Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Has it Really Come to This?

“I hope I can put a lot of smiles back on the faces of the people of Cleveland. I’m not going to guarantee a championship. But we will get better every day, we will be a better team than we were last year.” LeBron James in 2003 after the Cavs won the draft lottery.

How has it come to this? How, after seven years of highlights, excitement and the return of Cavaliers basketball from the NBA wasteland, have we reached the point where so much anger is being directed at LeBron and the Cavs? How has it turned so negative in less than a week?

Why do I have to hear some clown call Chris Russo’s Sirius Radio show on Wednesday and say the LeBron is a bum because he won’t give an interview to WKNR? Seriously? LeBron doesn’t have time to do an interview with a radio station who’s 100 listeners are comprised of shut-ins, hoople heads and Dumplin’ and this makes him a bum?

Are our memories really that short? Have we forgotten what it was like pre-LeBron?

  • Prior to drafting LeBron, the Cavs were losing $1.5 million a month, playing in a downtown arena that no one wanted to go to.
  • Fans were stuck watching Ricky Davis, DeSagana Dop, Chris Mihm, Trajan Langdon, the list goes on and on. How about the Shawn Kemp era?
  • At the end of the 17-win, 2002-03 season, the Cavs had about 2,000 season tickets. This past season, they sold out every game.
  • The team had employed Randy Wittman, John Lucas and Keith Smart as head coaches. Not exactly Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson and Hubie Brown.

Have we forgotten?

Now, after a bad playoff series that isn’t even over yet, we’re going to turn our backs on him and the team?

It doesn’t surprise me that the national media would churn out garbage like this “gem” from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Of course, some national writers actually realize that even great players can have bad games: LeBron James played poorly in a big game? So did Jordan

And, apparently, lost is all the nonsense about how James doesn’t have the same desire to win as Kobe Bryant, people have forgotten some of these no-shows from Bryant’s post-season performances:

  • 2003: Lakers eliminated by San Antonio in a 32-point loss. Kobe has 20 points and 7 turnovers.
  • 2004 Finals: Kobe shoots 4-for-13 (Game 3), 8-for-25 (Game 4) and 7-for-21 (Game 5) as the Lakers lose the title.
  • 2006: Lakers eliminated by the Suns in a 32-point blowout. Kobe selfishly refuses to shoot in the entire second half to “teach” his teammates a lesson.
  • 2008 Finals: Boston comes back from 25 points down in Game 4 to win as Kobe shoots 6-of-19.
  • 2008 Finals: Boston eliminates the Lakers in a 39-point blowout. Kobe shoots 7-of-22.

But none of that matters because LeBron is the only high-level player who has ever had a bad game.

Go back and read the quote from LeBron again. Hasn’t he delivered on those words?

Look, I’m as shocked and disappointed as anyone over what has transpired the past two games. But I’m not ready to give up on this team. And the reason comes from LeBron himself:

“They’ve got me.”

That’s all I need to hear.

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