In recent polls conducted by ESPN.com, there is an overwhelming majority in the state of Ohio that believe LeBron James will be a Cavalier after this offseason is all said and done. They believe he’ll join guys like Jim Brown, an outstanding running back for the Cleveland Browns in the ‘60s, and Bob Feller, a Hall of Fame pitcher for the Cleveland Indians from 1936 to 1956, in an elite class of individuals who remained loyal to the city of Cleveland throughout their career. And he would avoid being thrust into the same category as characters like Carlos Boozer and Manny Ramirez who turned their back on Euclid Avenue in search of money and fame elsewhere.
And it seems rather odd to me that a Cleveland sports icon such as Jim Brown would put his money on the King taking his crown to another NBA franchise this offseason. In an interview last weekend with a Baltimore radio station, Brown said, “I think he’s gonna leave, and I think that the treatments the he’s getting right now is going to be the motivating factor.” One more time – and read the last part very closely this time: “I think he’s gonna leave, and I think the treatment that he’s getting right now is going to be the motivating factor.”
Whoa! Hold it just one second. The city of Cleveland is not turning LeBron James into the villain that has yet to, and will never bring them a championship. Fans of the young superstar, including myself, have simply stated facts about his poor performance in the 2010 NBA playoffs. LeBron played poorly: fact. There’s no two ways about it. And for us to say anything different than that would, in fact, be what Brown is calling “an atrocity.”
Is it so bad to want more from our sports teams? Are we supposed to be happy with making the playoffs every year – especially when the front office did such a tremendous job assembling a team full of winners? I don’t believe so. For us to expect perfection out of LeBron James is not fair. I can agree with that because that’s an unreasonable request. But to covet a championship out of a guy who holds the self-proclaimed nickname King James is very reasonable.
For someone with the stature of Jim Brown to join the bandwagon claiming that LeBron needs to leave Cleveland is unacceptable and, in my opinion, “an atrocity” in itself. And that’s assuming that his continued support of Art Modell, former Browns owner who took his team to Baltimore, after his betrayal of Cleveland wasn’t enough of an atrocity.