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LeBron Watch, Day 1: The Secret Reason LeBron James Might Stay Put In Cleveland

In the first installment of his occasional LeBron Watch, Esquire's Scott Raab, a native Clevelander, reveals the secret link between LeBron's mom and his free agency — and it doesn't involve Delonte West.

I've been hanging around the Cavaliers since last June, working on a book, and I can tell you with absolute certainty — and I'm speaking here as both a professional reporter and a Cleveland native with a sick passion for that town's teams — that I have absolutely no clue what happened to LeBron in the Celtics series or where he'll be playing next year.

This much I think I know: What Buzz Bissinger wrote in yesterday's New York Times, about how maybe James is afraid to leave home — that's truth. He needs structure and familiarity and stability and control, desperately. He's a 25-year-old kid from Akron, Ohio, forced from an early age to put on a brave face by his hapless mother. His number-one goal in life is not an NBA championship. It's to protect her, and to protect himself. And I see no way for him to do that if he moves to New York City.

Another Scandal in the Cavs' Locker Room?

For what it's worth, I don't believe the stories going around about Gloria James, LeBron's mom, and Delonte West. But I do know a guy on Cleveland's near West Side — I'll call him Vince — who runs an occasional dogfight, and Vince swears on his mother's grave that the night before Game 5 of the Celtics series, one of Mo Williams's pit bulls raped Antawn Jamison's Shih Tzu, Tootsie.

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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