LEBRON, BENEDICT ARNOLD, AND THE AMERICAN COWARD
Whenever I meet someone from Cleveland, they erupt with hateful lectures about Lebron James when they find out that I live in Miami. It’s amazing how one basketball player can rip the soul out of a city, simply by changing job locations.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert called LBJ a Benedict Arnold. How classic is that? Is it safe to assume that since Arnold’s moment of betrayal came in 1779, people in Cleveland carry grudges for over 230 years? Will they still hate on their former hometown basketball player in the year 2241? Will Cleveland even be around in 230 years? It will burn to the ground, either by spontaneous combustion, or from a smoldering Keith Richards cigarette butt that was overlooked by the staff at the Rock-n-Roll hall of fame.
I was going to write about the absurdity of people thinking that Lebron’s motivation for leaving was greed. Here’s a little bit of information that most people, even in Miami, are not aware of: Lebron not only took less money to play for the Heat, he gave up an additional few million dollars after Dwayne Wade called him and said Miami Heat roll player Udonis Halsem’s mother was dying in the hospital. Along with Chris Bosh, the two superstars each took additional pay cuts so that Halsem, who was negotiating what probably will be his last NBA contract, could make enough money to never worry about taking care of his family again. His mother passed away a few days after he signed, knowing that her son was going to be alright.
I was also going to dedicate a paragraph or two to the absurdity of Clevelanders to think that their city can compare to Miami as a desirable place to live. However, I’m not one to jump in for an extra couple of flogs at a dead horse. People have been making fun of our national joke for a century. Busting on Cleveland is not only too easy; it is also considered comedy of the lowest order, just below puns.
The Lebron James hate-fest reaches far beyond Northern Ohio, and has consumed most of the Midwest. People have turned on this 25 year-old athlete with such venom, that he is now spoken of in the same breath as all the rapists and dog fighters that dot the professional sports landscape. Vick, Roethlisberger, and Kobe have all been forgiven. Why not Lebron?
It’s because he violated the Norman Rockwellesque myth that Midwesterners and small town enthusiasts value so much. All my friends back in Kentucky pretend to think this way also, so I know it well. It is the belief that life is perfect in a nice, safe, small town, where everyone is ethical, and a handshake is golden. Why live anywhere else? Why take a risk and move to a big city, filled with crime and diseases?
This runs contradictory to another treasured American belief: That our country is wide open with opportunity, and whether you must get there by wagon train, bus, or 757, you must seek out your destiny in this land of opportunity. Success simply will not come to you. The talented and brilliant among us have always moved to the major coastal cities to seek their fame and fortune. That is the true American way.
So, here are three facts:
1. Benedict Arnold tried to sell out West Point to the British because he was passed over for a promotion. He also took more money (The Brits paid better).
2. LBJ left Ohio because he knew that he could not win a championship if he stayed. It is impossible to attract talent to play in Cleveland. Money was not an issue.
3. Cleveland people are upset because they needed Lebron to remain. His celebrity validated their own pathetic decisions to live in an undesirable location. They needed him to sacrifice his own dreams, so that they could all feel good about their own lack of initiative in life.
This is all you need to know to shut up these Lebron haters. I know that #3 hurts, but it is the truth. Strip away the small town crap, and loyalty nonsense, and you’re left with a bunch of cowards, desperately clinging to the only hope they’ll ever have of being proud. Come on Cleveland – Move to Miami. Be somebody! Life is too short.