Cavs owner speaks his mind
Posted July 9, 2010
LeBron James left his hometown team, Cleveland, to play for the Miami Heat. Television images showed some Clevelanders burning LeBron's #23 jersey. On my drive home at midnight I listened to WTAM 1100, a Cleveland sports talk radio station. One host called James a punk.
Emotions run high throughout Cleveland.
"He (LeBron) has gotten a free pass. People have covered up for him for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is." That venom wasn't from a radio call-in from Ken in Parma. That's from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert !
LeBron never called his former boss to inform him of the decision. "It's not about him leaving," Gilbert said. "It's the disrespect. It's time for people to hold these athletes accountable for their actions. Is this the way you raise your children? I've been holding this all in for a long time."
Sore loser or is Gilbert speaking the truth?
He claims LeBron quit on his team in games 2,4,5 and 6 of the Boston series. "Watch the tape," Gilbert added. "The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar."
Then in a letter to Cavalier fans, Dan Gilbert may have made a statement that he can't deliver.
"I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE"
"You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal," Gilbert wrote.
I knew this would be the reaction from Cleveland fans if LeBron left. But I never expected these statements to come from their owner.
Look out Mark Cuban, you have a rival !
I do feel for the fans in Cleveland. I worked there from 2000-2003. LeBron was in high school then at nearby Akron. He would grow into a household name across the country BEFORE he left St. Vincent-St.Mary high school.
We would often banter back and forth, whether it would be a good thing for LeBron to play for his hometown Cavs. All of the pressure coupled with all of the expectations from a city that hasn't had a victory parade since 1964.
He took on the challenge and flourished. So did the Cavs.
Large pockets of empty seats at Gund arena began to fill up when LeBron suited up for Cleveland. Prior to his arrival, I saw three sellouts in three years at the Gund. (1) When Shaq and Kobe came to town. (2) When Michael Jordan came back. (3) When LeBron played a high school game at the Gund.
LeBron won a pair of MVP awards but couldn't deliver the city a championship. NBA titles don't visit many cities. Think about it, since 1980, only 8 NBA franchises have won NBA championships.
Like a groom before his wedding, LeBron will go ring shopping in Miami. Cleveland is in recovery mode but it's a city that is accustomed to sports hangovers. The drive in 1986, the fumble in 87, the shot in 89, the single in 97 and now the departure in 2010.
Only in Cleveland.
C-town, you have every right to be upset.