With the news LeBron James would not be returning to the Miami Heat, choosing to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers instead, comes decidedly different reactions from the two cities involved.
In Ohio, joy and excitement are prevalent as James will once again call Quicken Loans Arena home. James will get a chance to finish what he started during his stint with the team from 2003-2010. Predictably, the Cleveland Plain Dealer unveiled a celebratory cover that will run on Saturday.
A bit further south, the mood is obviously quite the opposite. Those who were ecstatic when James joined the Heat four years ago are now disappointed to see him depart. Some fans have taken the news about the way you might expect. LeBron Heat jerseys have been burned and a mural now has black spray paint over his face.
The healing process won’t be any easier on Saturday, when the above cover of the South Florida Sun Sentinel will be in circulation.
As we could have anticipated, there are plenty of folks who are devastated by LeBron James‘ decision to take his talents to the Miami Heat. Cleveland Cavs fans are certainly heartbroken. Dan Gilbert feels betrayed. But what about Boston Celtics fans? Apparently, some of them took the decision pretty hard as well.
A 30-year-old man from Flint, Mich. was reportedly stopped by police early Sunday morning after they witnessed his vehicle drift over the center line. When police asked if he had been drinking, he admitted that he had been and provided a classic excuse as to why. According to the officers, the man said LeBron’s decision to play for the Miami Heat instead of the Boston Celtics was too much for him. I could be wrong here, but I’m pretty sure the Celtics were in no way a part of the King James sweepstakes.
Either this drunk came up with one of the worst excuses for banged-up driving in the history of DUI stops, or he’s completely delusional. Let’s say that really was the reason he was drinking. He really thought there was a chance LeBron went to Boston and was crushed when he didn’t? Oh yeah, and he still wasn’t over it three days later? Unless he was just finding out about the news on Saturday night, he must have been on one hell of a bender. Let’s hope losing his license for a while helps him get over his dreams being shattered.
Man arrested for drunken driving after being disappointed in LeBron James’s choice to play for Miami Heat [MLive]
Another Thing LeBron James’s Narcissism Caused: One Michigan Man’s DUI [Deadspin]
If it’s any consolation to Cleveland Cavaliers fans, their team owner is just as angry as they are and not afraid to show it. In an open letter to Cavs fans, majority owner Dan Gilbert called out LeBron James for skipping town. Gilbert even went so far as to say that his actions are a “cowardly betrayal.” Here in the sports blogging business, we tend to write with our emotions pretty frequently. I’m not sure that’s ever something the majority owner of an NBA franchise should do.
However — writing in a font that is clearly attempting to prove to fans that he’s just an ordinary guy — Gilbert did exactly that. Mark Cuban has done some insane, over-the-top things in his time as Dallas Mavericks owner and I don’t recall any of it being this harsh. Gilbert is worse than the jersey burners. I encourage you to read the entire letter, but I’ve picked out some of the more intense parts. Let’s analyze them as we go, shall we?
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.
As Cleveland Cavaliers fans begin the jersey burning and Miami Heat fans continue to celebrate in South Beach, I’ve come across a somewhat funny music video that I don’t fully understand. I’m guessing these are Heat fans or just anti-Cleveland people, but if that’s the case I don’t really understand where this woman got a hold of a Delonte West jersey on such short notice. I’ll let you see the video before passing judgment. I had to watch it a few times. Here are what I believe to be Heat fans making their own music video about LeBron James leaving Cleveland to the tune of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”:
Like I said, I’m pretty sure these aren’t LeBron/Cavs fans but I don’t know where the jersey came from so quickly. In any event, I thought the whole, “If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it” bit was pretty clever if they’re saying the Cavs should have put a ring on LeBron’s finger if they wanted him to stay. Whatever, I’m really confused. I may or may not have forgotten why I laughed when I saw this. Hope it makes sense for you.
Video Credit: Twitter user msclace
Imagine being a long-time Miami Heat fan? Three years ago, when the Celtics landed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in one off-season I thought I died and went to heaven. Neither of those two players was ever really in the discussion of best players in the NBA. KG would probably get a few votes in his prime, but nothing overwhelming.
Heat fans have seen their team transfer from a first round playoff loser to a roster that boasts two of the best four players in the NBA. Right now I’m going to say Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Dwyane Wade are the four best in no particular order. Sure, you can dissect that statement from a number of different angles, but throw Chris Bosh — arguably the best power forward in the game — into the mix and fans in South Beach have more to celebrate over than any fan base has ever had in an NBA off-season. They’ve already begun doing just that while Cavs fans are off burning their LeBron jerseys. Check out this video of fans in South Beach celebrating LeBron James decision to join the Miami Heat:
Video Credit: Twitter user Mikey on FYRE
Seven years, six All-Star games, back-to-back MVPs, a scoring title, a finals appearance, and two 60-win seasons, and this is how the Cavs fans thank LeBron James? Of course it is — they’re the same bunch that booed the Cavs during the playoffs. Why would expect anything other than seeing them burn his jersey upon hearing that he’s leaving Cleveland for the Miami Heat? Here’s one of the many videos of Cavs fans burning LeBron’s jersey:
Typical ungrateful, insensible fans who don’t appreciate what they had. Hope they enjoyed those 60-win seasons because they might not win half that amount now.
Video Credit: YouTube user jiedlin
Sadly, it’s beginning to look more and more like Stephen A. Smith could end up being right. Although it was probably a complete guess and a fast way for him to create a buzz, we just might have to listen to him saying, “I told you so” on every radio show and TV station that will have him in the sporting world.
When LeBron James says things like, “It’s not about the money,” he’s really not lying. Of course he wants to make as much money as possible. He just knows that no matter where he plays he’s going to be able to do that, therefore there’s no need to concern himself with it. All this talk of LeBron, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade splitting cash really doesn’t matter in the long run because he’s going to make an astronomical amount of dough wherever he ends up.
When we think about contracts and max deals and salary cap rules in the NBA, there’s so much that we’re leaving out. Darren Rovell of CNBC gave us a perfect example of what I’m talking about with a discussion about state income taxes and how they’ll factor into how much money LeBron makes at the end of the day. Here’s Rovell’s breakdown, courtesy of Pro Basketball Talk:
Playing in Cleveland, LeBron would face a state income tax of 5.925 percent, plus a Cleveland city tax of two percent.
Over the first five years of a new contract with Cleveland, James would give back $3,953,060 combined to the state and city for the 41 games each season he’d play at home. But James would have to pay none of that for home games in Miami since Florida doesn’t have an income tax.