I repeat: the city of Cleveland is better off without LeBron James leading its basketball team. If this round of free agency has proven anything, it’s how much of a farce LBJ really is. Cleveland doesn’t need it.
Sure, LeBron has helped to transform that franchise into perennial Eastern Conference contenders. And we’ve all heard countless times during this process that LeBron has an impact both on and off the court. He brings money to the city.
He is the entire franchise. He’s the future face of the NBA (if he isn’t already, though Kobe would like to have a say in that discussion), and he’s the local kid who rose up from the ranks to command the team of his childhood.
He’s all of that except the hometown hero. LeBron roots for the Yankees and Cowboys, not the Browns and Indians. He’s not Cleveland, not the way the fans who fill Quicken Loans Arena 41 times a season want him to be.
As Yahoo! NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski wrote, it’s all about LeBron and no one else. It’s about his own brand, his own image, his own ego.
There was hope for James when he entered the league that he would be different. His skills set him apart from others his age. They still do. His monstrous dunks and deflating blocks are part of a unique skill set built into a forward’s body with the ball-skills of a guard.
LBJ’s free agency has proven he’s no different than any other athlete; me, me, me all the time. So when ESPN airs this ridiculous “The Decision” special Thursday at 9 pm, don’t watch. That’s what LeBron wants. And Cleveland, don’t watch. He may or may not break your heart, but he’s dragged you through the mud enough.
Cleveland, you’ll survive with or without LeBron. With him, you still won’t win an NBA Championship and you’ll be nothing more than second class. Without him, you can move on.