The final countdown. Thankfully.
By Zac Jackson
Fox Sports Ohio
July 8, 2010
AKRON – Not sure what to write that hasn’t already been written as the countdown shrinks…
1. I wrote it this morning, and I’ve said it for months. I don’t think LeBron is going anywhere. I could be wrong (it’s happened once or twice before) but I believe this Miami stuff is all part of his plan. This is clearly about him — his star, his brand, his whatever. People are exhausted by it. People are turned off by it. And that’s just if he stays. But I truly, truly believe he will stay.
2. I’m going to find an establishment in Akron tonight to watch this ridiculous decision show with Cavaliers fans and gauge their reactions, one way or another. If he picks Miami, I do believe it won’t be pretty. I hope that nobody does anything stupid, but him leaving — especially in this overblown way — would make him an Art-Modell like enemy here. I’m not sure I would have said or believed that four weeks ago, but now I truly believe he would be hated worse than Modell.
3. I believe that because it’s been an absolute privilege to watch LeBron for 11 years now, whether I was paying for it or getting paid for it. He brought me back to the NBA as a fan. He does things that are simply remarkable, and I really believe he’s not anywhere close to maxing out. But none of what he’s done or might do on the court matters right now, and that’s his choice. It’s his choice to leave truly adoring people in nervous-wreck limbo, and it’s his choice to use this to upstage anybody or anything else that’s gone on. If he does go to Miami, he’s already one-upped Bosh and Wade once. If he does stay, he’s already made it perfectly clear that he cares about himself and his exposure first, no matter what’s been said in the past. That’s just not good business.
4. I was on Fox News this morning, apparently naively unaware that I was getting into a screaming match. But the first thing I said was that LeBron is not shy, but he is loyal. And I know Cleveland fans are the most loyal around. They like to trump themselves as the best and loudest and most passionate and those are certainly up for debate, but their loyalty will never be questioned. That’s why they’ve been bracing themselves for this kick in the stomach for a long time, whether it’s actually coming or not. Bracing for it wouldn’t make it feel any better, either, but it would be a shame if this loyalty we all believed LeBron truly had (and I’ve stuck to my guns in saying he has it) turns out to be egg on the city’s face. Speaking of egg, police patrols have been beefed up at his house. Again, please, don’t do anything stupid.
5. Some links: From Bill Simmons, From Ian Thomsen, and this from the SI archives that I posted on Twitter last night. This monster was created a long, long time ago.
Fingers crossed. Talk at you this evening.