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LeBron to Miami?

July 8, 2010 - Zach Baker

The "sources" are saying that. Of course, if I wrote a story that claimed "sources," it probably wouldn't make it past my editor's desk, and with good reason.

Still, let's assume it's true. LeBron James leaves the Cavaliers as the best player in franchise history, perhaps changing in a matter of hours from its greatest hero to greatest villain. In professional wrestling they call it a heel turn.

LeBron will be leaving millions of dollars on the table to leave home, leave fans that adore him and leave the franchise without any realistic shot at a title. He will join buddies Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Heat.

And what is it with guys like LeBron and Bosh walking away from money? I'll tell ya, these athletes today. When I was growing up professional athletes worshiped but one thing -- the all mighty dollar. That was old school. I miss the days of outright greed. Outright greed would have kept LeBron in Cleveland.

This is the part where I usually start a sentence with "I grew up in the Cleveland area...", but one thing I have learned in NW Ohio is that the passion for professional sports, whether it be Cleveland, Detroit or Cincinnati -- burn just as hot here. I know a lot of people here will be disappointed with LeBron.

In truth, I'm disappointed too. I've been a Cavs fan most of my life. I really believed James was the key to Cleveland's first non-indoor soccer professional championship (Hey, some people count the Crunch. I do not) since 1964.

But it's not the decision so much as it is how James is doing it. An hour-long ESPN special to announce his signing strikes me as pure egotism. It's as if LeBron wants to show everyone that -- despite his ringless fingers -- he is the one in the NBA.

The special also will humiliate Cleveland fans, as he gets to explain for an hour why he abandoned his hometown -- a city that -- let's be honest -- probably won't contend for a title again for several years. At the rate the Indians and Browns are going, decades.

This is not tragic. It's not a horrible day for Ohio or a horrible day for justice. 

It's a 25-year old man making a business decision.

I don't like it, and I doubt James can explain it to me in a way that will change that.

I promise I will have a column in a few days. Hopefully I'll organize my thoughts by then.




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