8

Consecutive wins for Saints, who host Eagles on Sunday

LeBron using Cavs

Posted by Eric Fisher On July 9

Cleveland Cavaliers, have you no shame?

The Cavaliers are falling all over themselves in a pathetic attempt to bring LeBron James back to Cleveland. Some reports even say the Cavaliers are the favorites to land LeBron on Thursday, when NBA teams can officially sign free agents.

The poor Cavaliers are like a deeply scarred lover who is thrilled that their “ex” would even consider coming back to them.

Have the Cavaliers forgotten the humiliation of James’ public announcement that they were breaking up? Tuesday marked the four-year anniversary of “The Decision,” one of the most narcissistic moments in sports history – or in television history. And those are both long lists.

Have the Cavaliers forgotten the emotional pain James inflicted? Have they forgotten the hurt the city of Cleveland felt when it was publicly abandoned by someone it had considered a “native son?”

Fans burned James’ jersey. His billboards were taken down in record time. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert ripped James in a scathing open letter that you could link to through the official Cavaliers Web site – until the link was taken down this past Sunday.

I don’t think they’ve forgotten. Instead, the Cavaliers, as often happens in abusive relationships, seem to be shifting the blame to themselves.

The downtrodden Cavaliers, scorned by James four years ago, seem thrilled that they are finally deemed worthy enough in James’ eyes that he would consider rejoining them.

They have “earned” renewed attention from King James by having the first draft pick in three of the four years since he’s been gone. They landed Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins on June 26. They just re-signed 2011 No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving to a lucrative long-term contract. (They won’t mention 2013 top pick Anthony Bennett.)

The Cavaliers seem hopeful they’re good enough to entice LeBron, the No. 1 overall pick in 2003, to come back to Cleveland. And maybe he’ll even bring some of his friends!

I’m writing this column because I care about Cleveland fans. We endured a 25-year championship drought in Philadelphia, but Cleveland hasn’t won a championship since Dec. 27, 1964, when the Cleveland Browns beat the Baltimore Colts for what was called the NFL World Championship.

Cleveland fans are the epitome of long-suffering fans. They are so desperate for a championship that they seem willing to get back into bed with the man who turned his back on the city for the flash and pizzazz of South Beach. With the help of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James orchestrated a “super team” that went to the NBA Finals four straight years, winning twice.

If James were confident the Heat would continue to contend for future championships, he wouldn’t even consider leaving Miami – although I’m sure “The King” is enjoying having his ego stroked by all the teams scurrying around to reshape their personnel to be more attractive to LeBron.

It’s sad watching all these teams cleaning up their homes, getting their hair styled and putting on their best dresses in the hopes that LeBron will choose them. But it’s particularly disturbing to watch the Cavaliers go through this free agency song-and-dance to look pretty for LeBron.

And let’s not forget the suitors must have the money available to pay LeBron. Otherwise, these teams wouldn’t hold his attention for a split second.

But this isn’t about money. James will receive the maximum contract, regardless of where he chooses to play.

It’s all about LeBron.

Despite the fawning by the Cavaliers and other teams, including the Heat, who have added veteran parts such Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts to strengthen their bench and entice James to stay in Miami, this whole process is about James. He wants to go where he has the best opportunity to win championships.

There’s something wrong with the best player in the sport going to the best situation to win championships instead of using his ability to transform a team into a champion.

Michael Jordan struggled through some horrid early years in Chicago before the Bulls won an NBA title in his seventh NBA season. The Bulls won six championships. Hakeem Olajuwon, drafted first overall in 1984, the same draft that yielded Jordan at No. 3, toiled for 10 years with the Rockets before they won the first of back-to-back championships.

After seven seasons without a championship in Cleveland, LeBron left.

Tim Duncan, who had already won four NBA titles with San Antonio, spent the last seven years trying to help the Spurs get back to the mountain top, which they accomplished this season.

Duncan didn’t bail out after the fourth title to find a team with a better chance to win a championship. But that’s what James is doing.

James isn’t looking for a team to transform into a champion. He’s looking for a team that is best-suited for him to join so he can be regarded as a savior when they win a championship.

No place would fit that description better than championship-starved Cleveland.

LeBron is using Cleveland. If he signs with the Cavaliers, it won’t be because the Akron-raised James cares about Cleveland fans. It would be because he thinks winning a championship with the Cavaliers – the returning hero lifts the spirits of his depressed hometown by delivering a championship – would be the best way to enhance his own legacy.

As I said before, it’s all about LeBron.

James is using the Cavaliers. He’s holding out the promise of something Cleveland craves, which he’ll deliver for a whole lot of money.

This is why Scott Raab’s brilliant account of James’ betrayal of Cleveland, with venom seemingly dripping from every page, is titled “The Whore of Akron.”

Perhaps I’m not telling the Cavaliers anything they don’t already know. Perhaps they know James is using them, but they don’t care about getting in bed with the “Whore of Akron” if they think he’s the best hope for delivering the franchise its first championship.

As Bob Seger sings in “Night Moves:”

I used her she used me

But neither one cared

We were getting our share

Please, Cleveland. Read Raab’s book again. Watch “The Decision.”

Have some pride. Have some self-respect.

When it comes to signing James, tell your Cavaliers to just say “no.”

 

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply




Maurice Cheeks enters Hall of Fame