed to be; a player so great that he would unite all basketball fans under his banner, and achieve the kind of consensus greatness that Jordan once did.”

This situation really feels like a tragedy to me. A waste and corruption of the greatest talent the game has ever seen. It truly reminds me of this final scene from Star Wars Episdode III when Anakin falls to the Dark Side and Obi-Wan tells him

“You were the Chosen One! You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring Balance to the Force, not leave it in Darkness!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSwy412nttI#t=6m22s

(watch for about 1 min)

Rich
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Rich
8 years 5 months ago

I’m still waiting for Gilbert, knowing he has a large ego of his own, to get up and spoil LeBron’s fn tonight by beating him to the punch. That’s what I want.

Kevin
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Kevin
8 years 5 months ago

I wonder what Austin Carr is thinking right now? He’s always been such a staunch LBJ supporter–as well he should be since Gilbert is signing his paycheck. But if LeBron leaves, will AC have the guts to stand up and say something?

Stefan
Guest
8 years 5 months ago

Another piece of disappointing news for the Warriors. Check out my thoughts on the NBA offseason thus far:

sportsaccordingtome.com

Jamie
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Jamie
8 years 5 months ago

This is, hands down, the best piece I’ve read about the entire Lebron ordeal. Really well written, man. That’s all.

Rich
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Rich
8 years 5 months ago

This whole thing is fucking mockery of sports in general. Out of nowhere, CP3 has left his old PR firm and signed with LRMR. Jesus Christ, Simmons article true. They honest to god did make a pact in 2008 and in a couple of years are going to pull this damn thing off.

Rich
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Rich
8 years 5 months ago

Nupe, my friend, for them to have engineerd this whole entire thing, if they don’t win starting day 1, they will be torched.

The Nupe
Guest
8 years 5 months ago

If the Heat don’t win next year – no backlash. If they don’t win within 3 years, then it will be interesting.

Maybe the Cavs believe if they get Flynn, this will keep LeBron as they’ll promise to put on the team anyone represented by his company. At a certain point you make LeBron decisions, not necessarily basketball decisions.

Justin
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Justin
8 years 5 months ago

Bill Simmons made a good point about this earlier, there is no way a team without any role players can win a championship. The superstars would have to play 40 + minutes a game every night just to win. And then, what happens in crunch time? does LeBron or Wade take the lead? what if both of them do? it doesnt make sense i think

AMC
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AMC
8 years 5 months ago

Let’s talk basketball for a minute here. Is a roster of James, Bosh, Wade, Chalmers, Beasley, a bunch of minimum salary vets and second round draft rookies enough to win a ring next year? I don’t think so. I think moving to Miami taints his legacy permanently and will deservedly cause NE Ohio to elevate him to Modell status. But does it even make sense from a personnel angle?

outlawnyc
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outlawnyc
8 years 5 months ago

if lebron cares more about winning than loyalty he absolutely should leave cleveland. If it gives any indication of which way he’s leaning look at the teams he roots for in other sports — it’s not the cleveland browns and cleveland indians.

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