First, the basketball worries:
It sure is Pile on LeBron Week, huh? Everyone seems to be hating on LeBron and the Heat. There’s a coach bump controversy and planted stories. We got Bill Simmons calling the Heat weak and predicting that they’ll get blown out on Thursday. And Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski simply takes LeBron to the woodshed in his latest column:
The fundamental problem for Spoelstra isn’t that James doesn’t respect coaches – he doesn’t respect people. Give LeBron this, though: He’s learned to live one way with the television light on, and another with it off. He treats everyone like a servant, because that’s what the system taught him as a teenage prodigy. To James, the coach isn’t there to mold him into the team dynamic. He’s there to serve him.
Wade was one of the Team USA players who’d watch incredulously as James would throw a bowl of fries back at a renowned chef and bark, “They’re cold!” Or throw his sweaty practice jersey across the court and command a team administrator to go pick it up. Everyone wants James to grow out of it, but he’s never showed much of an inclination for self-examination and improvement. And he’s never surrounded himself with people who’d push him to do so.
What’s more, the timing of this leak was no accident, because James and his business manager had to like the idea of someone else going on trial this week. When the public wanted to talk about James’ return to Cleveland, about the callous way with which he left, about the disjointed start in Miami, they thrust everything onto Spoelstra.
The non-basketball worries:
I’m not so much concerned about the Cleveland crowd as I am about some knuckleheads in said crowd. All it takes is one jackass to throw something and the entire city is going to be smeared. After this past year (and counting), do you really think the national media isn’t salivating at the chance to wag their finger at us unruly, uncouth, meat-head Cleveland fans? I mean, really?
I’m willing to bet that a lot of people aren’t showing up to The Q to catch a basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat but rather to give LeBron a piece of their mind. I’ve seen the angry tweets and have heard the bar room bravado (search me all you want, I can still throw my AA batteries from my camera HAHAHA!). People are fucking pissed and they’re going to let LeBron know about it (look at how we treat Braylon Edwards).
The other day, I was struck by something Dave Dameshek said during a podcast with Simmons, that sports matter so much to people in cold weather cities because good teams make the winters so much more bearable. I completely agree with this.
Cleveland was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and is hemorrhaging jobs. The our local government is ineffectual and corrupt, our sports teams haven’t won a title since the 60s and the weather sucks for six months a year. Having LeBron on the Cavs was a ray of sunshine during the bleak winter months. Being able to look forward to Cavs game on a random Tuesday night in January was really, really nice. Plus, there’s nothing better than when the city gets behind a team during the playoffs.
(And conversely, winter is that much worse when our teams stink. Terrible weather combined with putrid sports does not a fun winter make).
So Cleveland fans care. A lot. Probably more than we should. That’s one reason why we’re so mad. LeBron didn’t only only kick us in the nuts on national television, but he ended up going to a team that has to print flyers to remind fans to show up to games on time. “You left us for to play at a half empty arena?! Seriously?!?!”
Generally, I feel like the public is behind Cleveland fans at the moment (though some are growing tired with our bitching). The Heat are a perfectly hatable team and people are piling on LeBron. But a poor showing by Cleveland fans this Thursday will swing that public perception the other way. If the fans are too unruly and tasteless, LeBron ends up looking like, well, if not the Good Guy, at least someone who was justified in bolting town the way he did. The whole world will be watching this game, how will we act?
(I hope the crowd boo the hell out of him. I like the idea of chanting “Sidekick” or “Robin” whenever LeBron has the ball or “MVP” when Wade is shooting free throws. Also, I’m all for quitting, lying and backstabbing signs. Game 5 references are well within play. Just leave his family out of it, everything else is fair game).
Various other Random Thoughts:
– I like the idea of both Cavs Chants and Laugh at LeBron, but I feel it’s too little, too late. This is something that needed to be organized weeks ago and there’s going to be too much going on to get anything coherent set up. There’s also talk of everyone turning their back on him during the player announcements. I don’t see how that’ll get coordinated either. Just have 10-20 really loud dudes (in the lower bowl especially) get on the same page with a “sidekick” or “robin” chant, the rest of the arena should catch on.
– I have a hard time getting myself up for some of these Cavs games (especially if I work through the game). I’ve heard people tell me how much more fun these Cavs are to watch, on account of the ball movement and such. I agree, but only so much. I enjoy the ball movement and running style but you know what’s really fun? Contending for a championship.
I love this teams resilience and that they’re trying hard every night (for the most part). But to what end? What’s the best case scenario for this season? Beating the Heat on the 2nd and then selling off parts for picks and young players? What does a 40-42 8th seed get them? It’s a shame, because if this team had The Guy, they’d be pretty well constructed. But as it stands… where are they headed?
– I don’t see the Heat firing Spoelstra. Pat Riley and his gelled hair may look impressive, but switching coaches won’t magically make the Heat be able to guard point guards and centers. Yes, the offense needs work but they have structural roster problems that won’t go away.
– That being said, are they not allowed to run Wade-James pick and rolls? Is that really too hard? That seems like it would be unstoppable.
– I cannot believe that the Browns survived that game against Carolina. That had all the makings of a classic expansion Browns loss. They played well enough to win but were in a position to lose at the end. Good win, but man, Colt McCoy can’t get healthy soon enough.
– Browns Fans :: Peyton Hillis | Germans :: David Hasselhoff
– Just caught up on Boardwalk Empire and Bored to Death. I highly recommend both of these HBO shows. Bored is quirky but really funny and I find Boardwalk captivating, even if they can be heavy handed with the metaphors and modern day allusions.