I suppose that some people might be interested in my views of LeBron James returning to Cleveland, considering that I am from Cleveland, and considering that I have insulted LeBron at various times on my blog. (I regret nothing!)
First of all, let me start with this. I never watched an entire Cavs game when LeBron was here the first time. I don’t like basketball. It’s boring. It has the opposite problem of soccer. In soccer, teams never score. Well, almost never. (See the Germany Brazil semifinal game for a notable exception.) In basketball, they always score, so it seems a little boring to me. Don’t get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for them as athletes, I just don’t think that the basketball is boring.
I also want to state that I was not angry BECAUSE he decided to leave Cleveland. I can’t blame him for that. Everyone wants to leave Cleveland. Everyone. Can I blame him for doing what we all secretly dream of doing? (Don’t get me wrong, I actually love Cleveland, and Cleveland gets a bad rap in many ways. There are many advantages to living, working, and playing here. But still, everyone thinks about leaving. Everyone.)
However, it was the cockiness, the self absorption demonstrated in the the TV show that I found distasteful. Very distasteful. Before he announced, many people on the radio were saying, “I have to believe he’s going to stay. To announce that he’s leaving on national TV would be such a horrific, dick move, I can’t believe he would do it.” Then, there it was, a horrific dick move.
Of course, I had reasons to suspect that he was a douche before he left. In 2008, a local free magazine reported that LeBron James and his friends had kept a restaurant open until 2:30 am, well after closing, ordered $800 worth of food, and left a $10 tip. Was that true? My mom heard that it was confirmed when the restaurant manager quit, but of course, I can’t vouch for its veracity. However, that story seemed much more believable after the decision. A man who would do that would be the kind of man to stiff waiters like that, plus Clevelanders began hearing other, terrible stories about LeBron around the same time. I heard that, at the Olympics, he complained that his fries were too cold, and threw them at the staff screaming. Those were the stories I remember. Of course, I don’t know if any of them were true, but they seemed to jive with the kind of person who would do The Decision.
I also didn’t like it because of what it said about basketball as a sport. It showed that all you really needed to win, or have a winning team, was a superstar. In football (American football) it is not that easy. There have been plenty of great teams that do not have a large number of superstars. It seems basketball is not so much a team sport, but a Superhero and Sidekicks sport.
But even at that moment, I didn’t completely hate LeBron James, though I shared in the disgust of my fellow Clevelanders at LeBron’s unbelievable gall, hubris, and vainglory.
It was through the next year that I began to discover Hating Lebron…