With Chicago and New York salivating over the prospects of LeBron's arrival, Cleveland weighs what happens if he goes. Let's just say Art Modell's got some competition now.
The courtship of LeBron James continued this week, with a "secret study" from New York City's Economic Development Corp. saying that LeBron would help New York City pull in an "eye-popping" $57.8 million. Well, Chicago will see New York's lousy $58 million and raise it ... to $2.7 billion.
Whatever LeBron is worth to any city besides Cleveland, his absence costs them nothing. And whatever he's worth to Cleveland in dollars is more than Cleveland can afford to lose. Dan Gilbert, the Cavs owner, spent $15 million of his own money to get a casino bill passed in Ohio; Dan's palace of sin would be built within jizzing distance of the Q. You can bet that what Gilbert will offer Phil Jackson to coach the Cavs is whatever Phil desires.
Meanwhile, LeBron continues to show what a hopeless twit he is — and what shit-for-brains rubes his advisers are — by sitting with CNN's addle-pate, Larry King. King's withered viewership consists mainly of folks who watch the show with one trembling paw on their oxygen valve and the other hovering above their Home Alert panic button; half of those watching likely sat there wondering by what cosmic miracle Nipsey Russell remains alive. But just in case any sportswriters or fans might tune in, LeBron admits that Cleveland has an "edge" in its pursuit of The King.
Gee. Thanks for the pig ear, motherfucker. Maybe later you can have your assistant take us all for a nice walk around your estate.
I was quoted in the Associated Press as saying that if he leaves, LeBron will replace Art Modell as the most hated figure in the history of Cleveland sports. I think that's an easy call. All Modell did was fire Paul Brown, bully Jim Brown into early retirement, and move the Browns to Baltimore — that's the short-short list; check out this site for the full monty — and he will be despised forever. But Modell didn't grow up in northeast Ohio and he didn't play the game; his betrayal was financial, not spiritual, and Browns fans didn't have to watch him play for another team. Should James go now — without a ring and with full, first-hand knowledge of what his departure will mean to millions of sports fans in Cleveland, Akron, and all over Ohio who will have nothing left but despair — nobody will remember him for seven years of excitement and hope. He'll forever be known for what he is: the son of a bitch who quit on the court, quit on his team, and quit on his home town.
Scott Raab is a graduate of Cleveland State University and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has been a Writer at Large for Esquire magazine since 1997. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.
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