July 9, 2010, - 1:21 pm

On Lebron James: Is It Just Me . . .

By Debbie Schlussel

. . . Or do you also not care that NBA star Lebron James chose to go to Miami and play for the Heat?

Last night on ABC News’ “Nightline,” reporter Jon Berman showed videos of Cleveland Cavalier fans crying, getting angry, and burning James’ jersey.  (I can’t find the crying video on-line, but here’s much of what happened, below.) My question is, why do they care?

Pro athletes and sports teams (and their owners) are mercenaries.  They go wherever they can get the most money and the best opportunities for high dollar endorsement deals.  If you are a sports fan who cares either way about James, I have to ask why?  He’s laughing at you all the way to the bank.  Cha-ching.  And no matter where he plays, you’ll never see a dime of it.  So, what do you get out of it?

I laugh also at the angry letter Cavs team owner Dan Gilbert sent, as if somehow sports teams are some holy thing to which you make a commitment like marriage or religion.  Gilbert lives in the Detroit area.  He bought the Cleveland team because it was the only one for sale when he was looking.  He ran an illegal gambling ring out of his dorm room at Michigan State University. Gilbert has no ties or allegiance to Cleveland, just to his team, which he’d relocate to another city in a heartbeat given the right money and tax-funded stadium. Team owners and players go to the highest bidder–like a high-class call girl–because they can . . . minus the “high-class.”


Lebron James isn’t exactly a great American role model.  He’s a babydaddy who’s fathered at least two kids out of wedlock with his girlfriend.  He censored coverage of a college hoops star outplaying him (and seized cameras and film) at his Nike basketball camp.  And he listens to “Brian” Manilow on his Ipod.  (Well, okay, that last part is forgivable.)  Not my kinda”American hero.”  Why is he that to so many Americans?

Any fan who cries or whines over it is a loser. When fans start realizing they are being played for rubes and stop funding the palaces for billionaires to own and where multi-millionaires can play, then we’ll be making progress.

So, is it just me who couldn’t care less about Lebron James? Until I get a cut of his multi-millions, I don’t give a whit about it. Why do you?

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35 Responses

I found the whole thing very amusing. But, you are right. Why should these guys go where they’re just going to get bent over the table for taxes? Even the sleazy have a sense of self preservation.

cirrus1701 on July 9, 2010 at 1:49 pm

To me the most interesting part of the story is James’ choice to move to income tax-free Florida, where he’ll save millions a year relative to a New York move:


Scott Spiegel on July 9, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Oh, you mean like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh do? Okay. Even keel now. Called consistency, dog. Consistency. Dont go Karl, chose Uncle Sam.

    larry on July 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Hey, be nice to Danny Gilbert. He’s a good friend to Israel. And, it wasn’t a gambling ring, they were parley cards. Bid difference.

BK on July 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Keep telling yourself that long enough so everyone will buy it. So what? Is he from Cleveland? NO. If he really cared about winning, he’d have figured it out by now. After near 15yrs as owner, he sucks.
    Long live Jerry Buss!

    larry on July 9, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Okay, you don’t like pro sports, we get it. Dont have to go all Karl Marx about it. In America, with the free market, (at least so far) players have the free agent right to play for where they can get the best financial deal possible. Owners get the best deal (the most profits) every year, the players only have a small window of opportunity to do the same.
You dont like sports or feel they have any relevant place in today’s society, we get that. Others obviously do.
See,…when it comes down to it….not everyone cares about the “important” stuff in life AS MUCH AS they DO care about the “trivial” stuff. Its pretty much always been that way throughout history at various times.
Even during a recession, people still care about “their” team and the smaller the town/city/community the more those folks seem to care about it.
FRANKLY,….I dont care one which a way or the other. James has the right to play for whatever team he wants to; whichever team wants to purchase his services legally has the right to do so. The owners have the right not to pay for his services. Ultimately, both sides win while going to the bank. That’s the free market, not the socialist way, which would ban all sports since they are “not relevant” to the people’s “best interests.”
Bottom line: That’s life. Some dont like sports, others do. Big business always has been and always will. Cleveland tried the ol’ “hometown” sympathy string to keep him, it didnt work.
Long live some diversions like sports and long live the right to care either one way or the other.
But unlike Karl’s way, long live Uncle Sam’s American way of the capitalist system.

larry on July 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm


Thanks for saying what I was thinking. The arrogance of this moron with his own “special”.

I’ll bet dollars to a doughnut that this idiot is probably barely literate. He went straight from a bad High School to the NBA.

Don’t be suprised down the road when he goes down the MC Hammer path and files Bankruptcy because he was too dumb to manage his own money.

All of this money to a moron to throw a ball through a hoop. Our society really is going right down the drain ……..

jimmyPx on July 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    “All of this money to a moron to throw a ball through a hoop Our society really is going right down the drain”

    Who’s gonna decide who gets bank or not? The government? Want Obama to do it?…..Yeah. Didnt think so.

    larry on July 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm

On my local rag, this was the story on the cover, with a picture, on the back (sports) cover, with a picture and on the first page of the “news” section with a large article and pictures of fans of the Knicks crying. This is the same rag that has printed not one word about the New Black Panther case, the Berwick coronation by King Obama, etc., etc., etc. This is what the newspaper people are interested, so that’s what they cover. Lohan, Smith, Spears. That’s what THEY care about, so that’s what they write about. Pathetic.

JeffT on July 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I felt very sad when Tom Seaver was traded from the Mets in 1977. The only difference was that I was 10 years old at the time. These people are overgrown children.

David on July 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

“Pro athletes and sports teams (and their owners) are mercenaries.”

Debbie…my thoughts exactly. Professional sports, the last endeavor I think of in terms of “loyalty”. Its a business no matter how you look at it.

Duck on July 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I hear ya David. I’d heard at the time it was Seaver leaving b/c he was so sick of the NY press pounding on his wife Nancy all the time and something about Rush Ryan (Nolan’s wife). I was maybe 12 so recall nothing else. That was back in the day where a whole stadium “Boo’ed” Cleon Jones for being caught in a van with an underage girl of course. Now sports figures are lauded for their rotten antics. These days, if these sports clowns have a wife at all, they are the ones beating them literally (that’s of course when they are not off cheating with skanks or doing drugs of course).

Moi on July 9, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Ruth Ryan. Typo there.^^^

Moi on July 9, 2010 at 2:31 pm

As a Clevelander, my anger is directed at the fact that he has built his image on being loyal like no other before him. My anger comes from his quitting on the team and the fans in multiple crucial playoff games over the past two years. Some games, it appeared as though he lost them purposefully. My anger comes from the fact that he was heaped on pedestal and not allowed to be criticized for fear of losing him. My anger comes from the fact that people are dumb enough to pay out the nose to go to these games and support these egomaniacs. My anger comes from all the people who will lose their businesses because nobody is going down to the arena. He has been praised for so long, when all the while, I knew what an a$$hole he was, but he took very little criticism.

Brian on July 9, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I’m a big sports lover but I couldn’t care less for many reasons.

First, I’m an adult and I realize sports is just to enjoy and not take very seriously at all. The fans cry when their team loses the Super Bowl or World Series, the players are partying the next night in Miami or some other great place, just like Derek Jeter did years ago when the Yankees lost the World Series.

Second, LeBron isn’t even the best player in the league, that’s Kobe Bryant who just won yet another championship while LeBron quit during a couple of games.

Mainly, I hate the way ESPN, the new Evil Empire, has monopolized sports these days with shams such as this.

It’s just a sign of our modern 12 year old mentality level pop culture. Actually, this James saga is not near as worse as goofs obsessing over Lindsay Lohan, the Kardashians, and Britney Spears.

I do think The End is near at times.

Jeff_W on July 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Oh, one thing I forgot, I agree with you, Debbie, that Cleveland owner is just as bad of a money grabber than James, but I thoroughly enjoyed that letter he wrote.

Yeah, he’s a total hypocrite, but it’s finally fun to see someone come out in public and blast James.

Jeff_W on July 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm

It’s all about distracting the masses with illuminati tactics. If you ask me, all sports radio stations and networks like ESPN are illuminati tools to distract us from the death of this nation’s SOVEREIGNTY!

Bob Porrazzo on July 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm

You got it Bob. Bread and Circuses for the masses. They can’t tell you what Jizya is but just ask what lindsay Lohan wore and …

Moi on July 9, 2010 at 3:31 pm

One other thing, the people of Ohio voted in four casinos and one goes to Dan Gilbert. Though he does have to invest $50 million.

CaliforniaScreaming on July 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Who’s Lebron James? Seriously, I could not care less about another overpaid sports celebrity.

Raymond in DC on July 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm


Not a LeBron James fan, but he actually went to an elite private school in Ohio. Second, he didn’t go to college? Well how many hockey, baseball, tennis and golf athletes do? Only American football and basketball players have ever been expected to go to college. Double standard much?

That said, I do agree that an overemphasis on sports is an example of a culture and society that is breaking down. View the falls of both the Greek and Roman Empires for instance.

Gerald on July 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Basketball fans are so emotional. I don’t recall any brouhaha of this nature* when Canadian figure skater Tanith Belbin became an American citizen and represented us in the last couple of Olympics.

*From figure skating fans OR Canadians.

Daniel H on July 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm

At this point in the history of our country anybody that vested in pro sports is a dork. It’s a game. He’s not that important.

samurai on July 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Professional athletes pimp their services out to the towns that offer the most- whore-lure. And, to the fanaticals who’ll buy tickets and expensive mechandise only to burn? I think back to what the late, GREAT broadcaster Howard Cosell once said about fan psychology- [“…they’re only fans]

patrick on July 9, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Debbie, of course you are completely right re Gilbert though, some of his ‘anger’ is just marketing. How many people would pay to see Cleveland next year if Gilbert said the same thing you did, that he can’t see why fans are so angry? He’s acting this way to try to retain the financial loyalty of people who live in the Mistake on the Lake.

Little Al on July 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Is it me or has professional sports taken the place of organized religion for many people living in the US? the world?
Parents won’t spend $4 to buy generic medications for their children but will find the money for an $800 leather team jacket. Fueled by the Media the sports excitement has become an
raison d’etre for too many.
The obcession of the fans has allowed the owners and players to funnel huge amount of tax dollars from public needs into over the top coliseums and huge profits for both owners and players.
Ditto for the “Olympics” which are held at tax payers’ expense and business owners’ profit. The fans constitute such a powerful voting bloc that the public coffers are pilfered for their sports teams.

TIm on July 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm

On Sarah Palin: Was it me or was the “mama grizzly bear” and “pink elephant” video just as lame?

CaliforniaScreaming on July 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm

The whole lebron thing was a farce, a joke, and a waste of time. While this guy made a business decision and he is entitled to that, the way he went about it (for two years) is disgusting, and ESPN should be ashamed for the way they pimped it.

Oh by the way, the NBA is on the verge of a lockout. All this crap is why I care more about the NHL and almost every other league than I do the NBA.

Squirrel3D on July 9, 2010 at 9:37 pm

We owe the LeBron spectacle to Marvin Miller. Mission accomplished.

Salt1907 on July 10, 2010 at 12:25 am

“Basketball is ten men jumping in the air every thirty seconds”
-J. Edgar Hoover.

Barry on July 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Patrick McGoohan as #6 in THE PRISONER said of such people, “They are sheep.”

Mack Hall on July 10, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Debbie this story is not really about LeBron James. It’s about James repudiation of Barry’s ideas about taxing. James went to a state with no, none, nada, zilch income tax rather then a state with a 10 or 15 percent personal income tax which saved him millions of dollars. If people though that Barry’s tax more spend more policy was a winning one why wouldn’t he just move to NYC or LA? No, even with superstar athletes who bash Bush as every opportunity and praise Barry with great praise when the choice is between giving the government more of YOUR money or less of YOUR money the choice is less. So I say good on you James LeBron and even though I kinda sort despise the NBA this year at least I’ll be looking to see if Miami is a winner.

kenny komodo on July 11, 2010 at 7:35 pm

lebron james whowhathefuzzit?

really…am I supposed to care?

theShadow on July 12, 2010 at 12:23 am

I’d think that Lewhore would move to New York where the taxes were higher so he could help more starving welfare children in the inner city. He’s an Obamamama supporter so he must’ve thought of the starving welfare kiddies right?

samurai on July 12, 2010 at 12:39 am

I am too late to opine on this issue,but Debbie you again hit the nail right on the head,I really have never understood the psychotic frenzy of sport fans and their child like enfatuation with memorabilia of their sports teams,but that is commerce so let them be suckers and stupids,it is America and one can be stupid even if one is too stupid too realize how stupid one is….count me out of that sillyness.

Juan on January 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm

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