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  • Writer's pictureFred

"A Kid From Akron" In Perspective

LeBron James has been great for the NBA.

As a Cleveland Sports fan, I am here to tell you he wasn't great for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

How do I figure?

Bill Russell played 13 seasons and brought 11 championships to the Boston Celtics.

Michael Jordan played 15 seasons and brought 6 championships to the Chicago Bulls

Magic Johnson played 13 seasons and brought 5 championships to the L.A. Lakers

Kobe Bryant played 20 seasons and also brought 5 championships to the L.A. Lakers

LeBron James, the self proclaimed King, and arguably the greatest player of all time, is in his 19th season and brought ONE championship to Cleveland. O-N-E.

"But he won four-"

I am going to stop you right there. At the end of the day, LeBron James is a businessman. LeBron James never wrapped himself in a Cavaliers banner. He never said he wanted to spend his career in Cleveland. James' second contract was not a full extension, he was already eyeing an exit strategy during his first contract. He was always careful to talk about the business model of the NBA. He spoke in nebulous terms about basketball, not the history of the Cavs. I never heard him praise old Cavs stars like Brad Daugherty or Mark Price. LeBron always qualified that he wasn't from Cleveland, he was from Akron. People conveniently forget that the voice of the Cavs, Joe Tait, quit when LeBron went to Miami and said that James was "destroying the league."

As local sportswriters all wax poetically about Lebron, talking about the weight of the world being placed on his shoulders as a prep player and then growing up to be the player with the most points in NBA history, all the while doing things the right way, I still have doubts about what was going on behind the scenes. Those sportswriters are overlooking questions that have lingered from the very beginning. I apologize for being so jaded, but how does a homeless fourth grader end up at a private school in 9th grade and unknown revenue streams by 11th grade? How do YOU know he did things the right way? He' has literally had a management team in place since high school. Every decision LeBron made in the NBA was a business decision.

When it comes to total points, I would nitpick that Jordan lost a lot of points when he was playing baseball and college ball. I would argue that Magic lost a lot of points due to HIV and college ball.

But LeBron the Businessman would argue that numbers are numbers. So using that premise, as a Cleveland Fan. I would say "we had the 'greatest player of all time,' but only had one championship? That's not legendary. LeBron left Cleveland more times than he won championships for the city.

If you asked Clevelanders, in 2003: LeBron will be the Greatest Player of All Time and be almost unstoppable for two decades, but you only get 1 championship. Would you be happy?

"Uhhh, what's the catch?"

For everyone on the LeBron Bandwagon, that catch was the DRAMA. Two decades of drama that has only subsided in the last year or so. Brian Windhorst used to lament the "organizational fatigue" that LeBron caused.

There's a unique narrative when it comes to LeBron.

When LeBron succeeds, it is because of LeBron.

When LeBron fails, it is because of the other players, the situation, or Dan Gilbert.

The only reason LeBron doesn't chirp more about the failures of Dan Gilbert is because Gilbert is incapacitated. Even LeBron knows that coming out against an owner with health issues is in bad form in NBA circles. LeBron manages his brand very carefully.

The Cavs are worth about 2 billion dollars, about the same as other mid-market teams. The difference is the Cavs actually won a championship. I would argue that the Cavs would be worth exactly the same if LeBron never played for them.

Now LeBron is the leading scorer in NBA history, congrats to him, you can't unshoot those shots.

But the narrative is that LeBron won those championships, not his teams. I could even argue LeBron has a bigger world wide imprint than the NBA.

You think I'm Mr. Jealous?

I am.

LeBron's every dream came true. He is worth over a billion dollars.

LeBron's condescending attitude is that he "gave" the Cavs their championship.

Cavs Fans' every dream did not come true.


Just a reminder, over a million people showed up for the Cavs Championship Parade.

One of those people was Beacon of Speech contributor Joe K. Every time we mention the victory parade, Joe K yells at us "someone shot at me."

And we all laugh.

But not Joe K. "You think that's funny?"

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