Ever since “The Decision” I’ve been hearing much of the same mantra: “It’s not the fact that he left. It’s HOW he left.”
At first, I was a leading supporter of that statement.
Ever since that embarrassing display he put forth on television, I have been telling myself that I would’ve been fine if he left quietly, and early on, in the free agency process.
Well now, I’m not so sure about that.
Lets be honest with ourselves here. Sports is a lot like a relationship.
Lets say that you are dating a girl who is the total package. Beauty, brains, and personality, all rolled into one. Maybe out of your league, though, as she comes from a different socioeconomic background than yourself.
You kinda get the feeling that you will eventually lose her, due to that, and a bevy of other guys showing interest in her. Is she flirting back? You can’t tell. Maybe, maybe not. But you are a little paranoid about the whole thing, so you just try to roll with the good times, and bank on her word that she’s in it for the long haul.
The longer you date her, the more and more you start to think about a long term future together. Well, just as you start to toss around marriage proposal ideas, she sits you down, and very calmly and honestly states that shes wants to see other people.
She is brutally honest. You guys had great times, but she is still at the stage where she wants to date around and explore her options.
All anyone can ask for in life is bluntness and honesty. Don’t beat around the bush. She didn’t, and she states that she would like to remain friends, and says you are a great guy.
Even after all that, I don’t know about you, but I’m still going to be pretty upset. Just because she was fair and honest doesn’t mean that you are totally okay with things.
“My suspicions were true. She really WAS flirting with other guys. I wasn’t good enough.” In the end, it boils down to, “I wasn’t good enough.”
Cold, hard, human emotion.
As it relates to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s much the same thing.
Last month, he could’ve sat down with Dan Gilbert and the brass, and stated that he was ready to move on. That he wanted to take on the challenge of being a Chicago Bull or New York Knick, as the leading guy.
He could’ve taken out a full page ad in the newspaper thanking the fans. Maybe even shed a few tears in an emotional press conference that came straight from the heart.
Cool, at least he was honest, right?
The Cavs would’ve had time to pursue other options. “The Decision” never would’ve happened, and LeBron may have lost some fans in the process, in Cleveland and to the other cities he spurned, but his reputation would’ve remained mostly intact.
It was lose-lose for him from the beginning, but moreso for the team that the player defects from. That’s what free agency does. Someone gets burned in the end, usually the smaller market team.
From day one, LeBron was always a bit bigger than Cleveland. Just like the hypothetical girl who wanted you to take her shopping on Madison Avenue, when you only had a TJ Maxx budget. What you had to offer was never enough.
At the end of the day, it’s just another 20-something year old leaving Ohio for someplace he perceives to be better, backstabbing or no backstabbing involved.
Ohio, once again, wasn’t good enough. However, we are tough and resilient people.
Today is a new day. The Cuyahoga didn’t catch on fire, and the city didn’t fall off the map.
Don’t let one man, a selfish, narcissistic one, determine the economy, mood, and hopes of a city.
Stay involved with the team.
Read the latest trade and free agency rumors. Follow Summer League results.
Make predictions for next year, and think aloud how Byron Scott’s principles can and will apply to this team.
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