LeBron, enjoy that vacation



Why does it feel like we've been here before?
Wait, it is more than likely because we have.

My last posts on basketball (2 links, that) were rife with concern that Cleveland SHOULD be a problem for anyone they meet. In so many words, I had conceded to the inevitability of this being their championship season.
Man, am I EVER glad I was wrong.

Look, I know it seems like I am hating on the boy, and to that I will admit, fuck it.
What bothers me not is the amount of times he gives, through his actions, REASONS to be hated on. No one remembers how he reacted to being blown off the court in his first finals, as no one expected them to be there, even themselves so their sweep was not even a small surprise.
We ALL remember his walking off of the court without even congratulating his "friend" Dwight Howard, then offering the excuse...

“It’s not being a poor sport or anything like that...If somebody beats you up, you’re not going to congratulate them,” James said. “It doesn’t make sense for me to go over and shake somebody’s hand."

Yes, LeBron a winner is as gracious in defeat as he is in victory. Perhaps they failed to dawn that upon you in "winning" school, or in the simple sportsmanship that you should have picked up on the way through. And that "lose a fight" metaphor is as shitty as it gets. Not only do boxers shake hands of the dude who just whooped their ass, bloodied faces and pending lab tests be damned, but they also HUG the dude (no homeaux, unless of course they're into that kinda thing).
And it's not like he hasn't walked off of the court in loss before even that.

Which brings us back to this little kerfuffle we're currently faced with. In game 5, LeBron not only had a bad game, but his body language and complete lack of assertiveness, which has been the SOLE reason for his teams 127 regular season wins over the past 2 seasons suggested that he was not trying to have a good game. With pending free agency and being set to make windfall gains in a max contract, it seemed a lot like he already had the nonessentials out of his locker, kinda like when you remove the pictures and toys from your desk after interviewing for a new position elsewhere.
Immediately following the game, his song was...

"I spoil a lot of people with my play. When you have a bad game here or there, you've had
three bad games in a seven-year career, then it's easy to point that out."

So what, now you're COUNTING your bad games to enter them as an excuse when you just gave the fuck up? Not only are you a shitty individual for looking like you want to leave the team you have basically returned ALL hope to, but you enter your performances as reason to overlook the fact that you frequently fail when it matters most?
It has been suggested that Cleveland, as a sports city, is cursed. The old Cleveland Browns leaving to become the Ravens, then actually WINNING for a change, then the new Browns coming in and mimicking the version of the Browns that previously occupied their stadium. Look back further to those old Browns, add a dash of Ernie Davis and Jim Brown and you would have what would have been the best offensive backfield in NFL HISTORY, then Leukemia happened.
[Phlip note - ouch]
We all know about Cheese Eyes with "The Shot" over Craig Ehlo in 1989, which put The Cavaliers so far down that it took them until LeBron to get back up. Hell, as early as 2 weeks ago, Cavaliers players (or player, as it was only LeBron) were still taking that out on Chicago ballboys.

It seems these days that the boy is all about the spoils of victory and none about being as culpable in loss as he is for victory. To his credit, he never places blame where it should be in loss, so much as just not talking. He lets the media do his blaming, and even they miss the point 90% of the time when it comes to him.
Natural excuses include...
  1. A head coach who should be a career assistant.
  2. A rag-tag supporting cast of washups and all-star reserves.
  3. A front office promoting both of the above with a commitment to return to mediocrity.
  4. Playing in the most miserable city in the US.
    [Phlip note - Cleveland's city motto is "At least we're not Detroit!"]
  5. A quick Google Search of "Child Stars" reveals some eerily consistent information, all relating to the fact that they rarely adjust like normal public school kids.
There are surely more reasons, but no need to get into that from here... Perhaps a couple of those (okay, #4 is a swing and miss attempt at me making a funny).
Interviewing with ESPN yesterday (as I write this), though? Excuse of the moment employed, in response to people talking about how his abysmal performance (more importantly behaviors in loss)...

"Man, I'm 25 years old, you talkin' 'bout reputation and legacy? Y'all crazy..."

Yes, LeBron...
The dude who hopped out the Adidas limousine at age 16 in the silly-ass shades and "King James" t-shirt.
The dude who came in the league saying, in his own words, that he wanted to become an "International Icon" is now allowed to take days off and show deplorable attitude and behavior on the way through.
No, not the "check my stats" t-shirt.


The dude who has exceeded EVERY expectation placed before him waits until now to want to become a regular 25 year-old?

Again, I am not all-the-way blaming LeBron here. The ultimate phail of this situation is of Danny Ferry, Cleveland's general manager. Why, you ask?
  1. Sherman Klump Mike Brown has NO NBA playing experience and his only coaching experience has been as assistants to coaches with working systems, hence he learned nothing past preparing video and scouting.
  2. Paul Silas, the previous coach, actually COULD coach but made the only slight mistake of calling a just-then-recently former player a "cunt" after that player made a major bitch move to leave the team.
    ... and ironically...
  3. Brown and Ferry made buddies in the twilight of Ferry's career in San Antonio, where Mike Brown was an assistant.
    [Phlip note - nepotism, much?]
  4. ... so, subsequently...
  5. They chased a real X & O guy off of the spot, and bring in an un-vetted and under-experienced career assistant to not only try to lead a team, but develop the talents of a VERY young cast?
With better coaching, we would not be having this problem... During his career, Larry Brown, Jeff Van Gundy, PJ Carlesimo, Rudy Tomjanovich, Hubie Brown and Avery Johnson -- hell even Mike D'antoni -- have all either been or become unemployed. I also trust that Mark Jackson, with NBA point guard experience, is ready to coach.
The point, here, is that any of the above-named understand offensive and defensive schemes, as far as developing and teaching them goes. After Silas, Mike Brown has preached a gospel of "give LeBron the ball" on offense and a defensive ideal that includes not much more than "play the best defense you can and LeBron will fix your mistakes."
The problem is that LeBron HAS been that magic eraser, thus stifling his own development as well as that of his rookie coach in a viciously cyclical kind of way.
Again, to his credit as a truly transcendent player, they have won games and the fact that somehow this shit worked as it has is due more credit to LeBron than anyone. Everyone is spoiled as a result, including LeBron. It seems almost as if he believes everything that he decides to do is above reproach, no matter how bad. I do still believe that he has earned his regular season MVP awards and that he and Kevin Durant will trade them for 10 years coming. Just as much, though, I believe that with a better -- or even a real -- coach, then LeBron would be good for 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists a night. Better would be that he would not have impending injuries born of HAVING to overexert himself every minute of every game. Jordan had nagging injuries that served to shorten his career. Kobe HAS nagging injuries such that it is an all-around surprised that he has lasted as long as he has without missing any more games than he has.
What he is missing, though, is real basketball IQ, what with having gone from being a god amongst little boys in high school and straight into the NBA where physically he has it, as no one else is on his level, but he can and is outplayed mentally (think: end-game situations) and out-coached. According to at least one NBA Legend and popular opinion, he might have picked that up in college.

Well here we find ourselves, as we have become accustomed, with LeBron Raymone James Sr. on an earlier-than-predicted vacation. He has a new Nike contract and will soon be signing one of the largest per-year contract in league history, and he has just about earned them. Considering that this is a business and that superstardom is big business, he has earned it. Circus atmosphere comes from the discussion of where he will end up or who will be there with him, even when taken against the fact that Cleveland will be the one team who is allowed to pay him the most money for the longest period of time.
That being said, he should take as much money as he can get on the highest-bidding contender committed to getting him a real coach. That could actually happen to be Cleveland, as his role players in Cleveland would not be so terrible under a better coach. First person ousted -- like TOMORROW -- should be Mike Brown, and if Danny Ferry won't fire his butt buddy, then he should be the first gone, then Mike Brown.


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