This time of year, Christmastime, the whole holiday season, always conjures for me images of snowflakes, Santa, and the reason for the season:
I’m of course talking about the King himself, Elvis Presley. Blue Christmas and I’ll Be Home for Christmas always put me in the mood for holly, gifts, and egg nog–the true meaning of Christmas, right?
But this time of year also conjures thoughts of another King for me. This King was even greater than Elvis, and walked among us to bring us peace and prosperity–but, being the mere humans we are, we didn’t appreciate at the time the path down which someone as divine and perfect as he tried to lead us. And so when the time came, we abused our King, spat upon him, treated him like trash.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. Who doesn’t know the story of LeBron James?
This post was a ton of fun to write.
As can be expected, I am not someone you’d consider to be a “sports fan”. That said, when basketball great LeBron James revealed live on ESPN that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and going to Miami to play for the Heat, not even I could avoid hearing about it. Everyone in Cleveland went absolutely bonkers at the revelation, and a majority of people came to hate James for making what turned out to be a wise business decision. Of course, that’s all water under the bridge–he came back to Cleveland after winning two championship titles with the Miami Heat, and helped Cleveland achieve victory over the Golden State Warriors in 2015. He’s the hero again, and all is well.
Still, I was shocked at how crazy people had become over the decision of a man (the right decision, again) whose achievements or failures would never truly impact their lives in any material or meaningful way–and so, I wrote this article as satire.
The comments as received on the original post are below. In many ways, they are the best part. Shout outs to Jeffrey Holloway for back-up on this.
Originally posted to my Facebook page on July 10, 2010.
As probably everyone in the world knows by now, LeBron James is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat. On Thursday night, King James announced on a nationally televised press conference that he will sign a five year contract with the Miami Heat, allowing him to join the ranks of rising NBA stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Back in Cleveland, the King’s fans are burning his memorabilia in effigy while Cleveland news sources are covering the story, using titles such as “King’s Betrayal” and “Royal Scandal”.
All I can say is, “What an ungrateful city you are.” Before pointing out the imaginary speck in the eye of King James, let’s first examine the gigantic log in our own, Cleveland.
Though I won’t go so far as to say he’s infallible, for the last seven years, LeBron James has been a part of Cleveland’s landscape. Ranging from billboards and posters to magazine ads and television commercials, Cleveland’s king has brought his city unprecedented publicity. In addition to being named one of the most valuable players in the NBA two years in a row, King James, like the good and benevolent monarch that he is, has taken the Cavaliers to new heights by helping them win more games than any team roster in franchise history — a history dating back to the early 1970s. Why, this last year, the Cavaliers were, quite literally, one of the best teams in the NBA. This, likewise, is due in no small part to the efforts of Cleveland’s chosen one.
And his efforts didn’t stop with his team. Seven years ago, King James, Cleveland’s messiah, took upon his shoulders the heavy cross that is our economy. Single-handedly, he filled the bars of downtown Cleveland night after night, game after game. Through his great sense of charity, he has donated countless hours and a great deal of money to various charities around our city. Indeed, the king has been very good to his subjects.
And how did the citizens of Cleveland, the King’s subjects, repay Him? Though Cleveland’s Savior and King wanted only a crown to place on His head — a championship ring on His finger — the ungrateful peasants of Cleveland felt the need to instead crown Him with thorns. Why, one needs look no further than the last two games of the Cavaliers’ run in the 2010 playoffs for evidence of this. Though benevolent in countless ways and though struggling with an arm injury, when He “fell upon the court” by not performing up to Cleveland’s standards, our King, King James, the King of Cleveland, was booed by a greedy and merciless populace. The people of Cleveland might as well have cried out, “Bring us Barabbas! Bring us Barabbas!” Not since the assassination of the Romanovs has such a shameful display of civil disloyalty been seen — at least, not until after Thursday’s press conference.
As soon as His most sacred divinity announced His plans to ascend from our unworthy, dismal dystopia to the paradise that is Miami, Clevelanders, once again acting like peasants and court jesters rather than men and women of noble birth, jeered their King. Why, even Dan Gilbert has joined the King’s former subject in smearing the King’s reputation with mud. Indeed, Dan Gilbert, by posting his letter, has shown his lack of class — a lack of class not shared by the holy King James, who decided to treat both His fans and team owners as equals by revealing to the entire world all at once His decision. Like a true King, He sought to unify people up until the end of His career in Cleveland. Regardless of this fact, and no doubt angry that the King’s integrity could not be bought with lies, false hope, empty promises of love and devotion, and the mere pittance of $30 million dollars — hardly a meal fit for a King — Dan Gilbert and the people of Cleveland now wail and gnash their teeth at their own foolishness.
But it’s too late, Cleveland. King James has found a new, more worthy court. You practically handed King James to Miami. You had your chance, Cleveland, and you pushed both it and your savior away. Though you will no doubt look for another deity to worship, you know deep down that you will never find one as kind and as caring as Cleveland’s true savior, LeBron James.
Well, King James, if you are reading this, I want You to know that You have at lease one loyal subject remaining in Cleveland. When the apparel companies produce Miami Heat jerseys proudly displaying the emboldened number six, I will be the first in line to purchase one. I am not as ungrateful as the rest, and may You find favor with me, Chosen One.
Long live the King.
Read it and weep Gilbert.
i can honestly say i didnt read this. his decision will not pay my bills, so why the hell should i care. ive said, and always will say, that ive hated lebron from the start. i couldnt care any less about his choice than i do now
I too have hated Lebron for seven years. And in fact I am ecstatic he has left. Now if only Bird’s Nest Johnson and Gun Toting Terminator Wannabe would leave.
The point is, I do not believe Lebron did anything for this city. I think his negative effects out weigh any possible positives.
Lebron is not any more responsible for filling bars than is anyone else on the team or Dan Gilbert.
You say he donated to charities. But who paid to see him and thus paid his salary? The fans. In essence he took out millions from poor Cleveland and paid back only a small portion of what he took.
He was a very poor figure to struggling Cleveland.
In a time where we should be telling every child to get a degree and work for your money, he skipped out on college and was paid merely for playing a sport well. He set the example to youth to forget about education and focus on sports. When the reality is less than 1% of all high school athletes will be professional. I would say that negative does more damage to our economy than any positive he could ever hope to do.
He wore Yankee and Cowboy attire to our Indian and Browns games. So yet, while he has never been loyal or part of NEO, you still claim loyalty to a man who made an hour long television special to lead you on and tell you he’s leaving for Miami.
Sounds like a stand up guy alright…
There you have it Randy, you’re right, two ungrateful Clevelanders above who didn’t want King James to make Cleveland a heavenly Kingdom with a booming economy.
Our bad economy in Cleveland is due to manufacturing jobs lost, not our lack of a championship.
Great work Randy!!
Did you ever think, follow me for a second, that Clevelanders don’t want to work without a Championship? Boom. I just blew your mind. Dan Gilbert and Cleveland pushed away our only chance to resurrect our economy, King James. The city now has nothing to stand on.
Hahaha Good point. I never thought people would rather be homeless than work in a city without a major sport championship. You schooled me.
LeBron James is entertainment. He did his job with entertaining us. Now he will only entertain Cleveland twice a year instead of 41+ times a year.
I’m sorry you cynically think life and people are all about money and material possessions Mark. What about intangibles like the supreme glory of a Championship trophy?
Hey, we got a championship trophy in 1994. So technically we should be booming with economic prosperity.
Cleveland Crunch? 15 years ago? Kidding right? Oh King James, we need you to straighten out Mark over here.
Yeah! Get him over here! I owe him a hard right to the face and a strong kick in the groin.
Okay, so Mark obviously doesn’t understand how this works. Quite simply, manufacturers aren’t interested in building their businesses in cities that don’t win championships. Why? Because championships bring national attention to a given city. That national attention brings new residents to that city, which in turn gives the manufacturers a better incentive to grow (or stay or return) their businesses in the thriving metropolis. Simple trickledown economics. I mean, we saw that in action when the Crunch won fifteen years ago…Cleveland was able to stave off its economic apocalypse for a least a couple more years while manufacturers chose to stay and see what the Indians might do. Of course, no additional championships over a fifteen year period would be enough to push any manufacturer away — and so Cleveland remains an economic ground zero.
For the reasons I stated above, Cleveland’s pushing away of King James will most certainly correspond with people’s failing quality of life here in Cleveland. To be so combative against the idea of LeBron staying is tantamount to saying that one doesn’t care about Clevelanders becoming homeless because they’ve gone bankrupt or their employers have closed and moved to Miami. Frankly, Mark, I find something sociopathically callous about that.
Ok, good point. So seeing as though Seattle hasn’t won a major championship since 1979… the city must be a ghost town as well. Oh wait….
Business decisions have absolutely nothing to do with championships won of the city and everything to do with profits. All the manufacturing jobs left because they can pay Chinese workers 50 cents a day. Not because Cleveland sports suck.
Seattle? Oh, yeah, THERE’S a manufacturing town.
What’s their main export? Suicidal crybabies? Shitty movies about people with insomnia? Come on.