He was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. Basketball became his
outlet and saving grace. He became a hometown hero, beloved by his state, and
revered by his peers. His name is Lebron James, professional basketball player.
Lebron loves Akron, he loves Ohio, and he loves his fans.
Fresh out of High School, he was draft #1 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. You
couldnt script a better beginning to a story. He had the height and length of
an Ervin Magic Johnson with the explosiveness and competitive attributes of
Michael Air Jordan. His career in basketball was blanketed by hype from the
start. And if you could look past that fact that he put in 7 years without a without
winning a championship, he actually exceeded the hype.
While were on the subject of hype, I wanted to make the
point that hype isnt something you bestow upon yourself. Hype is placed upon
you; it surrounds you. Hype is an overwhelming expectation which picks up steam
and grows into a monster of pressure, not necessarily felt by the subject. As a
matter of fact, those that place hype on a subject, often accuses the subject
of owning and spreading this social virus. Flava Flav said to not believe the
hype. Over the past few days, people believed the hype, became angry with the
subject of it, lashed out on the subject, and never stopped to think whether or
not Lebron James believed it himself.
Hype led people to believe that Lebron James set up his
press conference to stick it to the city and state he loved. On Wednesday, Wade
and Bosh had a similar press conference on the same channel. There wasnt much difference
between the two press conferences. Well there was one difference. For those
that dont know, The Boys and Girls Club of America are suffering from major
funding cuts across the country. These clubs need our help, our time, and our
donations. So when Lebron took all the hype placed on him and found a way to
generate money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, how could you not
respect him for that?
The truth is, the Summer of 2010 was built up to the most
anticipated free agent event in NBA history, by the league. Furthermore, the
New York Knicks played a role in growing the hype around James with their
ongoing pursuit. New York media hyped the fact of Lebron hosting his press
conference in Connecticut as a precursor to him signing with the Knicks. Yet
people were mad at Lebron for his location choice, when 1 + 1 never equaled 2
All-Star signings for the Knicks this summer. Lets be honest, if Lebron was
anything like Jordan or even Kobe Bryant, the honor was scoring 50+ points in
Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. Who wants the pressure of trying to
score 50+ points, for 42 games in the regular season? Theres no allure in
The NBA and ESPN played a role in growing the hype around
Lebron. For the NBA, it accomplished being near the top of the news chain
during the month of July; a month where the league is normally all but
forgotten until the next season. So to place Lebron James up against the World
Cup and hold its ground was a victory for the league (at Lebrons expense). For
ESPN, this was the perfect opportunity to infuse news, opinion and drama, hour
after hour, day after day. ESPN acquired exclusivity to both press conferences,
kept all the teams that were in the Lebron sweepstakes in the mix and allowed
for their analysts to play for and against the hype. It was a win/win situation
for the NBA and ESPN. For Lebron, his character took a critical blow.
Ok Cleveland, lets talk
LBJ gave all he had to the city of Cleveland. It was his
skill sets that sparked the winning attitude that Cleveland fans would give
their first born to be a part of. It was Lebrons passion that made Cleveland a
city of believers again. He didnt rebuild Cleveland on his own. He was given
an opportunity and excelled with it. All the more reason that when he made the
decision to leave for Miami, the initial reaction was mirrored to walking in on
your spouse having sex, with your sibling. There isnt a beating heart in
Cleveland today. But you will heal, and this is why.
Cleveland, if you love Lebron as much as he loved
representing you and his hometown (well accept for the fact that he loved the
New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys), you will someday understand that this
was an opportunity he couldnt pass up. Cleveland, you must find solace in the
fact of how much it took for him to leave you; it took two Olympians, one of
them an NBA Finals MVP, a President of Basketball Operations that knows exactly
what it takes to win a Championship, and living with the heart break of not
delivering to you what he wanting to lift in your name, an NBA Championship. If
you ever loved Lebron, his leaving will sting, but his winning of a
Championship would be your victory as well. Whos to say that after his deal was
up in Miami, that he wouldnt have come back to you?
Cleveland, what if Lebron won a title in Miami, and came
back home to you with the knowledge and experience needed to deliver you the trophy?
Think about it. He was clearly emotional in his goodbyes last night. The man
loves you, he is dedicated to you. Sad to say that after the release of the
letter from your owner Dan Gilbert, your favorite son may never come back home.
Dan Gilbert went in with the relentlessness of Lil Wayne on
mixtapes and the brash tongue of Kanye West at an awards show. Gilbert did more
than call Lebron a quitter, he fueled the fires of your disappointment until
your favorite son, became public enemy #1. The nation watched on as official
Lebron James jerseys burned, as posters were ripped, cardboard cutouts were
pulled apart, tears fell, and people were locked up for disorderly conduct. But
my question is this Cleveland, if a clearly injured Lebron quitted on you during
the Boston series (Boston later went on to lose in Game 7 of the NBA Finals)
why did Gilbert still try to sign him to a max deal?
Cleveland, take a deep breath and think about what just
transpired. Think about the stories youve read in the newspaper and online.
Think about all the drama surrounding Lebron on Social Networks. Most
importantly, think about the 7 years that Lebron James given to your team.
Youre team had the best record in the league, Cleveland. You had a two-time
MVP, Cleveland. Youve made it to an NBA Finals, Cleveland. Yet, you have an
owner that believed your city was cursed? He did say that the curse would
follow Lebron down south, right? How do you expect to finally reach the
euphoria of winning a championship without getting past your past? For better
or for worse, Lebron James, your favorite son, has taught you and the world
that Cleveland can be a strong force in Sports. So I suggest that you take
Lebrons lead and move forward. You can no longer allow for the media to tell
you that youre destined for failure; you dont have to accept media outlets
creating a top 10 of the worst sports moments in the history of your city. You
must close your ears to the older generations that insist Cleveland is cursed;
it is hard to believe, when you think youre cursed. Cleveland can thrive
again. But it starts with you; your mentality, your perseverance and optimism.
Lebron James has spread his wings and left the nest. Wish
him luck, Cleveland. Be prideful from within. Cleveland, we wish you luck.