Down With The King: Why I Am Rooting Against LeBron James

LeBron Came So Close

It came like everything he’s ever done. Quick, fast, and explosive

At approximately 9:30 PM on Thursday, July 8th 2010, LeBron James sat down across from Jim Gray in a checkered shirt and a pair of jeans and calmly reminded everyone watching in the world what he is, and what he isn’t. And when he was done he eviscerated fan bases in two of the biggest cities in the country and made himself public enemy #1 throughout the state of Ohio.

What is he? A guy who enjoyed all of the attention he got during the “Summer of LeBron.” He had some of the most accomplished talent evaluators and head coaches in the NBA coming to kiss his rings and proclaim how much they loved him and needed him. They released players and gutted their teams for him. They hired coaches based on a wink and a promise of “Maybe”.

What is he? A guy who doesn’t understand what he just did to the state of Ohio. To have the nerve to come on television and get pissed off that people aren’t taking his decision to take a max contract and walk away from them is the height of gall. LeBron was built in Ohio, made in Ohio, and revered in Ohio. And now, the first chance he gets, he walks out the front door and has the nerve to look back and go “Now Don’t Get Mad. This is Business.” And to think that Cleveland would have traded you, would have been complicit in any way in trading the greatest Cav ever? Come on Man. Right now, LeBron, you’re standing next to Art Modell as the most hated man in the state of Ohio. Was that worth it? LeBron could have stayed in Cleveland and given a loyal sports fan base who got slapped across the face time and time again the most valuable thing they could have had: Hope. Instead of that, instead of feeling like finally they got their first bit of good luck going, he smashed them in the face and then expected them to like it.

What he isn’t? A winner. A Champion. Here’s how you know. Instead of taking his own team and winning with it he admitted that he wasn’t ready, and went with 2 other superstars. The immortals from generations past and present wouldn’t have done it. They would have stayed and battled with their own crews.

All along, I thought LeBron was special. Every mistake, and he made his fair share for a legendary player, I tried my best to defend. Paul Silas getting fired (allegedly) on LeBron’s say so? Hey he’s a young kid, and after all, Paul Silas hasn’t coached since. LeBron shoots a magazine cover where he’s living out a Mandingo fantasy? Whatever. It’s just a picture. LeBron having not developed a reliable jumper or a low-post game in seven years? He can still drive to the basket, and besides, his supporting cast was terrible.

At a certain point, though, I realized who he is. He is a guy who doesn’t have the singular fire to win. It does not consume him. That’s ok. It’s not meant for everyone to be like Russell, Jordan, Bird, Magic, or Kobe. But to imply that LeBron is there, that he stands in the same locker room with them, is false.

Now I know some people will think that this is hating. Do that if you wish. But understand that I look at this as a fan first. Close your eyes for a second, all of you. Picture yourself as a fan of the Cavs who is about 18. You grew up with LeBron. You were heartbroken when they lost in the finals to the Spurs, gutted when they didn’t make it back the next two years. And now, just when you think you have a shot to do it, the face of your franchise, the man who rescued it, walks right out the front door.

I’m sorry LeBron. But for the good of this league, for the good of all of the other smaller markets, you have to lose. I’m sorry. You just have to lose.

44 Responses to “Down With The King: Why I Am Rooting Against LeBron James”

  1. Clifton says:

    I agree with this post 100%.

  2. Rashad says:

    I don’t have a problem with what he did, just how he did it. why not tell Dan Gilbert privately, have a subtle press conference, take a goodbye ad out in the Plain Dealer, and leave with class and humility?

  3. ohsangjin says:

    Raw, passionate, brutally honest.

    I will never understand when fans get attacked for “abandoning” players, precisely at the moments when the players abandon those fans. The players are always given the out, “just business” or, “he had to do it for his family.”

    Well, that blanket rationalization has to work both ways. Doesn’t the fan ever get full lee-way to vent their rage and forever root against the player who has left them behind?

    If “don’t be mad, fans, nothing personal, it’s just business” is supposed to wash away all the pain and make everything okay, I think it’s damn well time that fans can say, “don’t be mad that we now consider you our mortal enemy, it’s just sports.’

    Yes. As a fan, you have no choice but to declare LeBron your sporting enemy. Nothing personal LeBron, it’s just sports.

  4. Mizzo says:

    Rashad, no one knows what went down behind the scenes. Obviously there is bad blood between Gilbert and LeBron.

  5. Okori Wadsworth says:


    Obviously. I don’t begrudge his anger over having been strung along. (Considering LeBron said live on TV that the teams who didn’t get him were finding out right now.) But the temper tantrum was a bit much.

    @Ohsangjin: I’ve never spent a day covering anything, nor would I want to. I don’t have many positive qualities as a writer. One of them is my passion.

  6. mapoui says:

    all of this makes little sense to me! I do not agree at all. I have no thing with ‘states rights’ and all those considerations for I do not see all of that as the real contours of whats going on in basketball….in major leagues sprots generally

    the NBA is a capitalist enterprise in which blac’ players account for the production of great quantities of wealth for owners who in the end cater absolutely, extremely so…for none but their own class interests.

    that wealth that does trickle into blac’ players hands is not utilised properly in the ineterst of those players firstly, who directly generate this wealth….nor for the blac’ community in which if it properly deployed it can go a long wqy to generating far more wealth and possibilties for the comunity as a whole.

    blac players are forced to use professonal services provided by others who are not blac and a lot of the players end up broke for this reason, after earning tens and hundereds of millions during their careers.

    that is the overall issue and the wishes and wants of idiot fans who do not have a clue is of no import at all save to obfuscate the issue favor of the owners.

    fans can matter to the extent they know whats actually going on and plunk down on the side of their real social interests..the side of the players, period.


    for that alone I will forever hold LBJ in high esteem and wish him well wherevere he goes. and for others I will post this I found on the Final Call!

  7. Okori Wadsworth says:

    I wrote this as a fan, Mapoui. Financially, it’s a great decision. But if you’re a Cavs fan, or a Cleveland fan, you have a right to feel pissed off.

  8. mapoui says:

    Ok Okori! why not! pass, go! you are free! ha ha ha ha!

  9. Rashad says:

    You may be right, but you and I both admired the classy way D McNabb handled his exit (and a lot of other situations), and I just couldnt’ help but think about that, when I watched LeBron yesterday. But that may be unfair on my part..

  10. Mizzo says:

    Rashad, reports are ESPN approached LBJ at the All Star Game. What about that? What about letting John Kuester walk? What about all the imbecile personnel decisions they’ve made since LBJ was drafted?

  11. Burundi says:

    It’s hard to feel bad watching players control their own destiny and deciding where they’ll play, especially when I’ve suffered through many discussions with fans of the larger society who have invariably sided with management in conflicts, whereas I typically sided with the athlete.

    If a team fails to develop a guy lacking a low post game (‘tho I watched LBJ abuse Artest in the post multiple times on X-Mas last year) who came straight out of high school, it’s hard to feel sympathy for that team. If a team fails to convince a guy to sacrifice a part of his game to play a position that more closely matches his physical gifts, well, then, that’s the team’s issue. If a team allows a coach to be jettisoned who was good for the team, but not for the selfish inclinations of a player, then, that’s the team’s fault. When a player is placated by a team by being allowed to get coaches fired and players traded, that team better know what they’re doing.

    Fans lacking the sophistication to know when management is enabling a player to the detriment of genuine team-building are hard to sympathize with.

    Being someone who loved the game and played it with a passion, I cannot help but view this Free Agency occurrence as almost like a pick-up game when someone calls next and gets to pick their team. I personally like the idea that the players chose where they wanted to go. I’m sorry, but with folk like Craig Hodges and Aaron Brooks being Blackballed from their respective leagues, I’m entirely okay with players likewise colluding to where they want to play.

  12. Okori Wadsworth says:

    To be clear I don’t have any problem with him leaving. But the way he did it hurt. I would have liked him to do it a different way.

    My biggest problem is the way in which that cat made Cleveland slowly die over the course of a day, and then when they finally started to get mad at him, he looked back and castigated them for doing it. That offended me.

  13. mapoui says:

    ah well! Nobodys perfect! but I wave no flag Okori first because I know what ownership means…

    it makes little sense to be a fan of anything, to love it when the disbursemnet of it and all it meand to you is in the direct control of those who do not care for you or will not consider your position when they must act.

    and because We are all over IT, it makes even less sense to be a fan of just one team. the league is mine in that sense so to speak!

    I love the game so I make accomadaions for how it actually is and my overall interests.

    I am free to look for excellent play wherever it occurs, whiech team is having a magical season, the players like Kevin Durant who was an absolute pleasure to watch every time I got the chance to see hin this season past.

    I loved watching Alvin Gentry at Phoenix do his fatherly job, the brilliant Doc Rivers in Boston.

    you cant imagine how happy I am Doc got over Orlando and came out on top.

    I like Danny Ainge a whole lot. I respect jackson in LA but Kobe is something else again…and the moment when Kobe scored over Grant Hill and Gentry simply just gave it to him was specuial

    I am not going to get involed in this fan thing man. it doe not pay when the reality of things is properly considered

  14. mapoui says:

    I conside this development in which the players developed and exercised greater control to be a significant development.

    the curtailment of not the development of player freedom is what hey want and intend to accomplish

    so the players better be ready to go further in maintaining what they have achieved.

    the battle wont end until ownership wins/or the players win

    thats the issue!

  15. Origin says:

    @ mapoui……….Amen brotha on Lebron and other kats controlling their wealth.

    @ Burundi I totally agree with everything you said.

    @ Okori……..look man as a youngster watching these owners (the bears, Bulls and black hawks) not give a darn about winning and jerking the fans I began to have a different view of the fans and sports. As I hit adult hood I began to realize that the majority of fans are nuts and will always side with the owners. Especially if the players are black.

    In saying all of that I have no sympathy for a fan or an owner. Fans need to realize that this stuff is entertainment not life of death and many of these fans are spoiled jealous cry babies. They are straight up haters. The punks will get mad at a player for being lazy but have the nerve to support a cheap owner who cares nothing about winning just about making moneydollar.

    Another thing this is why I love the NBA so much. These dudes have the ability to go where they want to go. Unlike the NFL where you are a slave to the employer until they say you can leave. Look how many years Mcnabb and Cunningham wasted playing for Philly. Those dudes wasted their prime years. If there was true free agency like the NBA they could have left and went to better team.

    I am just glad that Lebron didn’t waste his youth trying to prove a point with an organization that probably would have never won.

    But hey thats me cause since the age of 18 I have never rooted for a team. Only players and coaches.

    Thats why teams like the Falcons, Backhawks and Eagles been dead to me for years.

  16. Origin says:

    “it makes little sense to be a fan of anything, to love it when the disbursemnet of it and all it meand to you is in the direct control of those who do not care for you or will not consider your position when they must act.”

    Well said mapoui.

  17. Okori Wadsworth says:

    i don’t like this. Something about this rubs me the wrong way.

  18. mapoui says:

    “i don’t like this. Something about this rubs me the wrong way”

    that means a lot more to come! battle on brutha! I am here with my side. lets see where it all leads

  19. Rashad says:

    I live in a city (DC) where decision making or the lack thereof means 30 wins or less not 61, so I’m not buying that imbecile business. and i’m not saying gilbert and espn are guilt free here. hell i’m not even saying its easy to be classy in the face of all this stuff, but its possible and McNabb has shown us. that’s all i’m saying

  20. Dinakobe says:

    this piece is on point with every sentence. Jordan never fled, Kobe never fled, Duncan never fled, step your game up, bruh, you have officially just become another all-star no longer superstar

  21. GrandNubian says:

    It’s funny that no one seems to bring up how Shaq “fled” to LA to win 3 titles and then “fled” to Miami to win his 4th. Moses Malone “fled” to Philly as a restricted free agent to help Doc get his only chip in the NBA. Kareem requested a trade and “fled” from Milwaukee to LA and won 5 rings. Clyde Drexler “fled” to Houston from Portland and won his only title.

    Lebron James is still a superstar. If people think that he’s going to go to Miami and be ‘Pippen’ to Wade’s ‘Jordan’, you’re sadly mistakened. He’s the biggest star in the game and has been a leader everywhere he’s played, whether high school, the Cavs or the Olympic team. He will eventually be “the man” in Miami, either sharing that role with D-Wade or overtaking that role from him. His status is too big not for him to be that dude.

    Just watch and see…..


  22. KevDog says:

    I’m no fan of ownership in any professional sport. But juxtaposing and then interweaving LeBron’s right to make the decision he feels is best for him, and the cowardly and pathetic way in which he chose to handle himself during this time period, in order to justify his actions, is pretty ridiculous.

    I’m many things and the most important to me are being a doctor, husband and most importantly, a father. And in none of those roles can LeBron’s behavior be construed as anything other than those of a coddled millionaire, completely out of touch with anything that doesn’t revolve around him and his feelings. His attention whoring and ultimate slinking out of Cleveland in the dead of night is beyond belief.

    If my Son or daughters were to act that way, I’d be ashamed for them, if I acted in that manner, I’d be ashamed.

    Defending LeBron right now is absurd.

  23. GrandNubian says:

    “Dear Dan Gilbert,

    I know you’re upset your 7 year relationship is over. Don’t be mad that your former love left you (his winter snuggle-up chick) for a new south beach chick or upset that he told the entire world that he was dumping you. Go find a new love interest. No need to slash tires or key cars. He didn’t cheat on you. He just told you & the world at the same time that the relationship was over.

    ~ Dr. Phil”

    In other words, get over it and move on. 🙂

  24. Origin says:

    GN……….Gilbert is sitting there crying because his team was worth 400 mill last night before 9:00 EST. After 9:30 EST his team was worth 200 mill.

    Thats why he is mad………..not because Lebron didn’t tell him he was leaving. Not because he is concerned abouth the fans….and not because he won’t get the ring that Cleveland so deserves.

    Gilbert is mad because his investments worth has dwindled to half what it originally was…………its as simple as that.

    Gilbert’s million dollar stallion ran away from the ranch and won’t come back. So no more racing in the kentucky durby for Gilbert… more high stakes racing at all.

    Don’t worry old Danny boy, I am sure stern will hook you up with another million dollar stallion in a few years.

  25. GrandNubian says:


    I couldn’t have stated what you said any better, bruh! 🙂

  26. Origin says:

    GN look at the letter that Brian Colangelo wrote to the fans about Chris Bosh…..LOL!!!

  27. GrandNubian says:

    LOL….too funny!!!!

  28. mapoui says:

    I dont see that LBJ deserves KevDog’s blast. a man does it the way he can, no better or worse.

    I see LBJ as a thining individual concerned about doing whats best for him in the best way he can.

    should he taking marketing advice for a white pro? at what cost? are they any blac marketing people who can advice him better?

    by now does LBJ trust anybody at all and is just making do with what he can in fact hold into…his family and a few friends?

    and if that is the case is it LBJ’s fault for the state of the ‘market’… the way things actually are?

    and if we were a more sophisticated people would that not produce a situation that would improve the perfomance of each and all of us..given the conditions of sophistication we would have evolved for ourselves?

    given the state of things, there is absolutely no reason to pan LBJ for any damm thing at all!

    LBJ’s intention by all he is has done to me is exactly where they ought to be…on turning himlsef into as giant a business venture as he can make. as a first step he canned the people whom he had hired on realising that he could get nowhere with such doing his offical work for him, with them chances are he would end up broke so he took it all on himself.

    that alone..and here is more..should make of LBJ a man of great worth, solid, nationalistic intent. what in heavens name nore can such as we here want.

    we have to look at the game, the whole game and what it means. fandon and focus on individual parts with emphasis on this or that etiquette forgive my ,languae is pure nonsense.

    how much can a man focus on to make sure that every little niggling concern of every little niggling person concerned is met so that they do not think badly of him?

    and indeed every one of those niggling little concerns, when and where they ought to matter are completely ignored…like when the billionaires feeds off us routinely..taking tgrillions of ou tax dollars we have to work the next century to pay off.

    do they wipe their mouths after such gorging? do they burp with their hands cupped to their mouths and say ‘excuse me’?

    or do they in their own company and among themselves fart loud and cackle hard in laffter, at the hardworking fools whom they swindle at will, while they are focused in punitive intgent on one of their own who dinally has come up with a way, sophisticated or not of doing the right thing they all should be doing?

    give it up LBJ or keep quiet. if not support quiet is the next best thing those on LBJ for no good reason can be!

  29. mapoui says:

    please excuse the typos. I have a ral problem with that all of a sudden! man!

  30. mapoui says:

    now here is Otis Smith heating it up clearly with his Magic in mind.

    thats another side of the whole show. everybody want something in the mix…something of one man. thats their interest… and they all hold their respecive interests as sacred.

    if LBJ satisfies them all at his own expense whats in it for him?

    LBJ must meet these or he is unethical as far as the crowd is concerned.

    but it is all subjective..nothing ethical about all of it for there are no ethics save that from acrues survival.

    so what is LBJ to do…not see after his own subjectivity..let that subjectivity come first?

    I hope and hold fast that LeBron James is paying absolutely no attention to any of it. he must steel himself and do as he sees right for him. period!

    I love LBJ! he is a fine person. and I am confident that any lack of sophisticatin on his part in this issue is relevant to the difficulties he had in making it…the fact that the crowd already got to him with all its criss-crossing nonsense.

    no one is thinking that LBJ had a real hard time making that descion, that it tore him apart and affected him so much he did a poor job of handling it in the media

    it is as if LBJ is not HUMAN too!

    I disagree with the majority of what I see and hear hear in the feeding frenzy around LBJ.

    he, wade and bosh did what was right them. and as far as they are concerned it should be case closed in their minds. let the monkey show go on with the real monkeys in the media…while they are off to vacaton somewhere cool!


  31. mapoui says:

    somebody asked the question: Suppose Gilbert had traded LBJ?

    excellent question isnt that?

  32. sankofa says:

    Peace family

    James Baldwin once said “when the enemy rises against me it makes me strong, when my people raise up against me it weakens me.”

    The root word of Fan comes from the name of the Caucasian mountain dwellers, the Fanatics, cousins to the berserkers, Goth and Visigoth, amongst others.

    Sports fans have lost touch with reality when they act like the movement of athletes and entertainers impact their lives. Curt Flood literally died as an athlete to ensure that Africans and all athletes can experience FREE agency.

    It’s incumbent on today’s new jack athletes to practice manifest destiny and come out from under these wealthy Caucasian men and their slave mentality.

    These teams are corporations; none of these men have incorporated themselves and thus are able to control their lives. There is nothing cowardly about what LeBron or Chris Bosh did. We may agree these athletes are cuddled, but they are products of this society, so blame society…they are getting paid.

    America is all about getting what you can, either on some one else’s back or not. I love Don King waving that flag and chanting isn’t America great! Because he is saying that an African can play the money game just as good as the other man.

    Anybody that dumps on these African ENTERTAINERS for following the American dream is delusional. More so if they are siding with these billionaires stable owners who throw a hissy fit when their horses bolt. And understand, to these owners and many fans, these are performing animals that should shut up and play ball.

  33. HarveyDent says:

    Someone tell Dan Gilbert to get a pillow for his sore ass because he’s moaning like he was just violated by Shillinger and Adibise in a bad episode of “Oz.”

  34. KevDog says:

    “America is all about getting what you can, either on some one else’s back or not.”

    With all due respect, that’s bullshit. America may be a capatalist society with all that entails, but people didn’t fight and die, sacrifice and make do without so that we can all do nothing but pursue our hedonism at any cost.

    I reject as assinine the notion that it’s all about “gettin’ paid,” or “gettin mine.” We’re better than that.

  35. sankofa says:

    Continue to believe that, while the America you live in and is making money in as a doctor, continues to get theirs on the backs of the poor inside and outside of the corporation that is America Inc.

    Dude your rejection does nothing to change the fct that as a child of immigrants that’s the bill of sale we get. And as the so called ghetto dwellers are coached to believe that it’s all about getting paid, hence the actions of these entertainers who all beleive and follow the self same mantra.

    Don’t miss the forest for the trees.

  36. Okori Wadsworth says:

    Do standards go one way? Are we expecting everything from everyone else and nothing from ourselves?

  37. sankofa says:

    What standards are you talking about? About Mercenaries? $40,000,000 slaves?
    Related to what?

  38. […] Dear Lebron, last night I wrote this… […]

  39. Okori Wadsworth says:

    @Sankofa: Here’s what I meant. I meant that if a White athlete did what LeBron did (like Brett Favre has) we would kill him up one side of TSF and down the other. But when LeBron does it, it’s somehow different.

  40. mark says:

    I agree with Kev – on both points.

  41. sankofa says:

    @Okori, I hear what you’re saying about the response here. While I never cared how a Caucasian athlete cared to conduct his business, my sense here and over at SOMM had more to do with the pass they get from the media and a majority of the fanatics.

    Which i think is the mean theme at these two blogs, who have been noted for dragging up our own. For me personally it has to do with the vile attacks on these three men for doing something well within their rights via the constitution, the labour laws and the bargaining agreement.

    Even then the majority of the reaction is one of hate, symbolic lynchings, and utter blaming as if the destruction if the free world lies at the feet of these young men.

    I can only speak from the I, and say that when Caucasian entertainers act in similar fashion, I am consistent enough to attack the media for giving them a pass, while NOT allowing the same for the African entertainers.

  42. KevDog says:


    I think we’re seeing exactly the same things….and drawing exactly opposite conclusions on how to go respond to those things.

  43. sankofa says:

    That’s the beauty of diversity. Logical discourse that is consistent and is not ruled by emotion will open up overstanding for the big picture, seeing the forest and not the trees.

    I get the reaction to the self promotional hype, I have to wonder why the reaction has to devolve in to an end of the world/end of the game/hateful theme, that should be reserve to the likes of the Hhill Billy that lead the western world into Iraq and Afghanistan, or the sycophant who is keeping young men and women there.

  44. Temple3 says:

    Business is business.

    Somewhere along the line, this thing got acrimonious…and Dan Gilbert isn’t telling…yet.

    He told Sports Illustrated that LBJ refused to meet with Tom Izzo AND that he was confident LBJ was going to resign with the Cavs.

    That’s a lie.

    It is flatly inconceivable that the cornerstone of a franchise would flatly refuse to meet with a prospective coach of Izzo’s stature (another Michigan Man — like Gilbert), flatly refuse to take Dan Gilbert’s calls AND STILL INTEND to RESIGN. It’s simply a fabrication.

    Origin is right on this. Gilbert lost significant financial equity in this deal. The Dolans didn’t. Someone working for the Dolans spread a rumor with considerable weight that LBJ was going to sign in NYC. The Dolans made $20M in one day — a day or two before the announcement — as the stock price for MSG jumped.

    However one feels about the meeting with Jim Gray and the goofy interview and the trotting out of kids who had more important stuff to do with their time…don’t get it twisted, Gilbert got what he got and now he’s trying to cover his ass. They’re not winning a championship in Cleveland. I know it. He knows it. Dumb ass fans in Cleveland know it…and so do the smart ones.

    A smart Michigan business man crossed the border into Ohio to lay claim to the trail profits of the greatest star in the game — and stuck around too long. As the end of the hand neared, he reached back into Michigan to grab an ace — an Izzo…and it didn’t work because some young men in Miami were holding all the cards.

    Game over.

    When Gilbert grows up, he’ll learn that the real game would have been to wrest control of that arena away from the public in Ohio, while circulating rumors than LeBron was returning. He’ll learn that the real game would have been to intrude on the CABLE television empires in the mid-west to seize control of all relevant sports content from the Upper Peninsula to Dayton and west to the Mississippi.

    For now, all he can do is be pissed that someone else made $20M in one day on a deal that only peripherally concerned them, while he failed to make adequate preparations for this day he had to know could come. That’s why Izzo’s still got a job and all Gilbert has are angry letters from which he’ll never be able to retreat.