LeBron James: Does He Owe the City of Cleveland Anything, or Vice Versa?

James WalkerAnalyst IIJuly 9, 2010

CLEVELAND - JULY 8:  Michael Joseph, 22, waits to hear where LeBron James will play next season July 8, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. The two-time Most Valuable Player made the choice to play for Miami next season. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)
J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

LeBron James made his decision Thursday night on ESPN, and Cleveland Cavaliers' fans are now suffering from the latest heartbreak in the city of Cleveland's long and colorful sports history.

So many different viewpoints are being discussed today revolving around King James' decision to play for the Miami Heat. What most of those discussions are centered on is the subject of loyalty.

Does LeBron James owe Cleveland Cavaliers' fans anything?


Too often, people fall back on history or the past when they explain why they feel the way they do. How often have you heard someone say something like, "Back in my day, you were loyal to the company you worked for" or, "He wouldn't be as rich as he is if it weren't for the fans", etc.?

True, back in the day when an athlete signed on to a sports team, he played for that team for the vast majority of his career.  However, those were the days when gasoline was 59 cents a gallon.

LeBron said something during the announcement last night that made perfect sense to me. I'm paraphrasing here, but he said something to the effect of, "If the shoe was on the other foot, the Cleveland Cavaliers one day would let me go when they felt the time had come to move on."

So true. It happens every day.

Many employees, after giving years of their lives to a company, go in to work one day to find out that they are no longer needed, and they are severed from said organization without any warning whatsoever.

There are no guarantees in life. This is a different time, culture, and corporate environment we live in today. Today everyone, including athletes, has to look out for his best interests and do what's best for him and his family.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans are sad today, but they should not hold any grudges against LeBron James. He has done nothing wrong. While he was a Cavalier he represented the team well, never got into any trouble, and gave the team everything he had to bring many victories.

It's just too bad he couldn't bring the Cavs that ever-elusive NBA Championship they so badly want.

Owner Dan Gilbert showed how bitter and classless he is with the statement he released shortly after LeBron James' announcement. Understandably he was upset, but no leader in any organization the size of the Cleveland Cavaliers would ever release a letter like that.

Maybe that is one example of why LeBron chose not to return to the Cavaliers. The team's owner was not capable of leading the organization to a championship.

LeBron does not owe Cleveland anything, and vice versa. LeBron James grew up in Akron, Ohio, and now he will be employed in Miami, Fla. He will soon join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and the pressure on those three to immediately perform will be immense.

In the meantime LeBron will have to live with his decision to leave Cleveland. He took less money to go to Miami, but he claims it's all about winning and not the money. He took one step in proving that he truly feels that winning is more important by signing with Miami.

He now has to show that he can be committed and make the changes necessary to be successful with the Heat. He will have to share the spotlight with two other superstar athletes, and many question if that is possible for any of those three.

Only time will tell.