If LeBron Leaves

Many people have asked me what would happen if LeBron left Cleveland.

Tonight, we will find out. Depending upon when my softball game ends, I will catch part of the 1-hour ESPN LeBron special. Some of my fellow Clevelanders have alleged that because it’s being filmed in Connecticut, that LeBron is going to New York. That is certainly possible. But, because ESPN is headquartered there, it’s equally possible he isn’t going to New York.

My belief is that, if LeBron leaves, his honeymoon with Cleveland is over. The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, Game 7, Red Right 88 — if LeBron leaves, I suspect we’ll call it “The Decision.” If LeBron leaves Cleveland, that announcement clip will play millions of times both on television and in the minds of Cleveland fans. They will never cheer for LeBron again.

Especially painful will be if LeBron moves to New York. Nobody understood his obsession with the New York Yankees, maybe, until now. If LeBron leaves, it will be about winning, something the Yankees have, and our beloved Indians do not. Winning championships is a culture foreign to Cleveland. LeBron will have left because he might think that, in New York, he will have a greater chance for winning a championship. It won’t be about money, like many will say. LeBron can make more in Cleveland than in New York. Sponsors will follow him wherever he goes.

If LeBron leaves under the auspices of wanting to win a championship, the LeBron fascination in Cleveland will be over. He has had multiple chances here, but he and the Cavs could not do it, the curse of Cleveland sports history (except for the Crunch indoor soccer team. Otto Orf, et. al, hold a special place in our hearts.)

If LeBron leaves, he will become public enemy #1. People will root against him and whatever team he plays for. People will attack him for wearing a Yankees hat all those years, and say “well, he wasn’t truly from Cleveland — he was from Akron.” A point he routinely stresses — Akron, not Cleveland. Deep down, fans will know that LeBron was part of Cleveland, and leaving is what will make them justify the things they’ll say. I’ve already been asked to join a “F-LeBron” group on facebook, and the decision is nearly 14 hours away. They even have a webpage going that sells apparel. Probably not the best marketing for Cleveland, but if the prediction holds true, they will make a killing. Who says our economy isn’t based on LeBron James?

And, unlike other successful players who have left Cleveland to get a ring, I predict that the curse of Cleveland will follow if he leaves — and LeBron will never win a championship.

Make no mistake. For Cleveland sports fans, tonight will be a historical one, regardless of the outcome. LeBron is free to leave, but if he leaves in a very public fashion, don’t expect much sympathy from Cleveland.

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One Thought on “If LeBron Leaves

  1. I hope he leaves. Actually, I hope he’s announcing that he will become the first player/owner and setup shop with the Akron Blimps.

    Either way, it’ll be nice to get Cleveland out of the national press and get us focusing on what really matters: a 6 – 10 Browns season. There’s a reason I love sports in this city, it’s because we don’t have the national media breathing down our necks, we’re proud of what we got, and we don’t need to prove it to anyone (because having a 6 – 10 NFL team is 8 billion times better and more fun than having no team at all). It’s simple, it’s a lesson in appreciation, it’s just sport in Cleveland.

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