Perspective And Lebron

One of the more amusing things I have seen with regard to the LeBronathon is having ESPN commentators demanding "perspective" from Cleveland fans (who are angry with LeBron for leaving the Cavs to join the Miami Globetrotters.) In a world with perspective, there would not be an ESPN. Or an NBA. Or a LeBron James. In a world with perspective, no one would care about sports at all.

I say this as an irrational and insatiable sports fan, as regular readers are aware. The LeBron Brand, the ESPN brand, the major sports, are all dependent upon the irrationality of sports fans. It is simply ridiculous to chide Cleveland fans for exhibiting the type of irrationality that is necessary for anyone to actually care about sports. The type of irrationality that is necessary for these commentators to even have jobs.

A lack of perspective from these folks.

Speaking for me only

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    Lebron leaving was fine. He can leave after (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Buckeye on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:11:31 PM EST
    seven years and take a new job, not a problem.  Its the way he did it that has most people justifiably infuriated.

    I think Lebron knew (none / 0) (#4)
    by Slado on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:17:26 PM EST
    he was leaving Cleveland months if not years ago after that letter from the owner.

    He tried to find a way to explain himself and give money to charity while also adding to his brand.

    People didn't have to watch.  

    He's the biggest star in Basketball.  No matter how the news came out people where going to be elated or sad.

    He tried to control it in his own way and people are just using that as an excuse to be just as mad at him as they already would be.


    Well (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:20:49 PM EST
    He made it a good deal easier.

    "The Decision" was a train wreck.


    Bad precedent (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:10:45 PM EST
    Are we going to be treated to more coverage like this for more sports stars?  Will ESPN have to spin off a sister network just to cover athletes who leave their teams or retire 3 & 4 times?

    Its kind of odd (none / 0) (#8)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:42:20 PM EST
    that the "biggest star in basketball" would choose to Scottie Pippen to Wade's MJ- make no mistake Lebron has chosen to be the 2nd Bananna in Miami.

    Yep... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:56:03 PM EST
    this was the pressure-free "easy" choice for Lebron to make...maybe all the pressure got to him and second fiddle started sounding pretty good...second fiddle in a football town with 2 guys to share blame with if they don't win it no less.

    That's cool too...his career.  My beef is the big F-U to Cleveland...that ain't right.


    As great as he is (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by lewke on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:42:10 PM EST
    Lebron is not a leader. And I don't even know if Wade really fits the role.

    You need someone to score 30 points a game and dazzle the fans?  Pick Lebron.

    You need someone to inspire your team and make sure they are giving their all in the face of adversity? You want a Steve Nash, Tim Duncan or Paul Pierce.  Heck, Kobe is a better leader than Lebron.


    Kobe is a much better (none / 0) (#23)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:51:05 PM EST
    and less selfish on-court player and leader than he was during his Shaq period.  He had to do some growing up himself, maturing, realizing that while he could go out and score 60 on a team, his own team wasn't necessarily better when he did that.

    LeBron is only 25, but he might well grow more as a leader being out of the frustrating Cavs situation and, like Kobe, having to give up some of his game in order to win.

    That or Riley could bring in a Derek Fisher type of good-enough player but outstanding veteran floor leader to show everyone what it takes to win.


    Hope that Derek Fisher type... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:55:17 PM EST
    will play for the minimum.

    Or are the Heat gonna pull a Coach Dale and play with 4? "My team is on the floor"...lol


    Kobe is definitely better (none / 0) (#28)
    by lewke on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 03:05:20 PM EST
    but he is more of a quiet, don't give up type than vocal/inspirational.  My main knock against him is he still has petulant streaks like against Oklahoma when he didn't take a shot for 15 minutes.

    I don't know..... (none / 0) (#49)
    by ks on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 11:28:18 AM EST
    I'd say from a possible winning perspective, other than Chicago, it was the right choice.  Let's look at it this way, who was the best player Kobe played with Shaq, Gasol, Odom, Fisher, Bynum, Artest....and who was the best player LeBron has played with so far...Mo Williams!?  Speaking of Mo, his subpar play during the last two playoffs was the main reason the Cavs lost.  Folks want to look at LeBron's game 5 vs the Celts this year, but overall, his playoff numbers are ridiculous.

    LeBron was absolutely right when he said great teams with more than one high level talent wins championships.  Let's look at the recent champs...

    Lakers - Shaq, Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Artest, Bynum, Fisher, Magic, Kareem, Worthy

    Celts - Pierce, Garnett, Allen, Rondo, Bird McHale, Parrish, DJ

    Spurs - Duncan, Robinson, Parker, Manu, Elliot, Johnson

    Pistons - Billups, Rip, Sheed, Wallace, Prince

    Miami - Wade, Shaq, Zo, Payton, Walker

    Bulls - MJ, Pippen, Rodman, Grant, Kukoc, Harper

    Houston - Dream, Drexler, young Horry,

    Throw in key role players like Cooper, older Horry, Posey, Fox, House, Bowen, White Chocolate (heh), Kenny Smith, Mad Max, Paxon and so on and it's remarkable that Lebron did what he did with those Cavs teams.


    Well, not buying the (none / 0) (#22)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:46:24 PM EST
    Scottie Pippen analogy.  Pippen preferred having someone else be in the limelight -- I think it suited his nerve system better and took a tremendous amount of pressure off his shoulders.

    LeBron, otoh, was made for the spotlight and isn't likely to step aside as D. Wade Jordans his way to glory through the pre-season (i.e., regular season) and playoffs.

    So, somehow Riley and whoever is coaching will need to find a way, a system of play, which allows both the ball roughly equally.  Like the old days of Kobie and Shaq together in their prime with the Lakers, they'll need to work it out and find the proper balance.  Well, actually, they should strive to do better than that ... that one produced 3 championships, but a 4th and maybe a 5th that were in reach for those two failed to occur because they reverted to jealous bickering.  


    Honestly (none / 0) (#40)
    by Socraticsilence on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 08:17:09 PM EST
    why shouldn't Lebron defer to Wade in the clutch- Lebron's not as good as Wade at the end of games- and we know he can't win a title- so he signed up to follow someone who could.

    Actually,,,, (none / 0) (#51)
    by ks on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 12:03:56 PM EST
    He's better.  Much better.  Go to 82games.com and look at the "clutch" stats (through the 2008 season).  Clutch being defined as "4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points" which, I think is a fair definition. LeBron is no.1 by a pretty wide margin.  

    I think the disconnect comes in because a lot of people define "end of game" as "last shot to win the game" or "buzzer beaters".  Those tend to make the ESPN highlights and Kobe in particular was great at it this past season.  Whereas LeBron tended to simply take over down the stretch and the Cavs didn't need a last second shot.  


    If this is irrational... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Dadler on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:52:18 PM EST
    ...then what on earth would you call the way human beings create and deal with money as if it were a God to be appeased with bloody sacrifices?

    At least a feat of athletic prowess is, as Woody Allen said of basketball, "very beautiful to watch." Money isn't even a real thing. It can't jump, can't run, can't laugh, can't experience joy, and yet every second of our lives is spent pursuing it as if it were enlightenment itself.

    When it comes to human irrationality, money beats all comers hands down, it's not even close.

    That said, "The Decision" was a joke, laughable.

    Who has the most irrational fans? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:02:28 PM EST
    a) The Cleveland Cavaliers


    b) The Twilight Saga


    You forgot "C".... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:10:56 PM EST
    the Philadelphia teams:)

    Hey (none / 0) (#25)
    by call me Ishmael on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:58:48 PM EST
    don't pick on the Philly fans--they are very knowledgeable and put up with a lot.

    Yeah... (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 03:03:49 PM EST
    Santa Claus had it comin':)

    He did. (none / 0) (#32)
    by scribe on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 04:58:12 PM EST
    No doubt about it.

    But I think this guy sets the standard for ultimate unruly fandom. (Gotta love the eye-swollen-shut shiner in the mug shot).

    Or Ed Rendell, pre-mayoralty, in the upper deck at the old Vet betting another fan $20 that said fan couldn't hit the Dallas Cowboys' sideline with a snowball, then paying off when said fan did.


    It's not The Heat, it's the humility (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Ellie on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:43:52 PM EST
    Let's see what the performances look like from each of the mega-super-divo's, all in the starting lineup and reliant on "unselfish" lessers setting up the go-to star's shots (and consequently justifying the payout.)

    LeBron's not the only one intent on maximizing his personal "brand"; he's got plenty of competition in that regard on his new stomping ground.

    I'm curious to see how this affects the flux of play, eg, shot selection and execution. Given the choice of making an 'enh' shot or unselfishly passing to another Mister Thang out for personal glory, which option will these clowns choose?

    Buying a bunch of free-agent superstars might work for certain sports like baseball, structured to allow prowess at various positions, but dynamic flux-oriented sports like basketball (and futbol) require more than merely plugging in someone who's the best at his or her position to pay off in performance.

    Sometimes in basketball (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 03:05:30 PM EST
    putting together 3 superstar vets on the same team works, as it did for the Celts in 2008, and sometimes not, as when the Lakers owner in the late 60s brought in giant center Wilt Chamberlain to be the final piece of the championship puzzle, the owner thought, as he would play alongside Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.  

    Immediately you had 3 of the best 5 players in basketball on the same team, only someone forget to ask Baylor whether he liked having a big center clogging the middle and demanding the ball.  Not sure if their coach was all that thrilled with the new big guy, either.  In any case, it never worked out, they never won the title together -- not until one of the 3, Baylor, retired at the beginning of the 1971-2 season -- at which time the Lakers began winning (historic 33-game winning streak) and went on to win the championship with one of the all-time great teams, minus the one superstar.

    Enough history.  This one in Miami should be entertaining to watch unfold, especially as Riley tries to fill out the team with some competent-enough players worthy enough to be called even the LeBronnettes.

    apparently, i lack (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by cpinva on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 05:11:26 PM EST
    sufficient irrationality. for the most part, i just really don't care much about professional (or even college) sports. the lebron event was more interesting, to me, as a study on just how far down the intellectual food chain ESPN truly is.

    I didn't even know who LeBron was (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 05:52:28 PM EST
    before all this :)

    I still don't (none / 0) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 06:56:23 PM EST
    know who he is and don't get why it's a big deal. He might have to get arrested for something for me to take notice.

    But, it is a big deal judging from the number of headlines devoted to him, so I'm happy to have threads discussing it.


    It's hard to put it in un-crass terms but I'll try (none / 0) (#39)
    by Ellie on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 07:54:41 PM EST
    LeBron's Sin: When leaving for greener pastures, you don't make a fresh start by taking a big steaming dump on the one you just left behind.

    Nope, tried and couldn't be uncrass. :-D

    As superstars go, he's incredibly talented and even personable, but this was just a self-indulgent, needless low blow to his former team (and no doubt a score of former fans.)


    His fans (or past fans) are being upset by the (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 11:44:38 PM EST
    ESPN special called 'The Decision', is that one of the things that is spiking the anger?  That there is an ESPN special about needing to leave pathetic Cleveland?  I guess that sort of does suck if you are Ohio. If we hadn't been watching the World Cup, we probably wouldn't know about 'The Decision' either, we did not watch it but saw the advertising.  And 'The Daily Show' brought up LeBron possibly going to the Knicks and Julienne Moore was pleading for him to choose New York, revealing that Julienne Moore is a very irrational person pleading and groveling over a sports player like that on national teevee :)

    Fans yes; Owner no (none / 0) (#1)
    by Slado on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:11:01 PM EST
    That letter by the onwer was unbelievable.

    Makes you wonder why Lebron might be leaving.  If he could write a letter like that then what kind of boss was he like?

    As for Lebron he was in a loose loose situation.  He could only make himself happy and he did that.

    He took less money when we complain about atheletes only being in it for the money.  He left a team where he was "the man" to be with a team that already has one.

    Etc... etc...

    People forget all the fuss about Kobe when he was a free agent.   He didn't announce it on TV but there was a lot of media coverage and he soaked it all in.

    Can the fans be mad, burn jerseys etc... sure.  But it is irrational when you consider if Lebron blew out his knee they would shed a tear for a week or so and then move on with out this much fuss.    Maybe Cleavland should find a little more to be proud of then a 25year old bball star.

    Well (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:21:47 PM EST
    Perhaps. But it was good business by Gilbert.

    Again LeBron's mishandling of "The Decision" gave Gilbert the opening.


    Cleveland is a special case Slado... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:41:12 PM EST
    we're talking about one of the longest suffering sports cities in the nation, often in particularly heart-wrenching fashion.  Factor in it is also an area suffering more than most by the economy and the evaporation of American manufacturing...man this Lebron business is an uber-kick in the junk.  Not just because he left, but because he left in such a heartless fashion.

    I get that Lebron doesn't owe Cleveland anything, he's got his own happiness to pursue and he should pursue it...but he could have handled this with more class.  If I were him I would have made the announcement in Cleveland and threw the city a farewell and thank you party for all the love and support...you would still see tears and hear groans, but nobody would be burning jerseys.  


    Don't get me wrong (none / 0) (#15)
    by Slado on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:20:49 PM EST
    I'm glad I don't live in Clevland, god bless them.

    I'm just saying maybe they should turn their hate towards an organization that had 7 years to get Lebron help and never came close and an owner who appears to be an a$$hole.

    I'm sorry but he could have put the same sentiment out to the fans without the "traitor" and "coward" business.

    That is the definition of hypocrisy?  How many teammates of Lebron's did he turn his back on through trades, cuts etc... while Lebron was in Cleavland?

    Why the one way street?  Players come and go.  They had 7 awesome years by luck of a ping pong ball.  The salary cap means these players are free to move to an fro only as long as they hold the leverage of being better then the other players.

    "Go back to Cleavland, Cleavland".
    - The Rocker



    They came close... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:37:38 PM EST
    they made the finals and got swept...it wasn't like they surrounded Lebron with dogs...and The King didn't exactly kill it during crunch time in the playoffs the last two years.

    I'm starting to see the other side on the letter, you make some good points.  I still think his anger over how Lebron handled it is justified, but two can take the high road...he didn't have to follow Lebron down D*ck Move Road.

    To be clear...leaving wasn't a d*ck move.  How he left was...."The Decision" was just cruel, imo.


    Many people believe Lebron (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Buckeye on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:39:35 PM EST
    was given the supporting cast this year but fell apart in the playoffs.  There have been other players as talented as Jordan but just did not have the moxie when it counted most: Kemp, Robinson, Barkley, Pipen absent Jordan, etc.  That is the knock right now on Lebron, he quit in this year's playoffs.  He can put up monster numbers throughout the year, but in crunch time cannot get it done.  Of course, some have the opinion you do.  But, whether or not the owner is a D-bag should not impact how Lebron handles and informs the city of Cleveland of his departure.

    Superbly said, kdog (none / 0) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 11:43:33 PM EST
    You hit it just right.

    He cursed him :) (none / 0) (#45)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 02:45:08 AM EST
    Like an old Strega...and they burnt jerseys to seal :)  It's kind of spooky.

    Well Said (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:15:48 PM EST
    One of the reasons I have never been a sports fan. My irrational behavior lies elsewhere.

    Money Talks and Bull Sh----t walks! (none / 0) (#9)
    by Saul on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 01:47:00 PM EST
    Its all about money.

    If it was all about the money (none / 0) (#26)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 03:01:31 PM EST
    He would have gone to new york and been a a true basketball god.  As a lakers fan I wanted that so badly.  I want the knicks to be respectable again.

    The problem with Miami is it is just not a basketball town.  Even when they were winning the seats were empty.  The weather is too good to care about basketball at the level people here in Detroit and Cleveland care about the game.


    In addition (none / 0) (#36)
    by Madeline on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 06:20:22 PM EST
    the pride and glory and reverence is for the Dolphins. Even when huizenga bought them and they were demoralized, they were/are still Miami's 'Dolphins'.

    Lebron will be another ornament on South Beach. We're not a basketball town.


    That's funny (none / 0) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 11:48:18 PM EST
    That's the way it was in Boston when the legendary Bill Russell Celtics were winning what was it, 8 straight championships?

    Now that Boston is most definitely a "basketball town," the ordinary guy can't get a ticket without taking out a second mortage, if he's lucky.  Back in the day, you could pick up a great seat on the day of the game for a few bucks and the seats weren't completely filled with corporate ticket users, they were actual fans.


    How unaffordable it has become (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 12:00:46 AM EST
    I think this is one of the things that has left this family's sports fan persona undeveloped in the area of more common professional sports.  I have family members that are completely nuts...have lost it...Nebraska college football fans, but professional sports seem so family unfriendly these days. Up to now they have been able to charge what they want though and still pack the house, they haven't missed us.

    If not all about $$, then 98% or more (none / 0) (#30)
    by christinep on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 03:36:36 PM EST
    An interesting point: I heard that Florida does not have state income tax...leaving a net gain of well over $1M. Guessing that various other arrangements--tax, real estate, etc.--yield $$ sums as well. Yep, Saul, you got it.

    That's right (none / 0) (#47)
    by ruffian on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 10:47:24 AM EST
    after I moved here to Orlando - work decision, not my preference - I learned about Tiger Woods' home here and asked my coworkers why on earth he would choose to live here when he can live anywhere? tax reasons were the main answer, plus of course the good golf weather in the winter. I think the taxes were paramount though.

    No comments about the father lawsuit?? (none / 0) (#17)
    by observed on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 02:34:16 PM EST
    Do I need to go to TMZ??

    Best post ever (none / 0) (#31)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 03:46:31 PM EST
    Or maybe that's my lack of perspective talking.

    Seriously though, soooo true. ESPN commentators demanding perspective is hilarious. they are lucky people are using them as escapism from their real problems.

    Good to see that (none / 0) (#33)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 05:02:06 PM EST
    My Main Man (after Kobe), Spike Lee, agrees with me that the Letter to the Fans by the overheated Cavs owner may have crossed the line, and that LeBron might require not just added security for LeBron the first time the Heat go to Cleveland, but possibly the National Guard! will need to be called in.

    That's because (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Madeline on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 06:32:27 PM EST
    you and Spike Lee don't know Cleveland. Gilbert, in my opinion, was speaking for the Cleveland fans. He may have stopped more anger from entering the streets by validating their feelings.

    Some of those northern cities that have lost so many jobs and businesses, put a lot into their teams; pride, hope, etc. Teams and the players become projections of lives there. I am sure there were some strong feelings for Lebron; he was 18 when he joined the Cavs. They were with him from kid to man; from good to superstar. I guess reality kinda sucked last night.


    Good point (none / 0) (#48)
    by Munibond on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 11:18:25 AM EST
    I think Gilbert's letter, including the Curse, was very cathartic.  The ceremonial destruction of Lebron imagery (some of it done in exchange for free beer) and other local hype seems to be helping people let off steam rather than fomenting violence.  I expect the Cavs marketing people to come up with similarly harmless ways for fans to show their distaste when the Heat comes to Cleveland.
    I'm glad Gilbert called him out for quitting.  It's BS to say Gilbert et al didn't provide him with a good enough team.  Cavs were ahead of Celtics 2-1 when LBJ became mutinous.

    I understand... (none / 0) (#50)
    by ks on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 11:52:31 AM EST
    Gilbert's motivation and Lebron's could have handled it better ("The Decision" was a terrible idea) but his screed was crap and the idea that he provided Lebron with a good enough team is ridiculous.  Look at those rosters!  The only reason why it may seem that way is because Lebron is a special talent and carried those scrubs and made the team better than they really were.  If they are so good what do you think their record is going to be without him? They'll be lucky to be .500.

    Also Glibert is feeling the $$$$$ pain. Lebron increased the value of the franchise by a few $100 million and the Q was sold out pretty much every night and let's not even talk about the merchandising.  All of that is gone now.    


    We'll see (none / 0) (#52)
    by Munibond on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 01:59:09 PM EST
    I think ticket sales will be pretty good.  
    It's easy for the star to rack up statistics and hard for other players to make a mark when the star has possession 90% of the time.  LBJ wasn't playing all that well in the playoffs, perhaps because of his elbow, and Cavs still beat a very good Chicago team and were up 2-1 against Celtics.  Jamison, Varajao, O'Neal and others made significant contributions.  Clearly the chemistry fell apart after the MVP awards.  Maybe there is some truth to the rumors going around, which would explain why several players, including LBJ, weren't able to rise to the occasion.  

    I fee redeemed. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Faust on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 10:23:31 AM EST
    I finally understand why I don't care about sports in the slightest. I have perspective!