Cultura y conciencia

Lebron James: A Humble Man on the Wrong Side of Cleveland and Dan Gilbert’s Backlash

Nelson Santana

Waited Seven Years and Management Never Gave Him Key Players

Written by Nelson Santana

July 12, 2010

Lebron James wanted to win NBA championships. Cleveland Cavaliers’ management would not provide him key players to capture those championships. Whether or not the latter is true, one cannot deny that James was tired of not having a ring, therefore he opted to sign with the Miami Heat, where his quest for a championship seemed most attainable.

Sports fans pay the salaries of the athletes they dish lots of money to see, and are entitled to voice their concerns and or opinions. In addition, they also have the right to purchase merchandise and destroy it if they so willingly wish to do so, so long as they cause no physical harm to anyone else. After all, it is in a fan’s nature to be fanatical.

Immediately after ‘King’ James made his announcement – something many have labeled narcissistic for leaving everyone in suspense until making the public aware of his decision live on ESPN and not informing Cleveland Cavaliers management beforehand – basketball fans around the world and the media alike began an unprecedented barrage of negativity toward James, attacking him every imaginable way possible. He was called a coward, egotistical and media hungry among other terms. Fans in Cleveland destroyed James merchandise which included the burning of his number 23 jersey.

Fans of cities with teams in the bid for James, like New York where James was booed during Carmelo Anthony’s wedding, showed disappointment, but were not as spurned as the fans in Cleveland. On the other hand, those in Miami were ecstatic with the addition of James, where Heat great Dwayne Wade and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh signed and together the three will make an unstoppable three-man force to be reckoned with, as members of the Miami Heat.

The reaction of the Cleveland fans was something to expect. However, no one would ever expect a tasteless reaction from a team owner.

Unprofessional Reaction from Cavaliers’ Ownership

Soon after learning of James’ decision to leave Cleveland, Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert issued a very direct statement to James in which he referred to the superstar’s act as cowardly. He wrote: “It’s not about leaving. It’s about the disrespect. It’s time for people to hold these athletes accountable for their actions. Is this the way you raise your children? I’ve been holding this all in for a long time.”

"If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our motivation to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels."

Gilbert went as far as saying that James “Quit” on his teammates in this year’s playoff series against the Boston Celtics.

Prior to the email, James was viewed as the ultimate villain for keeping the Cavaliers in the dark with regard to his decision. There has been much speculation over James’ reasoning to decide not to resume in Cleveland.

Gilbert’s childishness has no limits. Immediately after the announcement the Cavaliers put on sale Lebron James memorabilia for $17.41 – some items originally retailed at $99.99. The significant change in price symbolizes the date American traitor Benedict Arnold was born, 1741. Benedict was a general during the American Revolutionary War who defected to the British Army, and Gilbert has equaled James to an American traitor.

In the midst of the aftermath, perhaps James was never the real villain, but rather the Cavaliers’ management team. Prior to and after ‘the decision,’ James has only praised his former teammates, management and the fans. It is possible that James was no longer comfortable in Cleveland. For the owner of a franchise to state that one of his players quit on the team is a serious allegation in sports, and one never to be forgotten.

In the final 12 minutes of game 6 James scored 10 points with six rebounds and two assists. James had a triple double in the game comprised of 27 points, made two out of four three-point shots, 19 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals and one block. To state that James “quit” at any given time during the game is far from the truth. His performance during the final 12 minutes was brilliant.

Had James remained in Cleveland Gilbert would not have written that James quit. Therefore, it is safe to assume that James made a wise decision in divorcing himself from Cleveland’s management. How many superstars take a cut in pay to win a championship? Only Lebron James and management know why the King really left.

In his rant Gilbert also proclaimed: “I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one.”

Two things:

1.     James never proclaimed himself “King,” but rather the media did, and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ management team took it upon themselves to market Lebron James as the “King” of basketball.


2.     Gilbert could have been under the influence for pompously stating that Cleveland will win a championship before James, as of the moment he signed with the Heat, Miami became the clear favorite to win the NBA title.

Gilbert and others with a similar attitude toward James are also mistaken by calling James “selfish.” For those unaware, James actually left about $ 15 million on the table in pursuit of an NBA championship, a rather commendable act.

Another noteworthy fact most forget is that Dwayne Wade is Miami’s leader. James traded being the almighty superstar in Cleveland for playing second fiddle to Wade, yet another commendable act.

James has excelled as an individual player as reigning two-time Most Valuable Player, scoring champion and his overall performance on the court presently deems him the best player in the National Basketball Association. Though as an individual he is worthy of being placed in the same category as Bill Russell, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, the one reason he cannot be compared to those legends is because he does not have what they have – each has won at least five NBA championships whereas James has not captured his first.

Unlike Dan Gilbert’s management team which apparently was unwilling to surround James with other talented basketball players, Pat Riley’s crew ensured James would have a superb supporting cast in assembling Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, two present-day elite players, for Erik Celino Spoelstra to coach to a championship.

Another athlete, boxing great Muhammad Ali, was known for predicting the round in which his opponent would succumb to his punches.

Referring to the amount of championships the Heat will win, Lebron stated: “Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…” but left it to the imagination that the Heat will win at least eight titles so long as the three remain together on the same team.

At the mere age of 25, the King has played a masterful chess game that has placed him in position to lead basketball’s next great dynasty. Now, the King has a supporting cast and no excuse for not winning the one title that has eluded him throughout his career.