The hottest topic in sports is the departure of NBA megastar LeBron James from Cleveland. To be honest, this whole business makes me sick. I am not getting that queasy feeling from LeBron’s actions, but from the media handling of the issue.

To start with, everybody in America knew LeBron was a free agent and was going to leave Cleveland. The reaction of the team to the fact that he didn’t inform them of his destination is a bunch of crap. If he wanted to hold a press conference and release the news to the country as a whole, he did it the right way. If he had informed the team of his decision, it would have made the news that same day.

Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert embarrassed himself with his tantrum over the news. He went way beyond suggesting that LeBron is a traitor, and that Cleveland will win a championship before Miami (LeBron’s new home).

I am asking the same question that sports fans all over the country have been asking for the past seven years: if you have a premier player and want to win a championship, why not get him some help? Cleveland has floored a squad that not 15 people in the country can name the starting five. This has been ongoing year after year, and the fact that the team continues to fall short has been blamed on LeBron.

As far as Gilbert’s declaration that Cleveland will win a championship before Miami is ridiculous. If they don’t get some divine intervention, they will go back to wallowing in the NBA basement where they were before LeBron suited up.

LeBron is joining Dwyane Wade in Miami, and they are arguably the best in the league if you take Kobe Bryant out of the equation. As far as sharing the ball is concerned, LeBron showed that he had no problem with that during the Olympic Games when America floored a squad of superstars.

He had a lot of people faked out by holding his press conference in New York. It has been rumored that because of his love for the Yankees, he would probably sign with the New York Knicks. When he announced that he would sign with the Heat, I cheered.

Along with a lousy supporting staff, Cleveland had bitter cold and snow up to your yinny to offer. LeBron is 25-years-old and the prospect of playing with a winner and South Beach as his back yard is enough to lure anybody.

South Beach is where the beautiful people hang out, and if you don’t mind spending $12 for a coke and $26.50 for a crab salad, it is a place to love.

But I can’t get out of this missive without addressing the media’s behavior. There are a few reporters who are saying LeBron’s method of departure doesn’t reflect the behavior of a “king.” King James is a title the press gave this kid when he was 18-years-old. He didn’t ask for it, and I am sure as far as he is concerned, you can take it back and shove it.

Now let’s spend a little time in the real world. This isn’t the first time an athlete took a minute to improve his status. Anybody 30-years-old or older remembers when the late NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White shopped the league to decide which team gave him the best chance of playing for a championship. He selected the Green Bay Packers, realized his dream and shut up the critics.

What surprises me is the fact that everybody with an opinion of LeBron’s choices forgets that this is America and each of us has the freedom to shop around for the best job opportunity. LeBron chose Miami for less money, but no state taxes. I applaud his choice and I would like to remind everyone that he has never made the front page of the sports section for slapping his girlfriend or spending a minute with a needle in his arm.

Dan Gilbert needs to shut his mouth and spend a little time trying to figure out how to put together a team. And I am sure the words of LeBron are still ringing in his ears, “I did it for me.”


Tim Lacy

Special to the AFRO