“You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid”

How to explain the seven NBA seasons that constituted the “LeBron James Era” of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball?

“With a thousand lies, and a good disguise, you’re gonna go far kid.”

Hope you enjoy it Cleveland…

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?

A Final Salute to Coach Brown

Yesterday the Cleveland Cavaliers parted ways with head coach Mike Brown. Technically they fired him. Semantics aside, it’s an abrasive end to the most successful era the organization ever knew.

It’s difficult to dismiss 272 regular season wins, 42 playoff victories, an Eastern Conference championship and “Coach of the Year” honors in a hastily prepared post or grammatically tortured tweet – but rest assured, it has deterred few from trying.

I write this not in opposition of Brown’s demise. Mike lost his team, and the battles, then the war – leaving President Gilbert only the ill-fated prospect of sending a disgraced general to win back the favor of the now neutral James territory. Mission impossible. Cue change.

I author this instead to pay mind to the mitigating circumstances that factored into Brown’s honorable discharge. His legacy, I think, deserves better than to be abandoned to forum threads and comment queues where – “It’s about time! Mike sucks!” – suffices as the final summation of five fantastic seasons.

Brown failed to lead the Cavs to a title. The same is true for James...for now.

There exist four commonly perceived shortcomings of said former coach among wine and gold witnesses. Here I pay them no heed other than to recap 1) in-game adjustments, 2) irregular substitution patterns, 3) offensive acumen and 4) motivational prowess.

Perhaps Van Gundy and Rivers indeed bested Brown in X’s & O’s. Maybe Mike could never muster a Pacino-esque address as to tremble locker room walls. And possibly our court-martialed captain did his best thinking not during, but between battles. Certainly, these faults helped seal his fate – but other factors were afoot.

After reaching the 2007 NBA Finals, the Cavaliers – to great acclaim – bolstered Brown’s squadron with such high profile acquisitions as Mo Williams, Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison. While proving potent additions to Mike’s offensive arsenal, his new weapons were equally ineffective at warding off enemy advances. As the quality of his guard slowly deteriorated, Brown’s once-stalwart designs did less to defense the formidable and myriad offensive onslaughts first Orlando, then Boston, would level. Still other newly enlisted men, including capable Anthony Parker and athletic Jamario Moon, did little to stem the tide.

Mike also fought his Waterloo alone. We may never understand just how, or when, he lost the hearts and minds of his men, but I dare conjecture Coach Brown as incapable of such egregious folly as to warrant utter desertion in the hour of his (better, our) greatest need. As the Celtics closed ranks, the Cavaliers surrendered atop a stockpile of unspent ammunition, their spirit extinguished – an empty beacon beyond the means of one man to rekindle.

Finally, a deft nod to James who – ever unwilling to pledge lasting allegiance to his homeland – effectively left top brass little choice but to populate Brown’s barracks with veterans. Captive to The King’s “win now” credo – absent time to cultivate a young corps of recruits – Cavs commanders sought mostly seasoned soldiers. Perhaps a band of brothers, unified by years of trial and triumph, would have better served Brown than the mercenary militias he was tasked to manage.

I cannot burden Mike Brown’s mantle with the collapse of the Cavaliers. Neither do I renounce (nor did protest) the blueprint of Cleveland’s vanquished roster. And I remain steadfast in my assertion that The Chosen One – pending personal reflection – can yet make good on his promise to deliver a championship to Cleveland.

I celebrated the spoils of war in anticipation of victory. I cheered our combatants and exalted their virtues. Now, surveying the ruins, I regret nothing. With conflict comes consequence. Conquest is ever uncertain.

I invite you only to consider the full circumstance of Brown’s dismissal and implore recognition of his many achievements. No one man can lose a war. At sea, it takes a crew to hang the captain.

To Mike Brown, for all that has been won here – I thank you.

Fight on coach.