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Is LeBron a Man Without a Country?
Sure LeBron wasn’t the only player of the class but there’s little to no question that teams (at it was as many as 10 out of the leagues 30) were shedding salary cap space (in previous years) for the hot summer of 2010 for the express purpose of the ‘crown jewel’ and that of LeBron. But, something went terribly wrong in the process.
Teams when they are about to make offers to the high-end free agents they bring out all the tricks. And those actions could be something that the Knicks had planned when inviting LeBron and his camp to their headquarters up in Tarrytown, NY. The Knicks were said to have had a high class chef on board, the best real estate sales person that they could find, legendary actors, actresses and producers ready to make cases on the essence of being New Yorkers and a state of the art New York City grand tour. They also had a financial analyst at the ready to show LeBron how he would be able to achieve his dream of becoming the world’s first billionaire athlete.
LeBron would put a hitch in everyone’s grand plan however by refusing to go on any city tours and demand all interest parties to come to his offices in Cleveland. Teams and team officials were put on a precise schedule. In all cases the team’s President and General Manager were present. But in most cases as in the Knicks, the owners themselves showed up to make a sales pitch for why LeBron should join their team and become the face of the franchise.
The anticipation and anxiousness was must see television as ESPN and other minor and major sporting news outlets were giving daily updates on where they felt LeBron would call home. LeBron for the better part of the week had the entire world on its ear. Some cities particularly in New York City gave financial estimates on the revenue LeBron would bring in as a member of the Knicks. They figured nearby restaurants, parking garages, team merchandise (both license and unlicensed), bars and sports bars would all reap benefits of the King’s arrival.
Then the tacky ‘Decision’ came, which was covered on nationwide (ESPN) television for the whole world to see; and LeBron’s Kingdom crash. The people in Cleveland hated LeBron so much so that his once beloved jersey was burned in various parts of the city, his memorabilia was thrown out and billboards with his likeness was either taken down or painted over with graffiti. And the fact that he went to the Miami Heat to team with Wade and Bosh several fellow NBA types thought he took the easy way and thus lost points.
Right now if LeBron were to show his face in New York he would be ridiculed, if LeBron was to show his face in Miami, there would be sympathy but it would be trumped by disappointed fans. And if he were to show his face in Cleveland (his home town is still Akron) any time soon he may need police protection.
In the end, the Dallas Mavericks beat the Heat and it seems as if America at large was none too happier.
Jerald L. Hoover
You can also follow Jerald on Twitter @JerryHoover65