My mom was right with what she said to me when she called last night. LeBron James is “just a guy”.
She wanted to know what was wrong with me. Was I sick? No mom, I’m not sick. I just had the heart ripped out of me for the umpteenth time for following Cleveland sports. I knew it was coming but I continued to watch the movie even though I knew the hero wasn’t going to win out in this one.
But as she told me not to worry about it, I tried to reason with her.
“He’s not just a guy mom. It’s bigger then that. He was Cleveland. He was one of us.”
She didn’t get it. She, like so many people in this world who understand priority had bigger fish to fry. The center of her world isn’t where some billionaire athlete decides to throw some ball in a hoop; but rather the health of her family, doing kind things for others, paying her bills, and her chores around a several-acre farm that my father left her with. My mom doesn’t care about LeBron James. And to be honest, she’s one of the smart ones.
Will Leitch said it best last night; that being a sports fan never felt so stupid.
That trust felt broken tonight. Not because LeBron James went to the Heat, even though he referred to his destination as “South Beach,” not “the Miami Heat and their fans.” Not because LeBron James didn’t go to the Knicks, even though of all the cities he mentioned enjoying during this free agent “courtship,” New York was the one he omitted. Not even because LeBron was so, so cruel to Cleveland, not once thanking the fans who made him into what he was, the fans who have to wonder if their absurd investment in their sports franchises will ever be rewarded. No, tonight, it felt like everyone involved — LeBron, ESPN, Bing, the University of Phoenix, Stuart Scott, the man who once chastised fans for having the audacity to boo, Jim freaking Gray — treated the millions of people watching like stupid, mindless consumers, empty lemmings ready to follow Sport into the abyss. Here, here are the Boys & Girls Club props. Here, here is your search engine. Here, here is your online college, Here, here is your Athletic Hero. Eat. Eat. Consume. You like it. You love it. You’ll always come back for more.
They’re surely right, of course. But never has it been laid more bare, and never did it feel so empty. It felt like a break, the moment when the tide crested, when we looked at the games, and their players, and ourselves, and wondered: Why in the world are we watching these awful people? It was a question impossible to answer.
LeBron James, thanks to this debacle, will never be the same.
Leitch isn’t a Cleveland fan. He didn’t grow up in Ohio. People outside of Northeast Ohio felt the ripple effect. They felt the plastic imitation filthiness of this whole charade. That part of it; in all of my shock and numbed stupor, felt good last night.
It was pretty shocking for me to read Leitch’s words and see that he had summed up the fraud feeling that slipped over me after LeBron anounced he would be ‘taking his talents to South Beach’ in front of a national audience. Then LeBron had the audacity to donate to a Boys & Girls club in Greenwich, CT; one of the richest areas in the United States. How fucking tone-deaf could one group of young men be about business. This was no way to go about it. At least maybe the entire nation felt just a little piece of the betrayal we Ohioans felt last evening.
LeBron didn’t owe us his life in Cleveland; but he didn’t need to go on television and anounce that he was leaving after stringing along the hopes of a great fanbase for almost three years.
I have a lot of friends that are from the 330; Akron. I have a lot of friends who are from Cleveland. They’re much closer to the situation then I’ll pretend to be. They grew up with this guy. They know him indirectly. They’ve seen him play as a kid. Some played against him at the AAU levels. This guy was one of us. Certainly he couldn’t do this to us, could he?
In the end he proved to be a spineless, cowardly, dickless, coat-tail riding, tone-deaf sack of monkey shit. Instead of helping Cleveland and NE Ohio lift the dark veil that has hung over it for so many decades; he helped write maybe the darkest chapter of all in the sad story.
LeBron James proved last night that most pro-athletes will never figure it out. He’d aparently spent a lot of time ‘talking to the man upstairs’. As Brian Windhorst said, that’s the first God-reference LeBron has ever made, ever. He’s not a believer. He has no faith. He wanted to use the Lord as a reason that he was doing this.
Last night was the higest form of betrayal I’ve ever seen in pro sports in my 27 years of life. It made me thankful I’m not a primary basketball and NBA fan. Maybe this is why. Because bad people like LeBron James play basketball; and people like me who have a soul play football and especially baseball. I’ll never look forward to an NBA game again, and I certainly won’t look back. This did it for me. ‘The Association’ is in my rear view forever. The golden days were when I grew up watching MJ, David Robinson, Hakeem, Ewing, and Barkley. The seven years that LeBron brought life to a gray part of Northeasy Ohio? That was a very good vaudeville act. I won’t look back, and I’m sorry for every moment I wasted in my short life on this human being who fails in so many areas to be genuine.
I should have known better. My goodness, I should have known better then to trust LeBron James.
LeBron James is everything I hate about pro sports and pro athletes. The innocence is lost; he’s just a hunny-humpin’, hype cravin’, selfish pro athlete who sold out his hometown for greener pastures. A coward who quit on his team when they believed in him enough to put his picture on buildings.
Like mom said, he’s just a guy. He doesn’t define anything in my life or yours. My mom has always been right.