Basketball star and free agent LeBron James announced yesterday on a one-hour ESPN special that he will sign with the Miami Heat, departing the Cleveland Cavaliers to join fellow All Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach.
- KC's View:
- To be honest, while I watched the ESPN special last night, it was more out of morbid fascination with the media feeding frenzy than it was out of any interest in where James will play. I simply don’t give a damn, though I was sort of rooting for Cleveland to keep its home-town star.
However, my interest in this story got a lot greater with the open letter to fans written by Dan Gilbert, majority owner of the Cavaliers, on the team’s website. This letter, which pledged to bring a championship home to Cleveland before LeBron James wins anything, also was a wonderful example of naked bitterness of the kind one rarely sees on display. Gilbert wrote, in part:
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment ... There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.
You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal ... This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow-up to become.
Now, I’m not sure that bitterness is a lesson we want to teach our kids, either. But Gilbert makes a good point - that the LeBron James spectacle was all about ego gratification, not about a team sport. ()Which is sort of odd, because James actually seems to be a good guy with his heart in the right place.)
I’m not sure that James owed Cleveland anything ... but he certainly could have had the decency of leaving the Cavaliers without all the spectacle, without them finding out on national television. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth, and while I would hope that kids would see through the nonsense, I suspect that they saw a lot there to emulate.