Tell ESPN How YOU Feel

Click below to download the Twitter transcript from our “LeBron Gone” Q&A session with Wright on Friday, October 22nd. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts!

@CavsWITNESS_LeBronQ&A_TwitterTranscript_10.22.10

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Cavs Fans,

I met with ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson today to discuss Cavs fans’ reaction to LeBron’s departure, namely, “The Decision.”

Wright is on assignment, spending a week in Cleveland to absorb the local sentiment. Despite our doubts about ESPN’s suspect journalistic integrity, I ask you to give Wright the benefit of doubt. Quite simply, I spent two hours with the man – I read him as genuine and sincere (he’s a Saints fan, he knows heartbreak; yet should we later discover ESPN has hoodwinked us – again – then you have my word, I will call shenanigans. I’m pretty good with indignant rants, as you might know).

Wright wants you to know, Cleveland may not have LeBron, but Miami does not have stadium mustard. So there!

Following are eight questions Wright would like your responses to. If you replied during today’s interview, know that he saw your tweets – appreciated them very much – and was quite eager to read more. In fact, he will, as I will later email him a recap – at his request.

I’ve set up this blog post to encourage longer, more thoughtful and insightful responses than Twitter will allow. You can share yours by posting a comment below (I will approve and publish these periodically, so please be patient).

Wright will be in Cleveland through Wednesday, and will attend the first Cavs’ game. If you’re there, and if you see him, say “hi.” Take my word, he’s interested in what you have to say. Along with today’s Twitter replies, I will be sending him the comments you author (please note: 250 words or less is preferable; if you’d like to say more, reach out to me and I’ll provide an email address to send documents to).

Without further ado, please feel free to address any and all questions below. Wright formulated these himself. And no, despite any initial misgivings you may have, they are not intended to help him build a defense for James.

Wright is trying to reach the heart of Cavs fans’ anger – to understand why and to what degree we invested our emotions, expectations and egos in LeBron. These are tough questions, and require not only an analysis of James, but – more importantly – ourselves.

Cavs fans, it’s time to tell YOUR story…

Question 1: Name an action taken by LBJ that suggested he would do anything other than what he did (re: “The Decision”)?

Question 2: What’s worse, concerning “The Decision” – that LeBron did, or truly did not, understand how Cavs fans would react?

Question 3: Prior to “The Decision,” did you imagine LeBron could talk knowledgably about steel mills, rust-belt ethos, etc.?

Question 4: What’s the difference between “The Yankees Hat” and “The Decision,” other than scale?

Question 5: Does anyone feel guilty for believing that LeBron was a reflection of Cleveland’s attempt for resurrection/redemption?

Question 6: Did LeBron ever ask for the unconditional love and admiration that we put on him?

Question 7: Is it fair to be mad at LeBron when fans ignored numerous signs that he would ultimately behave like he behaved?

Question 8: Do you think “The Decision” is a failure of character or public relations?

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19 Responses to Tell ESPN How YOU Feel

  1. brett says:

    to question 2: i think lebron really did not know what the reaction would be in cleveland because of his terrible pr group that doesnt really give lebron the real story kind of hiding him from real world

  2. brett says:

    to question 3: hell no he doesnt know about anything like that…he thinks he had the roughest life as a kid, which im sure was tough on him, but hes not a saint because he went through it and was never a clevelander

  3. brett says:

    to question 7: yes it fair to be mad at him no matter what…just because he put out numerous ‘signs’ that he was leaving he put some that he was staying even though he knew he was leaving probably 3 years ago…going on larry king to say cavs had edge…his ”posse” saying he loves former players as a coach.etc

  4. brett says:

    yes pr is terrible and probably the culprit of the ”decision” but i dont feel sorry for lebron at all because if you go through problem after problem you should learn that having your manager be 2 years older and a friend from high school is lebrons fault

  5. John Faddoul says:

    Dear LeBron,
    Let me start off by saying I don’t HATE you. Honestly, aside from Cleveland Cavalier fans, we don’t know why anybody across the nation wouldn’t like you, but you need to understand why many of us don’t. Every racial comment you’ve gotten is undeserved and should never be condoned. But, I’m a Cleveland kid, NEVER hated Akron people, and you WERE my favorite player. By your latest statements, no, I don’t think I was related to you, or you slept in my house, but it is not going to be easy for us to get over this, and no, we probably never will. Sports shouldn’t mean this much, but for some reason it was different with you, and I don’t know why, it’s because we thought you were special, and different, and basically the best. Basically, it frustrates me that I still don’t think you understand WHY the dislike from the Clevelanders, the real reasons why. Let’s start off with the decision. Since game 5 and game 6, I have watched you for 7 years, every game, and I have never seen a lack of focus like that, it almost baffled me. I have never seen you so zoned out of a game like game 5, or turn it over like you did in game 6, or honestly, show the lack of effort and disinterest, like you already made up your mind. Game 5 speaks for itself and Yes, I know your numbers in game 6, but all true Cavs fans know that wasn’t the same LeBron. We have not seen the 9 turnover LeBron, or the LeBron that showed no urgency in the last 90 seconds, or the LeBron that shook hands with players after the game. We loved your attitude the year before when you told the Magic you would never shake hands after a series like that because you were a competitor. Moving on, I’m not going to say that you ‘quit’, necessarily, but after the games, I was one of few Cavs fans that thought you would stay without a doubt. People kept telling me, it’s obvious, he wants to leave, and he’s showing it. But, I would never believe it. Some reasons we can never explain: why were games 5 and 6 so suspicious, why would you refuse to speak to Tom Izzo, why was everything so fishy. Why did you say, “I have one goal, and that is to bring an NBA championship to Cleveland, and I won’t stop until I get it.” Why do you constantly believe that you had no help, when your team won 66 games and 61 games in back to back seasons, when the only reason we lost games 5 & 6 were because even though others showed up, YOU didn’t play like usual. Where was the LeBron that attacks the basket? That dunked on Garnett, and showed us enthusiasm and played like he cared. We’ve come to realize that you never wanted to be here, all along, it was that simple, you never wanted to be here. Why you signed the extension earlier? I still don’t know, maybe to link up with wade and bosh all along, but I don’t even believe that. We heard stories of you going and spending $500 on meals, and tipping $5 at Cleveland restaurants, but we didn’t care or believe it, because you WERE our hero. We heard that you treated people of Cleveland terribly and were arrogant, we didn’t believe it, we didn’t care, we defended you no matter what. That was all our fault. We know that if you wanted to, we would have won multiple rings in Cleveland, we do, and we know you do. That is why this gets so confusing and fishy. To tell us this is a business decision? You would make more money in Cleveland. To tell us because this was the best thing for your family? To have your family put up with yelling every time they come to their hometown? It makes no sense? Savannah wanted to stay in NE Ohio, not FLA. To tell us this was the best thing for yourself? This, I also don’t understand. I just want to know why. You really believe the team that lost to the Boston Celtics was not good enough for a championship? We looked spectacular until you folded. Mo Williams stepped up and got 20 pts. in the first half of game 6. We got Shaq for you, to not worry about Dwight in the next round. We proved twice in the regular season that even the Lakers weren’t a match since we had Z’s length bothering Pau, and Shaq’s size bothering Bynum, and you bothering Kobe. So what was it? They searched for coaches for you. Didn’t know who/what you wanted. So, we got you Byron Scott, with championship experience, for you. They built the practice facility 15 minutes away from your house to make it easy for you. I’m one of the few that wasn’t just upset at how you left, I was upset at why also, and that was just the icing on the cake. For the months that led up, I always thought, “HA! No way, not on national TV, he would never do that.” I know that you “don’t care” about what the legends say. But, isn’t it ironic that all their answers are similar? We understand that you ‘needed to create your own path.’ But, we don’t really understand what that means. You did not want to be the greatest player ever? You did not want to be ‘loyal’ like the tattoo that everyone talks about on your body? You want to be known for taking the easy way out and not being a competitor? All true Cavs fans know that the talent you had with the team was more than good enough to win the championship, and as much as you do not like everything Charles Barkley says, it’s true. See, the difference between Barkley leaving and you leaving that you do not seem to grasp is that when Barkey left, he did not win back-to-back MVP’s, he was not a home-town kid, he was not the best player in the NBA, and he did not play for the best team in the for NBA back-to-back seasons. You could have won here, and you would have won here, and you know it. Yes, you did rip our hearts out on National TV. Yes, you did not thank Cleveland once during your hour segment. Yes, when it comes down to it, we just do not see why you left in the first place besides living in the beautiful city of Miami and playing with your friends? Is that the reason? Because it’s not business, not family, and not winning. To not talk to Dan Gilbert in the weeks before the decision, to not talk to your teammates, to hold us off until the last minute which puts our team that we love to even more of a disadvantage? It all makes no sense. It would be nice to get all these answers throughout this paper, but I know it is unlikely. I just wish the truth really came out, and we knew the real reasons for everything. You need to understand that we were LeBron fans because we were Cavs fans, not the other way around. To be honest, I know I have not covered everything because so much has been going on for the past 6 months, that it would be impossible to. I also know that you don’t care about the opinion of a 19 year old basketball player in Cleveland confident that he’ll become a coach in the future. But, I know that this speaks for many cavaliers fans. I wish it would’ve gone down differently, I wish you would’ve stayed. But, obviously it didn’t happen. I will forever be a Cavs fan and am excited to watch my new team show heart on the court and prove it was not a one man show, and I’ll be happy cheering for my team that I love and the players on it that show how much they love the city. I can answer and ask questions about the topic all day, every day. Even though we’ll never forget, and it is inevitable that this will be talked about for the longest time, we’re still going to move on and we’re excited.
    Sincerely,
    Johnny Faddoul and All Cleveland Cavaliers

  6. Chris says:

    1: He’s a local kid, he always talked about winning for “Us” the fans. He repeatedly talked about our history (The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The ’97 Collpase, The ’07 Collapse) and how he wanted to be able to change that. He was at the Drake concert last summer at HOB’s singing to the crowd “It’s far from over” so emphatically that he wanted us to believe he was staying. Then he went on Larry King and told the world that Cleveland had the edge in signing him, when in reality it was a big lie since he knew he was going to the HEAT for a few years now. I felt as if he was tapped into the city and really was one of us. Because when people say “Cleveland” they’re really talking about NE Ohio, we are all one essentially. Akron, Cleveland, Solon, Strongsville, etc., we all are the same people who LOVE our sports teams.

    2: I think it’s worse that he did not know how we’d react. I can’t believe he even had the audacity to say he’d like to come back one day and win one for us. 2 points here. 1, we’d NEVER want him back, even if it meant 3 rings and 2, that just means he never really cared about us, no matter what he said in the media. As a kid who started watching basketball as a freshman in high school when he was drafted, that hurts the most. I wasn’t invested in basketball until he was here, then I jumped in head first and now I love the game, I wish I hadn’t gotten so invested.

    3. I think he understands the mentality of the people here. Hard working people who constantly grind. But, at the same time, this is a kid whose been coddled and has always been amazing. He was driving Hummers in high school while living in the hood. He had girls throwing themselves at him, had Nike, Adidas, Reebok flying him out to their facilites, making million dollar pitches to him, and telling him he’s the best at 16, 17 and 18 yrs old.

    4. The Yankee hat wasn’t a big deal to me. I’m 21 right now, I think 17 at the time, and to me it was just a fashion thing and not really a big deal. I know a lot of guys who wear Yankees hats and aren’t really Yankee fans. I also didn’t care that he loved the Yankees and not the Indians. I mean that’s baseball, not basketball, the guy can root for them if he wants, they are a successful team so that was ok with me.

    I was more pissed when he was a Browns game Vs. the Cowboys and he was on the sidelines with the Cowboys. It was clear to me then that he was very much a front runner and a fair weather type of fan.

    5. Why should I feel guilty? He’s a “Sports Hero”. Finally WE had THE BEST player on the planet on our team, and what made it even greater was that he was a hometown kid. We’d seen his highlights on the local news since he was Sophomore at SVSM. We thought he was gonna be able to get it done for us. The media hyped that part of it up as well. But isn’t that what sports hero’s are for? To redeem the city they play for? That’s why you’re a hero. We defended the guy until we were blue in the face. ANYONE that talked negatively about him (Barkley, Skip Bayless, etc.) was vilified by us and we killed them every chance we got. People hate CLE sooo much because we have bad sports teams and cold winters. They talk as if the people that live here aren’t people and we’re ingrate hillbillies that can’t form a sentence. Yes, our economy went down hill when the steel mills all closed, yes we have corrupt politicians, yes our leadership failed to capitalize on the technological boom, but we’re still people who work hard and our proud of ourselves. We use sports to hope that we can stick it back the people that constantly berate us. THAT is why we thought he’d lead us to just 1 ring. We’d never need anything else from him again.

    6: He didn’t ask for it, but he’s an athlete, and a great athlete. All great athletes have huge ego’s. That comes with the territory. Jordan wanted that attention and love the same way as Rodman did, they just expressed it differently. Maybe if he wasn’t a hometown guy, we would’ve seen more of his faults (No development of a real post game, poor shooter, constantly broke off the offense and dribbled <—We always hated this, but he would bail us out a lot too….Bad FT shooter, stopped driving the lane when he can get to the hole and the call every time, and failed to ever really hit the big shot outside of a regular season game vs. Golden State and against ORL in 09). We all knew these things, but we knew he was still coming along, but some of those things are never going to change with him.

    7: Of course it's fair. He spit on us and made us a laughing stock once again. He did it on ESPN, a network that has no trouble showing the "Poor Cleveland" montage EVERY time there's a somewhat big game. We all joked here when it came on, "Well ESPN is showing "IT" again". I even told my friends a week after the decision, and I had time to calm down, that had he just issued a press release on a Sunday night, that he was going to sign with the HEAT because he couldn't pass up the opportunity to play with Wade for years to come and that he will always love Cleveland/Akron and enjoyed THE FANS for the past 7 years, then there wouldn't be this backlash. Instead he just had to have an hour long special, called THE DECISION to add to "Poor Cleveland" montage. It was like they named it that on purpose, like throwing salt in our wounds.

    8: A failure of character. He could've said NO, I won't do that to the NE Ohio area, I don't care what my people want me to do. After all, he always talked about being his own man, and making decisions for himself and his family not by what other people want him to do. But, he didn't do that. He wanted the spot light.

    Like I said before, the only real professional basketball I've ever dove head first into was with LeBron James. In 2003 I became more of a Cavs fan than Browns because of our success. I've seen soooo much heart break and I'm only 21. I remember the Browns leaving, The 95 world series (my first Cleveland devastating loss memory), the 97 world series, Bottle gate, Dwayne Rudd's helmet toss, Dennis Northcutt dropping a pass to ice the game and the Steelers coming back from 17 down at the half to beat us in the playoffs, San Antonio sweeping us in the Finals after LBJ's 48 special, The Ohio State Buckeyes getting crushed in 2 straight national championships, The 2007 Indians collapsing before our very eyes, the 2009 Cavs wilting away, and LeBron James quitting in 2010 against the Celtics. And now, The Decision, it just seems to never end. That July night I had my LBJ jersey on, hoping that it wouldn't be the last time I'd ever wear it, but in true Cleveland fashion, it was. I ripped it off with "Taking my talents to South Beach". I layed in bed that night till 5AM and I had to work at 7AM. I just couldn't sleep, I was too upset. I could only ask when it's ever going to change and I certainty knew that without him, it'll be more of the same. He gave me some of the greatest sports memories, wait no….memories period, that I've ever had. But, he also gave me the worst I've ever had too. That will never change either.

  7. Christine Levy says:

    1. LeBron gave no indication that he would leave. He went on Larry King and said Cleveland had the “edge”. He bragged about how much he loves his hometown and how he wants to win a title in Cleveland and he will not quit until he does. He held his free agent meetings in Cleveland. He blindsided all of us with ultimate betrayal and unprofessionalism.

    5. I don’t feel guilty for putting all our eggs in LeBron’s proverbial basket. He portrayed himself as the “King” and the “Chosen One” and despite what we now know he is, you cannot take away the fact that he is a once in a generation talent. He led us to believe he would win, we are so hungry for a chanpionship in this town and it was like getting punched in the stomach year after year. What I feel stupid about is defending him all these years to the people who saw what he truly is. No matter what LeBron did, whether it be wearing a Yankees cap to an Indians game, or being rude and arrogant or doing his ignorant dances on the bench, I defended him. I defended him as if he were a family member. I named my puppy LeBron and now am stuck calling my adorable puppy the name that makes me cringe. Guilty no. Betrayed, mislead, abandoned, yes.

    8. As a Marketing Director by profession, I cannot for the life of me understand what went through their minds when they orchestrated “The Decision”. It was a PR disaster and a moral disaster on every level. How anyone with any business sense could think the hometown hero stabbing his tortured city in the back on national TV was a smart move is beyond me. I really think Mr. Carter and LeBron are so egocentric they actually thought people would applaud his decision to abandon his hometown in such a cruel way. LeBron is a child in a man’s body and hopefully being away from the protection of Akron will teach him a valuable lesson. His loyalty is very misplaced, in my opinion. Someone of his stature should have proper representation, not his “bro” from high school who doesn’t have any experience or training, especially to handle a client of this magnitude. I will enjoy watching his kingdom tumble down, it’s only a matter of time.

  8. Sar says:

    I think it’s fair to be angry with Lebron even though there were signs that he might leave. I think it should be okay for us to be able to vent about how blindsided we felt because Lebron meant a lot to this area not just in terms of sports but because of the perseption the rest of the country had for us because we had Lebron. We looked defeated, angry, humiliated and hurt on national television and it didn’t give us a fair light. I think it stemmed from the fact that even though there were those signs it played into our weakness in that we were hoping he would stick with us and represent this area. If you had talked to somebody from a different state or even country they would say well I don’t know much about Cleveland but you do have Lebron! I think it has made Clevelanders and Ohioans stronger now and we look forward to supporting the team we still have. Because we know how it feels to not have a team when the Browns were taken away. At least we have a team that wants to represent us and make us proud.

  9. John says:

    #7:Oh yeah, sure it’s fair to be mad at him. For every hint that suggested he was leaving, there were 2 that suggested he was staying. He led all of Cleveland on for years, holding the fans, teamates, and front office hostage when he knew all along he was going to bail. He inexplicably quit on his team and the City of Cleveland so he could focus on his “team” and the egomaniacal charade they were plotting for the Summer of Lebron. He knew how desperate two generations of Cleveland sports fans were for a winner, and he embarrassed and crushed those hopes by his heartless behavior. Cleveland will never forgive him, because we truly thought he was one of our own, committed to finally getting us there. Hate? Not really. Crushing, devastating,disappointment? Most definitely.

  10. Jeff says:

    NEVER will you be forgived, and really NOBODY except people of THE CITY OF CLEVELAND understand how big this was to us, how much this meant, and why we don’t get over it. I don’t like seeing Wilbon saying we need to get over it, because he would’ve been crying every night if Jordan had left the Bulls in his prime. We never want LeBron back, we’ll beat him December 2nd, we all know he cared about ONLY HIMSELF for his 25 yrs. of his life, and if anybody tells Cleveland to get over it, they should mind their own business.. Go CAVS! DONT EVER COME BACK LEBRON, and just like the girls on the sportscenter segment said, we hate you and always will in Cleveland and Akron Ohio, we ONLY LOST with you, and we’ll win without you. We would rather have never had you, and WE’RE using this as motivation and taking “mental notes” quitter. Its only right that we win without you as a TEAM cuz we’re not about ONE SELFISH PLAYER. You can win 10 rings, it wont matter! You should win when you have 2 of the top 5 and 3 of the top 10 players in the league, and you could not do it with a stacked team that will prove the haters wrong this season. Hope your ‘decision’ was worth it. We love our team and our city. Go CAVS!
    Signed,
    Believeland

  11. Jim Hayes says:

    Wright:
    I think your questions narrow the focus too much onto just Lebron and do not take into account the larger perspective behind the Cleveland as a region and a sports town. I am a long time Cavs season ticket holder and was long before we got Lebron.
    First the town:
    Cleveland is a great town both culturally and for entertainment with very real, friendly and down to earth people. Name another place that has a sports bar packing people in to hear members of one of the worlds finest classical orchestras jamming on a Wednesday night (the Happy Dog). It is an eclectic and innovative town. A lot of the Medical advances and innovations that our nation enjoys started here. We are a town that builds things, creates things, innovates new ideas. We are a manufacturing town and a lot of our psyche is based upon what we make and build. In recent years a lot of that has been taken away from us with the jobs in manufacturing being lost and it has damaged our image of ourselves but not our resilience. It is a wonderfully real and beautiful place to live. I have friends who moved here from Boston and New York who would not live anywhere else because of all the things to do and the convenience of getting to them. The only difference is here you have to know where to go or have a local show you. It is a great family town and we see young people leave to experience the world only to return once they start having children.
    So why are we viewed nationally as a punch line? It started in the 70s when a bunch of Cleveland comedy writers went to work for the Laugh-in tv show and decided that their hometown’s name had just the right amount of consonants for a punch line, So began the Cleveland joke. We have had to endure people who have never been here using us as a foil for decades now. It has given the town a mentality that is a little too self deprecating and we tend not to see all the things we have until outsiders point them out.

    Sports: This self deprecation ties into our attitude about our sports. We love our sports but have a fatalistic attitude towards them. We love our teams to be hard working and determined. We have never been comfortable with the superstar glitzy performers and tend to revere offensive linemen and journeymen centers with great work ethics. We are a town of long memories and we do not get over slights. This may come off as thin skinned but we do not care. If you want evidence of our memory just walk up to anyone in their 50’s and ask them what they think of Frank (Trader) Lane. You will be subjected to a wave of anger and hurt about the trade of Rocky Colovito by Frank Lane…and this happened in 1960! We do not forget.
    Our litany of sports pain is well documented. We have almost won championships in every major sports. We were the dominant football power in America up until the year before the Super Bowl was invented so we are not recognized as a champion. We all know about the Fumble, and Red Right 88 that kept us from championships. We came within one shot of the NBA finals in the Price/Daugherty era only to get beat by Michael Jordan and”the shot”. Asa matter of fact if you look at most of the iconic photos in sports from Willie Mays catch to Jordan’s last second shot, the losing team in those games was always Cleveland. In Baseball we were 1 out from winning the 97 World Series and lost the game on one pitch. We have a history of being beaten down time and again and never giving up and only coming back stronger. Someone once said that if you are a true Cleveland sports fan you are 98% scar tissue and that is very true.

    Lebron: I saw the whole Lebron era from my seats and he said and did all the right things on the surface but we found out it was all just surface. Let’s straighten something out right away. People in Cleveland do not begrudge Lebron the right to take his talents to South Beach. He has that right and if he had handled his leaving differently we would be cheering him every time he came back. He chose to leave in a way that would cause as much damage to the team and towns’ psyche as possible. I would like to think he was just being naive but based on his subsequent actions I can only conclude it was intentional. He held off his decision until the team could not make any moves in the free agent market, he did not inform the team or the fans of his intention of leaving and went on national tv to rub a salt mine worth of salt into the wound. He knew this town’s sports history and yet chose the selfish narcissistic route. Since then he has tried to play the victim by trying to paint the town as everything from violent to racist and nothing is further from the truth. He has tried to play the victim by pointing out burning jerseys (it was one guy who got on tv) to racist tweets( which did not come from Cleveland) He is not the victim here and we certainly are not a town to be pitied. We will come back stronger like we always do. When he comes back into town compare the reaction to Lebron and the reaction to Z Ilgauskus. Z is a class act who is beloved in this town and he took his talents to south beach as well.

    The future: I think the outlook is quite bright. We do not have a superstar in a league that is superstar driven but we have a hard working team with some major trade assets. We just have to win some to convince free agents that they want to be here. We do not have one guy dominating the ball and dribbling until there are only 3 seconds left on the ball then getting mad at his teammate who did not score. We have a more flowing offense that should be fun. We will get no press except when Miami comes in town but will quietly try to win. This fits our towns’ personality. I may be a bit polyanna-ish but I think we will win about 35-38 and will win the last playoff spot and draw Miami in the first round. Won’t that be fun! As to Miami I think they will win the most regular season games and get crushed in the playoffs by Boston or Orlando. They do not have the physical depth and will get their bigs beaten up. I feel for Ilgauskus because his old body will get beaten in those series.

    Wright, I wrote all this so your piece can reflect a total understanding of Cleveland and will not just be a reflection of, or reaction to, the leaving of Lebron. We are so much more than that.

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  13. Jerod Scheetz says:

    I did not expect LeBron to stay. I was hoping he would, obviously, and I grew more confident that he was going to stay in the last week or so, so I was disappointed. For me personally, it was the way he did it that killed me. He showed zero feelings towards the people of Cleveland and fans of Cleveland sports. With the horrible taste in our mouths from the playoff loss to the Celtics, LeBron dumped salt on our wounds. That was what was impossible to swallow for me. I thought it was ridiculous the way James staged his announcement. I can’t even call it “the decision”, that was a slap in the face to the entire NBA. LeBron showed so much selfish personality, especially for a man who has yet to win a ring. What makes him able to do this? I don’t believe that LeBron ever gave blatant signals that he was leaving. Obviously, he left the management in the dark, which is so selfish. If he cared at all about the wellbeing of the Cavs, he would of told the ownership. Give us a chance to rebound and pursue our option. It’s ridiculous to leave this city in the dark. Maybe LeBron didn’t ask for the praise we gave him, but he surely didn’t deny it. He played to our hearts his entire time in Cleveland. He always mentioned in interviews how bad he wanted to bring a championship to Cleveland, how he knew about this city’s history and that he was working to change it. Now we know that line was crap. LeBron had a chance to win a championship in Cleveland, which could be argued as one of the greatest sports feats of all time, hands down. And now he is Robin to Wade. I don’t understand, and I am done trying to understand. I don’t wish injury on LeBron, but I do hope that Miami takes at least a year to win a ring. And I hope Wade gets every single minute of the recognition.

  14. Sean says:

    Question 1: Name an action taken by LBJ that suggested he would do anything other than what he did (re: “The Decision”)?
    Lebron promised the city a championship. He brought up the town’s past sports failures, and more than once he vowed to put those memories to rest. The fans recognized that he was the best chance at a championship. Lebron fed into the whole “savior” storyline when he talked about this stuff. This went on as recently of March of this year when he said, “I have a goal to bring an NBA championship to Cleveland, and I won’t stop until I get it.” He hoodwinked us into believing that his desire to win a championship was as much about the city as it was about his legacy. Obviously, that wasn’t the case.

    Question 2: What’s worse, concerning “The Decision” – that LeBron did, or truly did not, understand how Cavs fans would react?
    He understood how Cavs fans would react. He knew. And I’m sure it mattered to him. Unfortunately for us, it didn’t matter enough for him to stay.

    Question 3: Prior to “The Decision,” did you imagine LeBron could talk knowledgably about steel mills, rust-belt ethos, etc.?
    Lebron was always good at building up the story, and this was part of it. He’s not dumb, and he recognized that Clevelanders generally take pride in this type of blue collar, hard hat image. But there’s a difference between being able to talk about it and being a part of it. Lebron is show-time. He’s a star. As much as he’d like you to believe he’s just a small-town, rough and tumble kid from Akron, Lebron seems to eat up the glitz and glamour that comes with his stardom.

    Question 4: What’s the difference between “The Yankees Hat” and “The Decision,” other than scale?
    Lebron wearing a Yankees hat didn’t ruin the city’s chance at winning a championship.

    Question 5: Does anyone feel guilty for believing that LeBron was a reflection of Cleveland’s attempt for resurrection/redemption?
    This is a storyline that always pissed me off. Why does Cleveland need redemption? It paints us as a city in need of a savior, and we’re not. Lebron was a source of pride for us, but he wasn’t ‘resurrecting’ a ‘dead city’. He gave us a great shot at winning a championship, and from a sports perspective that would have laid to rest some unpleasant history. But he wasn’t the Saints after Katrina. As hard as it is for some people in New York, Miami, etc. to believe, some of us in Cleveland are perfectly satisfied with Cleveland.

    Question 6: Did LeBron ever ask for the unconditional love and admiration that we put on him?
    He may not have asked for it, but he certainly didn’t ask for it to stop. Again, Lebron had no qualms about feeding into the storyline that he was a ‘savior’ and ‘The Chosen One’. It was a mutually beneficial relationship. He was benefitting from having that massive ego stroked, and we thought we were benefitting by eventually getting a championship. That’s why it’s a joke when Lebron does things like “Hater Day” on twitter to show that the life of a star is so difficult. It’s garbage. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Question 7: Is it fair to be mad at LeBron when fans ignored numerous signs that he would ultimately behave like he behaved?
    Yes, because he gave just as many signs that he wouldn’t behave that way. And even if he didn’t, it’s still fair. Why? Because we’re fans of the CAVS. And Lebron leaving makes the Cavs worse. Is it fair to expect us not to be mad? Personal or not, the root of this anger lies in the fact that the Cavs are no longer contending for a title. It simple makes us angrier that he previously promised a championship before he bailed.

    Question 8: Do you think “The Decision” is a failure of character or public relations?
    I think his public relations people failed to hide his poor character traits.

    • Jim A says:

      I just have to say that Sean’s comments were witty and right on point. Since I wrote the post after you can see some of the similarities in our views and some differences. I still am in awe of the great answer to question 8… “I think his public relations people failed to hide his poor character traits.” That is just priceless! Bravo!

  15. Jim A says:

    Wright,

    Hope you realize that your employer makes any questions you might ask under suspicion of bias. I personally would like to believe that your integrity as a journalist will supercede the unquestioned ESPN “favored nation” relationship with Mr. L. James. So with that proviso, I will proceed to give thoughtful responses to your questions in an abbreviated form.
    Question 1: Mr. L. James clearly stated that he would bring a championship to the Cavs before his days with them had ended. That much is well documented. However, you asked for an action, and Mr. L. James did everything he could to portray a flirtatious approach to any possible city who thought he might leave Cleveland for their team. This flirtatious approach included when talking about the Cavs, even as late as his interview with Larry King where he said Cleveland had an “edge”. Plus, until the very end, he displayed strong loyalty and caring for his teammates with his actions and he had been loyal to teammates before (aka his current “inner circle”). So there were some soft but definite signs that he might choose to stay in Cleveland.
    Question 2: It is not absolutely clear which of your options is true. I believe what is worse concerning “The Decision” is that no one really knows whether he DID or DID NOT understand how Cavs fans would react. This is probably a reflection of his young age, complete lack of maturity and total lack of understanding honest human interaction. Despite his significant challenges growing up, Mr. James was always “sheltered” to some degree as his athletic skills became apparent. Since this happened at a young age and everyone sucked up to him, it probably is hard for him to understand how Cavs fans could possibly react that emotionally to his simple exercise of his rights as a free agent. The fact that he made a “soap opera” drama out of it on your network should not have mattered to us “simple folk”. On the other hand, he called it “The Decision” and made it sound like it was some monumental docudrama unparalled in human history. A fact I laugh at actually. However, that simple name was a slam to the post-ESPN era of Cleveland Sports. He was very aware of the often mentioned “The Fumble”, “The Drive”, and “The Shot”. Therefore, I believe that he did understand how much fun it would be to stick it to Cleveland with another “The …”. In that sense, it was actually a very intentional callous act.
    Question 3: This one is the most fun question of all you posed. Of course, he had no clue about any of those things. He is a coddled, self-absorbed “X-gen”. Clearly rust-belt ethos was probably some form of Nike sports apparrel to him. A funny question actually.
    Question 4: “The Yankee Hat” and “The Decision” were actually very similar except, as you say, for scale. They both reflected a “stick it in your face” “confrontational” approach. They both reflected a front-runner, pick-up game mentality. It is alot more fun to play with all the best players on the playground because you win and winners keep playing. It is also much more fun to root for a team that is winning, because you feel better after wins than losses. However, that similarity being acknowledged, “The Decision” was accompanied by a result that severely impacted Cleveland sports but “The Yankee Hat” just was confrontational and did not impact a Cleveland teams chance to win or lose. In that sense, it was very different.
    Question 5: I can only speak for myself and my family and my extensive “sport fan” friends when I say that I NEVER thought Mr. James was a reflection of Cleveland’s attempt for resurrection/redemption. The question itself reflects a complete misunderstanding of a true Cleveland sports fan’s personna. I root for Cleveland teams not to see any resurrection/redemption. We need none. I love sports. I love all the Cleveland teams. I certainly want to see a championship soon and have been sad and “died” a little when we come close and lose, but Mr. James was not my savior either in sports or in life. The concept that Cleveland needs resurrection or redemption in sports is a reflection of national media bias and ESPN hyperbole.
    Question 6: Yes. Mr. James gladly accepted and did ask for unconditional love and admiration. Again, he is young and had been “looked up to” from a very young age. He feeds off the belief that others should provide him with that unconditional love and admiration because he deserves it. His very nickname “The King” reflects that mentality. His comments after the game 5 debacle that the fans and his family are “spoiled” by him and the things he can do “on and off the court” also clearly provides insight into his expectation of unconditional love and admiration regardless of his performance at any given time.
    Question 7: I have written a long piece too wordy for this blog that refects my disappointment in myself for not heeding the signs that he would not sacrifice his “birthright” and “legacy” of multiple championships by staying in Cleveland without other superstars surrounding him to stack the deck. He had no ties to Cleveland strong enough that would keep him from his legacy. Over the last two years he developed fear in his eyes when he realized that, even with the best regular season team in the NBA, he could not assure himself a championship. He was simply not good enough himself without surrounding himself with other superstars. His “pick-up” team is now vastly improved. Now he can be happy and play in peace … or so he thinks. That all being understood, yes, it is certainly fair to be mad at Mr. James for the way he programmed his departure in such an “in your face” manner. Regardless of how someone reflects self-centered “X-gen” attitudes, it is still fair to hold him accountable for his actions when they are taken. No prior action is an excuse for a newly taken action.
    Question 8: I would love to say that “The Decision” was a failure of public relations. Sadly and tragically, it was not. True, it was a reflection of failed character from multiple individuals in his inner circle and possibly ESPN as well as Mr. James, but it was clearly a failure of character. Mr. James knew exactly what he was doing to the city of Cleveland and Cleveland sports fans when he put all of this together. He had no compassion or caring for those he was leaving behind. That is not his style. It was always about “LeBron” (talking about himself in third person). It was always about “LeBron’s” right to choose a team in free agency, “LeBron’s” right to display it on national TV to demonstrate his media control, about “LeBron’s” right to enjoy his contractually given free agency. As he said, it was “more (better) than I ever imagined”. I think the failure of public relations was a failure to gauge the national public reaction to “The Decision”. Nationally, no one really cares about Cleveland so the national outcry (which will follow him at least through this season and maybe longer) is not a reflection of “sympathy” for Cleveland (and we need none). It is an honest reflection of people’s disgust with the callous, self-centered way Mr. James exercised his contractual rights by creating “The Decision”. Many cities were “played” by Mr. James and many people were disgusted at what this show and this decision reflects on the entire sport of basketball. Please do not think that I am the only one that recognizes that this contractually legal collusion is a reflection of the new “NBA” where superstars are allowed to concentrate in a few large markets and potentially strangle the national appeal of a great game. Those of us that still believe in fair play and “team” have a real problem with this and the national reaction partially reflects that reality. So you see, it has less to do with “LeBron” than he thinks.

    One final note…. My views are not racially motivated and do not reflect in any way on Mr. James’s skin color. I have the utmost respect for cultural diversity and embrace it. Racial slurs have no place in sports discussion or any discussion. I respectfully wish Mr. James had not tried to relate a racial overtone to my disalike of “The Decision”

  16. SimpleeKayla says:

    I want to clear up one thing I’m getting sick of hearing from the media and i’m saying this as a black female. We don’t hate LeBron because he’s black. While i’m sure race was a reason for SOME of the hatred, it is a very very small amount. Those same people ESPN and the media want to label as racist are the same ones who boo Jim Thome when he’s back in Cleveland. The argument gets shot down right there. As with Thome, it’s not that LeBron left, it’s HOW. He could have handled that situation a lot better then he did. After months of “Cleveland has the lead”, “Cleveland fans are the best”, etc, he went on national tv and with total disregard to a city and state who rode with him and stood up for him from hummergate, to the crybaby shirts, skip bayless, playoff collapses and all the way to the infamous elbow “injury”. And this is how we are repaid?

    Point blank period, if LeBron would have been upfront with the front office and fans and simply said, it’s been great but I’m think I’m going to move on, yes we’d be upset at first, but we’d understand and I guarantee his image would not be as shattered as it is now.

    And lets not forget it took him months just to say thank you to the city of Cleveland and the fans that have supported him, meanwhile his teammate Z thanked us immediately. Just another one of the many things as a grown adult he should have handled better.

  17. Matt Brislin says:

    Question 1: Name an action taken by LBJ that suggested he would do anything other than what he did (re: “The Decision”)? “Saying at his second MVP award presser that “WHEN we win an NBA Championship…..”

    Question 2: What’s worse, concerning “The Decision” – that LeBron did, or truly did not, understand how Cavs fans would react? DID NOT. He’s obtuse.

    Question 3: Prior to “The Decision,” did you imagine LeBron could talk knowledgably about steel mills, rust-belt ethos, etc.? No, neither can I though. That’s not important to me.

    Question 4: What’s the difference between “The Yankees Hat” and “The Decision,” other than scale? The Yankees hat while upsetting is nothing in comparison to The Decision. He was still a member of the Cavs. Of course in hindsight, this was just one example of how little he cared about NE Ohio, but it was small potatoes to ‘The Decision.’ He mentioned that he understood “The Fumble” “The Drive” etc. If he truly did, he would not have allowed his show to be called “The Decision.”

    Question 5: Does anyone feel guilty for believing that LeBron was a reflection of Cleveland’s attempt for resurrection/redemption? No. The best thing about him leading the attempt was that he was local. If the Cavs didn’t win the lottery and ended up with Melo, it would not have been as huge. Here was arguably the most gifted athlete in the world, trying to bring a championship to a crazy sports town, and he was from right down the road. If he couldn’t do it, who could.

    Question 6: Did LeBron ever ask for the unconditional love and admiration that we put on him? Technically no. But neither did Brett Favre in Green Bay, Jordan in Chicago, etc. It’s part of the deal. You want to play professional sports, you want the big money, you claim you want to be one of the best ever, the love comes with it, for better or worse.

    Question 7: Is it fair to be mad at LeBron when fans ignored numerous signs that he would ultimately behave like he behaved? Just as fair as it was for him to leave. He had every right, and fans have the right to be mad, hate him, boo him, etc.

    Question 8: Do you think “The Decision” is a failure of character or public relations? Both, but more on character, he’s immature and hopefully will eventually see what he did, but I doubt it.

  18. Pingback: “Write On” Wright Thompson! « CavsWITNESS

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