As some of you know, I live in Cleveland (well, a suburb). Before I lived here I was in Kent (go golden flashes?), Akron, and Cleveland proper. I grew up in this part of the state and I bought a house here, so I'm stuck in Ohio for about another decade at least. And during all that time, I've been a sports fan with the unfortunate personal failing of feeling obligated to root for the local teams. Other than a few heart-breaking years in the mid to late 90s and early 2000s with the Indians, this has not meant a lot of excitement for me.
LeBron James changed all that for a while.
He was young, dynamic and exciting to watch. He was the second coming of Jordan and best of all, he was a local boy. Here, finally, is the man this town has waited for going to the red-headed step child team of Cleveland sports (which is saying a lot if you think about it). Salvation. We have nothing to show for it but a few playoff appearances but you can't say we haven't had fun. Just being a significant contender is a blast this city hasn't experienced in over a decade. It was awesome.
What kind of person schedules an hour long special to announce that he's going to get paid millions of dollars? What kind of a person does that to, not only the 4-5 other cities where he might sign but to the city and state that raised him? Little known fact: during high school he spent a large chunk of time playing with the Cavs at the time, the entire St. Vs team did, as much as was allowed. I doubt this is in the movie (I haven't seen it yet) and it doesn't get a lot of press, but he has professional NBA personnel working with him since he was 15. That's a big deal. There is a very real possibility that he's going to take his hour long nationally televised ego-stroking love letter ESPN is producing and use it to break the collective heart of an entire state. "I'm not only leaving, but I want you all to site through 58 minutes of my highlights so you see what you're missing."
What a massive tool. Whether he stays or he goes, he is a massive tool. There is nothing redeeming about this special. Oh sure, the ad money is going to charity. Whatever. That doesn't make it anything other than it is: one giant corporate entity stroking the out of control ego of an idiot.
There are stories about him if you grew up in this area. I'm not going to relay them because, frankly, he was a kid and we're all kind of dicks when we're kids. It would be unfair to hold those stories against him (imagine growing up if you knew you were going to get paid hundreds of millions of dollars right out of high school, you would be a dick too). The man has had the best PR coaching money can buy. He's a smooth operator and as long as he can keep his ridiculous tendencies bottled, he can come off as a good guy. I just don't think he actually is a good person. This circus is hurtful to his fans, ESPN, the teams in the running, and, ultimately, his own image.
LeBron, leave or stay, just try to be less of a d-bag about it.
Update: D-Bag =)