We don’t talk NBA much here at LOHD, or ever, since there are very few Gamecocks playing in the NBA these days. I just wanted to throw out a couple thoughts about the ‘Lebronaton’ free agent extravaganza that went down last night on ESPN.
In today’s world of me before you and everything having to have drama to be worth watching on TV (including sports) – what did you expect Cleveland. You put 100 % behind LeBron James and the Cavaliers, only to be crushed when “The King” decided it wasn’t possible to win in a place like Cleveland. I can’t remember a past professional player that made his recruitment of free agency an open competition to the public but it happens all the time in college football recruiting. This is part of the reason there are so many news outlets that only cover recruiting. Well LeBron just took it to the next level; maybe he was sad for missing out on his college announcement or something of that nature.
As a Gamecock fan we all remember when Carlos Dunlap decided to attend Florida instead of USC and how we felt betrayed. I will even go as far as to say I remember when Sidney Rice and Troy Williamson opted to leave as ‘Juniors’ instead of stay and play for Carolina one more year. It happens all the time, so I am not sure why we are making such a big deal about LeBron leaving a desolate wasteland of a sports town like Cleveland to hit up South Beach. Granted Ohio is his home state but maybe now he can go home to visit with a championship ring on.
In recruiting I understand when a kid decides to go to national powerhouse like Florida, Southern Cal, Texas and Alabama – instead of South Carolina (pains me to say that). They want a chance to win a championship, maybe get drafted and be able to use a powerhouse name on their resume. For those that do stay and play in their home state, it becomes special. Just think about how we support future stars like Marcus Lattimore, or Alshon Jeffrey that decided to stay here in-state. As long as you try, you will be the king of USC.
After winning the national championship last week, you know that Whit Merrifield or JBJ can do no wrong. Did we shun or cry when Whit decided to sign a pro-contract this week with the Royals instead of staying for his senior season? No. I saw on the message boards, “Whit, we wish you luck.” “Thanks for your time here” “Keep the tradition alive in the pros.”
Winning is a powerful thing, and Cleveland fans should be happy that LeBron made their team and city relevant for awhile. Now they can go back to being a bottom feeder in the NBA. Best case scenario is that you get the first pick in next year’s draft and try and find the next LeBron.
If LeBron had made it clear from the beginning, that he did not want to stay in Cleveland, then it wouldn’t have been so painful for the fans. A.J. Green made it clear early on in his recruiting that he wanted to play for Georgia, so USC fans never got their hopes up that he would be a gamecock.
Granted I am comparing apples to oranges when it comes to pro players leaving for money or a championship to a high school kid choosing his future school.
Any thoughts on LeBron leaving Cleveland for Miami?
I guess we know why the NBA is on TNT – they know drama.