And The Winners Are
Well now that we know that LeBron James will resume his professional NBA career elsewhere there are now bound to be winners and losers amongst this all. Obviously the biggest losers here are the Cleveland Cavaliers’ organization , the city of Cleveland and the team’s now once again emotionally stricken fans. The team hierarchy of Dan Gilbert gave it his best shot but it became abundantly clear that he and GM Chris Grant were out of their depth and faced an uphill battle to entice the player to remain with the team. They’d done nothing to assure the player that they were serious in acquiring the talent to make the team better! . And the hiring of Byron Scott was too little and much too late .
The fallout from this is now clear as James will be now viewed as a pariah by the fans who many of which will have felt that he betrayed them. Furthermore for the businesses in the city of Cleveland this will come a boon to them with the thought that James will no longer be there. Especially given the fact that at home games at Quicken Loans Arena ___ business was brisk for businesses there that catered to the fans. The ramifications now will be devastating for all within the sector.
Slide-show gallery for your perusal . Use the arrow indicator control the direction and speed of the slide frames .
With James having made his decision known in a public interview granted to ESPN last night. Let’s just say that once it became formal, a weight had been lifted off the shoulders of Art Modell , long felt and often thought of as the most reviled and despised person in the history of Cleveland area sports. In the space of thirty seconds last night, once LeBron had uttered the words “I’ll be leaving Cleveland to sign with the Miami Heat “ those words were like a dagger to the heart of the Cavaliers’ fans . Never mind the fact that another half a dozen teams around the league may have felt that they were in with a chance of signing the player.
Courtesy of USA Today
By Nichole Auerbach , USA Today
Cleveland’s sports history took another hit Thursday when LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. Cleveland fans remember these events all too well:
PHOTO GALLERY: LeBron James in pictures
GAME ON! LeBron vs. Modell
NUMBERS: LeBron’s career stats
The Drive: The Cleveland Browns were less than six minutes from a 20-13 victory in the AFC Championship Game and the organization’s first trip to the Super Bowl, in January 1987. The Denver Broncos muffed the kickoff, and quarterback John Elway took over at the Broncos’ 2-yard line.
Six passes, three rushes and a couple of Elway scrambles later, Denver had tied the score with 37 seconds left. The Broncos won in overtime with a field goal.
The Fumble: A year after The Drive, the Broncos had a seven-point lead with four minutes to play in the AFC Championship Game vs. Cleveland in January 1988.
The Browns moved the ball to the Broncos’ 8-yard line with 1:12 left in the game. Running back Earnest Byner got the handoff, took off for the end zone but was stripped by Jeremiah Castille and fumbled at the 2-yard line.
Denver recovered, gave the Browns an intentional safety and won 38-33.
Cleveland is one of four NFL teams never to have reached the Super Bowl.
The Shot: In the fifth and deciding game of the first round of the 1989 NBA playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a 100-99 lead against the Chicago Bulls with three seconds left.
Michael Jordan got the inbounds pass and shot over defender Craig Ehlo. The basket counted at the buzzer, leaving the Cleveland crowd stunned, the first of many such game-winning shots in Jordan’s playoff career.
The Move:Art Modell, who owned the Browns for 35 years, had promised he would never move the team from Cleveland. But after the 1995 season, he began secret discussions with the state of Maryland about placing a team in Baltimore, which had lost the Colts to Indianapolis in 1984.
When the move was announced, fan reaction was overwhelmingly negative. Cleveland sued for breach of the stadium lease. The Browns franchise was ultimately deactivated for three years. With the 1999 season, the NFL gave the city an expansion team, which took the Browns name and colors.
The Collapse: The Cavaliers were the top seed in the Eastern Conference this past season after 61 wins. Led by James’ 31.8 points a game, Cleveland cruised through the first round vs. the Bulls.
In the second round, the Cavs took a 1-0 series lead on the Boston Celtics. Boston won Game 2 on Cleveland’s court, but the Cavaliers buried the Celtics 124-95 in Game 3 in Boston. The series seemed all but over.
Inexplicably, the Cavs came out flat the next three games and couldn’t score more than 88 points in three consecutive losses. James, at times, looked uninterested. The conference’s top team was knocked out, leaving James still looking for his first championship and Cavaliers fans wondering if they had seen the last of him in a home uniform.
The Decision: Or, as Cleveland fans will see it, The Failed Decision.
ESPN’s one-hour special, The Decision, sent Cleveland fans into a frenzy before James revealed where he would next play. He not only angered them by abandoning his hometown team but also humiliated them in what they saw as an over-the-top, prime-time debacle.
For Pat Riley team President of the Miami Heat and their multi billionaire owner Micky Arison this must have felt like Christmas had come early and for the fans of the Heat and especially those in the luxurious enclave of South Beach , this just further adds to the visibility and vitality of the area. For Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh to now have James as a teammate this now makes the Miami based team the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference for the upcoming season. Anyone of the belief that the addition of James doesn’t immediately impact the odds of that statement had better seek psychiatric help . And for the team’s instate rivals the Orlando Magic whose lone move in the free agency market has been to sign backup point guard Chris Duhon from the New York Knicks . In due deference they might as well have signed the female who does the Pine Sol ads on television for all the good that will do. Magic GM Otis Smith is either naïve or he clearly believes to remain as they are will still make the team a contender. Given the lack of tenacity shown by the likes of Rashard Lewis , Vince Carter and the rare glimpses of brilliance shown by Dwight Howard in the NBA playoffs one seriously doubts that the Stan Van Gundy coached team will genuinely have what it takes to take down a newly revamped Miami Heat team.
While the immediate fallout hasn’t been lost on the fans the hierarchy of the NBA must have been rubbing their hands in delight knowing that this subject will become the water cooler topic of discussion for months to come in the off season until the new season resumes.Think of it as the NBA’s own version of the ongoing Brett Favre saga , only it‘s not about “will he or won‘t he “ ? But in actuality it‘s how the hell did that happen and how did the Heat pull off this coup d’etat ? In actuality this outcome was in the making the moment that all there players, Bosh , James and Wade sat down and broke bread together discussing their immediate future. And all of the subterfuge created with their multiple meeting with different teams was merely to keep the writers on their toes and build up the suspense for James’ announcement last night.
The New York Knicks for their part under GM Donnie Walsh thought that they were in with a very good shot of signing LeBron but given the fact that the nucleus of the team they had about as much synergy as oil and water mixing. Mike D’Antoni while being an admirable coach just doesn’t seem to be a person that a character such as LeBron James can learn a lot from, much less have respect for. And for spirited Knicks’ fans, think of the experience as something that you can learn from. If it hasn’t been enough with the moronic belief that because you were in the biggest market you gave the player the best opportunity to win an NBA title. No, the only opportunity being offered was the lure of Madison Ave to the player. Common sense would tell you that from the beginning but then again are they are any enlightened Knicks’ fans about ?
The New Jersey Nets were never in with a really serious chance of landing James despite his close friendship with rapper Jay-Z . So unless LeBron is interested in the pursuit of a rap career at some point in his future , then that baby has just been laid to rest once and for all !
It was felt that other than the Cavaliers __ the Chicago Bulls were the best bet to land the player. And given the proactive moves made by team executives John Paxson and GM Gar Forman with the team were some $30 million under the NBA salary cap. Everything seem to have pointed to the fact that an aggressive pursuit would be underway to land the talented league MVP . But things don’t always go as planned and with a wily veteran such as Pat Riley waiting in the wings . Let’s just say it was like watching an anaconda survey its surroundings before devouring its prey while everyone else watched. Unfortunately the Bulls are now left with little more than their pride intact and not much else to show for their pursuit. Michael Jordan isn’t about to walk back into the United Center to suit up anytime soon as he’s got the Charlotte Bobcats now to deal with. Ergo Chicago , you’ve just been punk’d !
You have to hand to it Pat Riley , he’s not only a move and a shaker but the guy can make it rain. How else can you explain it wherein he signs the three of the biggest free agents on the market at reduced salaries with little more than a three to five year commitment ? Screw that, Barack Obama should hire him in some capacity within his administration and to hell with the likes Tim Geithner and Ken Salazar . That duo is led with the responsibility of one, trying to reverse the economic downturn and the other to deal with BP Gulf oil spill disaster. And I’d hazard a guess if push came to shove that Pat Riley could pull a rabbit out of his ass and it wouldn’t hurt in the slightest ! Which begs the question what’s happening in the Gulf and is there an end in sight ? Does anyone really know ?
Picture gallery for your perusal .
OK so it now comes down to this, how long will it take for the Cavaliers’ fans to perhaps forgive and forget ? And if they do, will they be comfortable in the fact that while LeBron James was with the team they all enjoyed a glorious ride ?. Unfortunately, what the future now holds for the team doesn’t appear to be a pleasant one and it points to a situation where they could now go into free fall and become one of the more inept teams within the NBA. As a dispassionate observer on the outside looking in, my condolences go out to the Cavaliers’ fans but at the same I think that they were somewhat naïve to think that the player wasn’t going to come to the decision that he did. I mean , what were meant to be the pointers to suggest that he was about to remain with the team ? Does anyone care to evaluate and then offer up an answer ? Chime on in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support as it has always been gratefully appreciated . Thanks once again !
Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………………
Rick Ross ………………………. “Push It”
Reality tv star Shay aka “Bucky”