LeBron again Cleveland’s best
LeBron James regained his crown.
After losing to former Indians pitchers the past two years,
James was again chosen the city’s top professional athlete on
Wednesday night at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards, an event
the superstar has skipped since his senior year in high school.
The NBA’s reigning MVP, James won the award for the fourth time,
beating out Cavaliers teammate Mo Williams and Browns tackle Joe
Thomas. Last year, James lost to AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee,
traded last year by the Indians. In 2007, James finished behind
former Indians ace CC Sabathia, who helped the New York Yankees win
the World Series last year.
Thomas laughed when he was asked how he lost to James.
“Until I win NFL MVP I don’t think I have any chance against
LeBron,” he said.
Cavs general manager Danny Ferry accepted the award on behalf of
James, who hasn’t attended since 2003.
James thanked Cleveland fans in a video message he taped earlier
in the day.
He blamed prior engagements for missing the show and had a
built-in excuse since the Cavaliers, who have won nine straight
games, will host Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat on Thursday.
While James was absent, some of Cleveland’s other top athletes,
including Thomas, former NFL lineman LeCharles Bentley, Indians
outfielder Grady Sizemore and third baseman Jhonny Peralta, former
Cavaliers Campy Russell and Austin Carr, Olympic skating gold
medalists Carol Heiss Jenkins and her husband, Hayes, and new
Browns GM Tom Heckert were on hand.
The awards show was hosted by ESPN college football broadcaster
Heckert was warmly received in his first public appearance since
being hired by Cleveland last month after spending nine years with
the Philadelphia Eagles. Now that he has had a chance to
familiarize himself with the Browns’ roster, Heckert sees
“We have probably more talent than I originally thought as an
outsider looking in,” he said. “Plus, you throw in the draft
picks (Cleveland has 11) and we have some money to do something in
free agency if there’s somebody available, so I think we have a
chance to be a better football team.”
Heckert spent part of last week at the Senior Bowl, where
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was picked apart by scouts, analysts
and coaches, many of whom think his future is as a tight end.
Heckert, though, believes Tebow has a chance to be an impact player
in the NFL – as a quarterback.
“Now, where he goes, and how well he plays, that’s the
question,” Heckert said. “Everything besides actually playing the
position, he’s got it all. He’s everything you want, the greatest
kid in the world. People can knock him all they want, but he won a
ton of games. And they didn’t just run the ball. He threw the ball
and threw the ball well.
“It’s tough to knock a kid like that, but to say he’s going to
be a franchise quarterback, that’s going to be a big decision for
whoever takes him.”
Heckert had little to say about Cleveland’s muddled quarterback
situation, in which Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson have both
“It’s probably a little too early to say on both of them,” he
said. “It’s a difficult decision and we have to get together and
we have not made any decisions on anybody. That’s going to be
something that’s going to happen down the road. They both have
talent, there’s no doubt about it. They both played well at times
and we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”