Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The King surrenders birthright to be Wade's LePippen

The city of Cleveland will not burn.

I have heard over and over that “The Decision” is the worst thing to ever happen to Cleveland and will destroy the psyche of the town.


How quick people forget?

One may remember that the Browns did leave town.

And that was an entire team in sport we actually care about.

Before “The Chosen One” graced our presence, there were only a few thousand Cavs fans in town and even less than that before Price, Daugherty, Nance and the boys showed up.

But the media is portraying this as the end of the world and there are plenty here in town willing to play the part.

I don’t care how talented you are, one player is never bigger than the franchise and especially the city.

I watched the Cavs play before LBJ and I will watch them after.

I am not saying it hasn’t been fun.

It was a compelling story. A native son was to be the one to end our title drought. He was going to remove the sting of decades of losing.

Hollywood would have rejected the script. The expectations were unreasonable for a kid right out of high school and yet it looked like he would exceed them.

The fourth quarter of game five against the Pistons in 2007 was moment I never thought I would experience. It was breath taking. It was so unexpected and so beyond what I thought possible – I almost didn’t remember to enjoy it. I was in pure shock. Which of course made game six of that same series so much fun.

As Boobie dropped shot after shot, it was the best party of my life. It was such a magical night that promised so much more that the loss in the Finals to the Spurs didn’t hurt at all. I believed a title would one day be won.

The pain of losing him to another team was definitely dulled by another game five and six. Again I saw something I never expected. “The King” quit. His teammates took his lead and they quit too.

In that moment, I quit on him too.

I have been mad the last several weeks. I wanted to write a column telling him to leave town forever. I want to vent and stew and say just go. But I resisted mostly because if he resigned, I knew the first time on the court he did something no one else could do I couldn’t help but forgive him.

Over the last week, I really softened. It seemed for a while that his staying wasn’t only possible but probable. There were plenty of reasons for him to stay. He could make more money in Cleveland. The organization and the press have protected his mother and family, something that won’t happen as easily in other towns. And this was home, how could he turn his back on his home?

I figured he would make an announcement at the end of his camp in Akron and accept the massive love his local fans have for him.

But then he started to twitter and when it was announced the decision would be made live on ESPN, I knew he was gone.

I don’t hate LeBron. After all he is just a basketball player but I don’t respect his choice and the manner in which he did it.

He didn’t have to drag out this process. He didn’t have to have a one hour special. He ripped the hearts out of many in this area and he did it in an unbecoming way. And frankly he doesn’t care.

He says this is about winning championships but not all championships are created equal. People don’t talk about how Scottie Pippen won six titles in Chicago as the lead. And frankly that is what he has chosen to be. Which is why to me forever, I will now refer to him only as LePippen.

The simple truth is he wasn’t who we thought he was. And that is more our fault that his. We gave him the title of King before he won anything. He is just a pretty good basketball player. The best ever? Not even in the conversation. In fact, he quit on that contest too. He has abdicated his false throne to be a prince in the court of Dywane Wade.

The ironic thing is if this experiment of putting together two superstars in Wade and LePippen plus a above average player like Bosh with no one else on the roster actually works, Wade will get the credit and if it doesn’t LePippen will get the blame and possibly get downgraded to LeBarkley as in All Entertainment and No Titles.

As for the city, we will be fine. I may actually be able to afford to go to more games as the bandwagon will have much more room.

And while no NBA titles may be in our future, rather than a long and fruitless regular season paired with pressure filled and ultimately disappointing playoff run, I expect next year’s Cavs to be fun to watch.

There will be no expectations and those are always easily exceeded. (And yes I am going through the stages of grief, this is called bargaining.)

Plus we still have the Browns, and despite all the witness shirts around town, that’s the team we really care about.