Top 10 Reasons LeBron James Won’t Leave Cleveland

» June 22, 2008 10:01 AM | By Tsunami

“Finding Substance in LeBron’s presumed Departure”

Witness Downtown Clewveland

We’ve all heard the rumors – LeBron James will leave Cleveland for supposed “greener” pastures. I remember being outraged years ago when ESPN.com ran a cover story titled “L.A. Bron?” with an image of LeBron dunking against the Lakers. I don’t remember the substance of the article, but it was essentially a typical NBA rumor – unsubstantiated. Someone spoke to a “source” and ran with it.

More recently, LeBron was supposed to leave Cleveland for New Jersey, so he could play with Jason Kidd and work for Rap Mogul Jay-Z. After the Nets traded Jason Kidd, the rumors got LOUDER, with the Nets planning to move to Brooklyn in the coming years.

On March 5, 2008, LeBron “called his shot” to Spike Lee and dropped 50 points (and 10 assists, 8 rebounds) on the lolely NY Knicks, exchanging words with Jay-Z, Spike, and other courtside celebs. In his post-game interview, James inadvertently gave a shot-in-the-arm to the LeBron to NY rumors.

“I’ve dreamed about playing well in this building and it’s overtaken of how I could ever dream about,” James said. “To get a standing ovation in the greatest basketball arena in the world, it was a dream come true for me. It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

The media took to LeBron like a piranha to a bloody carcus. He vehemently denied wanting to play for such a sorry organization as the Knicks, but soon said that he accepted the questions would continue for 2 years, but he reiterated that he was content [in Cleveland].

In the past month, Stephen A. Smith boldly declared that LeBron James would definitely be playing in NY in 2010, claiming that he had spoken with LeBron’s “people” and that you can count on it.

Outside of the mainstream media is the blogosphere, where the LeBron to NY/NJ/Pluto rumors are not rumors – they are canon.

As a die-hard Cleveland fan, it is increasingly difficult to live in the internet realm and enjoy the Cavaliers at the same time. A typical post-game exchange between fans follows 1 of 2 templates.

Template 1: Cleveland Fan (after a Cavs win): “You can’t stop the L-Train!!!!”
Opponent Fan: “Too bad he’ll be winning a ring in NY in 2010.”

Template 2: Cleveland Fan (after a Cavs loss): “LeBron looked tired tonight – had no legs.”
Opponent Fan: “LeBrick/LeBronze/LeSuck/LeBrookyln Blows – he’s the most overrated player in NBA history.”

So that’s pretty much it. It’s not like I expect fans of other teams to shell out love to Cleveland, it’s just nauseating at how little respect the city gets. But enough about that.

Here are the top 10 reasons that LeBron James will remain a Cleveland Cavalier.

10.) Loyalty – James is a very loyal person – to his family, his friends, his teammates, and the Cavalier organization. He fired Aaron Goodwin (who landed him a $100 million dollar shoe deal with Nike) in favor of his best friends. They have since started a marketing company called LRMR. LeBron bought a house for his mother in Bath township on the south side of SR-18.

9.) Commitment – The Cavs can lose a game 80-75 and if Coach Mike Brown is upset about the defense, LeBron will be the first person to say “We didn’t play tough enough on the defensive end.” While many NBA fans are captivated by Phoenix Sun-like juggernaut offenses, it is the hard-nose defensive teams that have won the last 5 champtionships (Celtics, Spurs, Heat, Spurs, Pistons) and LeBron James is committed to defense – the mantra of Mike Brown, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The media would give him a free pass if he threw his coach and/or teammates under the bus and yet he remains committed to them through thick and thin. In his most recent interview, James announced:

Q: Will you make any suggestions to the front office?

A: I think they know. If my opinion is asked for, I’ll offer my opinion, because I am the guy out there playing, and I know talent, I guess you could say. But I think they know.

Q: Well, I’m asking your opinion.

A: We will get better. I believe in our front office. I think they’re going to do a good job this summer.

8.) Home – There’s no place like it. LeBron has just recently built an enormous mansion on the north side of SR-18 in bath township. And it’s not like he built it on a farm. There was an EXISTING 40-million dollar mansion that he knocked down because the ceilings were too low. He is minutes away from the Cavaliers state-of-the-art — “off-the-hook” — practice facility and minutes from his mother, and close friends. He lives in a neighborhood, not a secluded area – and when asked about his choice of location he replied that he was close to family.

7.) Winning – LeBron is a winner. He does whatever it takes to win. In high school he averaged 30 points a game and in his rookie season he averaged 20. It was VERY CLEAR that he could have averaged MANY MORE points in high school but he chose to get his teammates involved. He wants to win – this is apparent in LeBron’s determination to better himself defensively, where he has made great strides. If the Cavaliers are competitive every year, it’s hard to imagine LeBron trading that in to restart his career on a bottom-feeding team like the Knicks.

LeBron Over KG

6.) Cake – Why not have it and eat it too?! The logic that LeBron NEEDS NY could not be more faulty. LeBron was the highest paid NBA player last year when taking into account endorsements. LeBron is ALREADY great friends with Jay-Z. It’s not like their friendship is conditional. He already parties with him (before and after LeBron resigned with Cleveland in 2006), has songs written by jigga, and can be seen fraternizing at Knicks/Nets games with him.

5.) Payton Manning is more popular than Eli Manning – Payton Manning plays in Indianapolis, a market too small to carry a professional baseball team. Eli Manning just won the SUPER BOWL for a New York team – and Payton is still WILDLY more popular and recognizable than Eli. This is the world we live in today. LeBron does not need to play in a big market to get endorsements deals. He is already the most marketable player in the NBA.

4.) Money – This isn’t baseball, it’s not like the highest bidder wins. The Cavaliers drafted LeBron James so they can offer him more money than any other organization. The [Larry] “Bird rights” allow a team to resign a drafted player for 1 extra year and 20 million extra dollars than any other team. The last person to walk away from a max deal? Shaquille O’Neal – in 1996!

3.) Golden Opportunity – If LeBron James goes to NY and wins a title – he will be woshipped. King James, to be sure. But the Yankees are the winningest sports franchise in North America. If LeBron wins a title in Cleveland – he will be worshipped as a god. Cleveland is the most championships starved, tortured sports city in America, and with it’s continued ecomonics problems, sports is about the only thing Clevelanders can get excited about. Even if it was just one – nothing would ever be the same for Cleveland, or for LeBron.

2.) Legacy – What do Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jordan all have in common? Besides being among the games greatest players they played for 1 town – 1 team. (We’ve all erased Jordan in Washington by now right?) This is part of their legacy. LeBron is a student of the game and takes basketball history very seriously. He may not say it, but deep down he wants to be BETTER than everyone that has come before him. The greatest. If he bolts for another town, his legacy is IMMEDIATELY tainted, especially if the Cavs are on the cusp of a Championship. And judging by the fight they put up against the juggernaut Boston Celtics – the Cavaliers aren’t THAT far away. If LeBron wants to be recognized as the greatest to ever play the game, he’s going to have to do it with Cleveland.

1.) Because he SAID SO – Resigning with the Cavs did nothing to silence the LeBron-to-anywhere-but-here rumors – it only strengthened them since he signed a 3 year deal instead of a 5 year deal. What is interesting is that Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony all signed the same contract and there have been ZERO rumors of their departure through free agency. When asked after the NY game about leaving Cleveland he responded that he likes it in Cleveland, it is home, where his family is, he loves that his family can sit courtside every game, and that the organization has been very good to him. In his most recent interview:

“I’m dedicated to bringing a championship to this city,” James told Mark “Munch” Bishop during an appearance later Wednesday on ESPN 850 WKNR to promote the upcoming King for Kids Bike-A-Thon. “I’m bringing a parade to this city. I love this city. I love Northeast Ohio. . . . Right now I can’t see myself going anywhere else.”

LeBron Hugs Z

BallerBlogger contributing writer ‘Tsunami’ grew up in Parma Ohio, the largest suburb of Cleveland. He started listening to Cavs games when he was 5 years old. He would hide under the covers and pretend he was asleep while tuning into Joe Tait on the radio. His favorite player growing up was Mark Price. Today, he is a graduate student working in Dayton, OH.


13 Responses to “Top 10 Reasons LeBron James Won’t Leave Cleveland”

  1. Bytemoi (mona) Says:

    Hey, Brandon,
    Don’t you think you rag a bit much on the Suns? Lots of other teams play their kind of offense, too, and not much defense. In fact, you seem to take every opportunity you can to seriously rag on the Suns. Fact is, lots of Suns fans are also Laker fans (like me). Yes, there are for sure some real jerk Sun’s fans, but most of us long-term Suns fans wish they would shut up and/or go away. But, the same can be said for lots of teams’ fans, including the Lakers’ fans!! Kerr has made questionable moves, but so has Mitch. Long term results are yet to be seen. So, how about starting off the 2009 season with less hate on the Suns. Opinions are one thing, but if you want to be a GOOD sports writer, don’t turn into Keith Olbermann.
    Take care, Mona

  2. Hoffman Says:

    Mona,

    I criticize the Suns often. But only because I believe the Shaq trade was a HUGE mistake. My criticism isn’t personal, so I hope you don’t take it that way. In fact, I picked Phoenix to win the NBA championship before last season. Obviously, the Shaq trade changed my mind.

    You’re right, the jury is still out on that trade but the door closes after this season.

    Thanks for pointing that out Mona.

  3. Hoffman Says:

    Tsunami,

    Obviously, I don’t agree that James will stay in Cleveland. But this was a well put together blog. You made a very good argument.

    Thanks again for the submission. I really appreciate it.

  4. Nik Says:

    My congratulation with gold’s second place on Olympic Games. Basketball team was the best!

  5. steven Says:

    10 loyalty: LBJ is loyal to business. Firing his agent means nothing. If he goes to CHi, NY, LA, or elsewhere his business partners will follow

    9 commitment:he’s committed because he’s a competitor. He can still be competitive and committed in any other city.

    8 home: It’s where you hang your hat or cash your 20 million dollar a month checks at. Irrelevant.

    7 winning: LBJ can win in any city, add in better players and he wins more games and has greater success. winning in high school is irrelevant when you’re the best player in the country.

    6 cake: NY has more bakeries and he’ll be closer to those bakeries to take advantage of whatever cake is giving him money.

    5 popularity: Eli Sucks.. .defense wind championships

    4 money: See 10, 8, and 6

    3 golden opportunity: business wise it benefits LBJ, The NBA, NY city, and various media and marketing outlets if LB wins a championship in NY or even LA. What does he get in the long run if he wins in Cleveland??? A pat on the back

    2 legacy: No matter where he goes his legacy will be cemented. Playing for another team will no interfere with that.

    1 he said so: “I’m dedicated to bringing a championship to this city,” James told Mark “Munch” Bishop during an appearance later Wednesday on ESPN 850 WKNR to promote the upcoming King for Kids Bike-A-Thon. “I’m bringing a parade to this city. I love this city. I love Northeast Ohio. . . . Right now I can’t see myself going anywhere else.”
    A lucrative contract from another team can change all that.

    Stop being a homer dude. basketball is about business first and the lame fan loyalty concept a far distant dead last.

  6. steven Says:

    Yes.

    Case in point. Much like you, I am a die hard Lakers fan (since 1980). But, on last years trade demands by a certain MVP I never once thought that Kobe was staying. I was telling everyone that he was leaving. Because at the time I also shared in his opinion that the Lakers had not done enough to put together a good enough basketball team to win.
    Hell, I was even in favor of Kobe going to the Cavs.

    During that entire process I personally did not take the “homer” route and think that there was no way he would leave the Lakers. Sometimes we have to be honest with ourselves and realistic about how business matters will always take precedent over other feelings or ideologies.
    You want LBJ to stay for emotional reasons. I can understand and respect that. But at the same time we basketball fans must realize that these players (at least the smart ones) will always make the more PRUDENT business decison.

    See Shaq Oneil, Wilt Chamberlin, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler and KG. These are all prime examples of players who left their original teams to go play for what they thought would be better situations. Aside from Barkley, each one of my examples are players that went on to win a Ring. Each one of the above players mentioned are HOF players.

  7. sean compton Says:

    to steven on lebron about him leaving… You don’t understand that Lebron can’t win a championship for that so called team called the Knicks. He would be miserable there playing for a coach who doesnt make defense a priority when defense wins champioinships. If they would get into the playoffs then they would lose to the Celtics because their defense would smother them or any team with a good d. And why would he need more money holy crap he makes enough what else does he need to spend it on another 300 golden plated ferraris? Not everyone is about money.

  8. Tsunami Says:

    Sean,
    thanks for the comment. As far as money goes, the only way LeBron makes more money playing for the Knicks is through endorsement money. But at this point in his career, LeBron is only going to make big time endorsement dollars if he’s winning.

    in addition, because of the state of the economy, it seems more and more likely that LeBron could make significantly more money staying in Cleveland after next year. Time will tell, but LeBron continues to shatter statistical records left and right and my impression is that people outside Cleveland largely don’t care at all. Every now and then I heard “OMG imagine what he would do in D’Antoni’s system.” Sure, he’d put up even more absurd offensive numbers, but he’s already putting up absurd numbers and few people are taking notice. Ultimately, LeBron has the talent to be considered one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but there will always be that very loud majority of fans that only believe a player is worth anything if he wins championships. I believe that LeBron has a better chance of winning a ring with the Cavs than with the Knicks.

  9. Steven Says:

    “LeBron has the talent to be considered one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but there will always be that very loud majority of fans that only believe a player is worth anything if he wins championships.”
    =============================================================
    Based on the label that is placed on LBJ, he HAS TO win a championship. There is no questioning his ability. But in the eyes, and pencils, of sports history writers, a player can only truly be considered one of the top 3/5 players to ever play the game if they win a championship. Or better yet multiple championships.
    LBJ will get better as the years go by. However, we cannot place LBJ in the same category of Mj, Kareem, Magic, Wilt, and the others just on current stats or the possibility of future stats.

  10. Don Juan Says:

    Lebron is G-O-N-E. Why else would he be dodging reporters’ questions about leaving? Why else would he not have already signed a contract? Here’s an article that makes it obvious why the King will be moving to NYC… http://www.thedailybore.com/thedailybore/2009/11/lebron-james-staying-in-cleveland.html

  11. piter Says:

    I like this blog very much because I can find out information about Cleveland Cavaliers in here.

  12. Chris in DC Says:

    “Lebron is G-O-N-E. Why else would he be dodging reporters’ questions about leaving? Why else would he not have already signed a contract? Here’s an article that makes it obvious why the King will be moving to NYC… ”

    Subjective analysis at best…

  13. Why I Want LeBron to Fail (Forever) Part 1 of 3 – by Tom Pestak « Cavs: The Blog Says:

    [...] LeBron James will Never Leave Cleveland”.  It’s chilling in some ways to re-read that piece.  Not just because of how wrong I was and how fooled I had been – but because it is dated [...]

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