Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh, So That's Who This LeBron Guy Is

By now you've all seen the mockery of humanity that was last night's announcement that LeBron James will be playing in Miami next season. I'm not going to go into the whole sob story about how this shows what a weak and callous man that he is -- I think that's a little unfair -- nor will I give you a whole explanation as to why I think this is going to be far less of a success story for the Heat fans than it looks right now, which I do. No, instead, I'll direct you to the classy open letter to Cavs fans that was issued last night by Dan Gilbert, which is impossible to miss since the Cavaliers' website automatically redirects to it from their home page.

The reaction to this letter has been, shall we say, not positive.

Indeed, Gilbert does look stupid, callous and overly defensive. Also, the use of such a ridiculous font, caps lock and quotation marks at every possible moment is hilarious. But Gilbert didn't write this letter to gain respect, or gracefully wish LeBron luck as he went off to the new part of his career. Gilbert did it to rally the fans of the city of Cleveland, so often heartbroken and jilted one more time. And while I have a hard time see the Cavaliers winning a championship before LeBron does, as Gilbert claims they will, I think this letter will actually help him garner support among his fan base rather than embarrass the organization.

Why? Because they all actually feel this way. They feel like a spurned lover left at the alter after doing all they could. They feel like they've been stabbed in the back. And after watching Cleveland's dismal performance after being eliminated by the Celtics in this year's postseason, they feel like he quit. On the team, on the city, on them.

Gilbert hit the nail right on the head.

Last night, what we all saw was a city robbed of its heart, sports news robbed of whatever innocence it had left and a number of people on TV who appeared to realize they were all selling a piece of their soul. Even if the proceeds went to charity, which they did, the entire hour felt heartless, crude and I felt as if I was dumber for watching it. Will Leitch does a phenomenal job of succinctly echoing the feelings of most sports fans who are relatively detached from Miami and Cleveland.

In the end what we got was a mind-numbing hour of television after which we all felt unsatisfied and there were no winners. In fact, as Nate Silver at notes, both in terms of his legacy, and more tangibly in terms of his monetary potential, even LeBron may come out a loser. Or at least $150 million less of a winner than he could have been.

It is a sad start to our weekend to deal with this hangover, though I'm hoping that some sporting event on Sunday will help me forget about LeBron-O-Mania for a while. If that doesn't help, I will be posting a story on Monday for the first time in a long time. If that can't cheer you all up (and it should, there's nudity in it) then I'm not sure what can help us.

Enjoy the weekend everyone.

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