Latest News, NBA / Dec 2, 2010 / 2:05 pm

Dear Cleveland: Get Over It

LeBron James (photo. Mannion)

“You gonna be ‘Bitches’ … I mean, like you have so many bitches, that’s what n****s is gonna call you. No disrespect.”
- Riley Freeman

Welcome to Bitches, Ohio.

You know the town. Home to the Browns and the Dawg Pound, the Rock ‘N Roll Hall and Halle Berry. You call it Cleveland. But in the five months since the local basketball team lost its sunshine when LeBron James decided to write the next chapter of his career with the Miami Heat, the blue-collar Midwestern city that was supposed to be tough enough to handle sports heartbreak has been — at least on TV — playing the role of a pathetic lovesick puppy.

The script is familiar: “It’s not that he left, it’s HOW he left … He didn’t have to do the whole ‘Decision’ thing … Imagine if your girlfriend broke up with you on national TV.”

True, getting dumped by my girl on national TV would be horrible. That’s why I thought the worst dating show of all-time was “Change of Heart.” Had it happened to me, I’d be humiliated, angry, spiteful, sick. I get that. But we’re not talking about matters of the heart — we talking ’bout sports, we talking ’bout business, and this is getting silly. When did LeBron James-and-Cleveland become a romantic relationship? When did one party’s commitment to the other ever go beyond a written contract?

But listen to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Listen to the fans profiled in the ESPN “Outside the Lines” segment and the viral “Quitness” video. The downplaying of what LeBron meant to the city (“We’re better without you!”); the over-dramatizing of the breakup (“LeBron James frauded the city of Cleveland.”); the petty name-calling (“You left like a coward.”); the delusional break from common sense and reality (“Traitors don’t leave legacies.”); the eventual revelation that one side secretly wants the other back (Gilbert is still paying lawyers to investigate the Heat’s recruitment of LeBron); these are all symptoms of a jilted lover (“It’s like a woman cheating on you.”).

Now here’s the ugly truth about Cleveland, the Cavs, and their relationship with LeBron James: They never really loved him, they only loved what he could do for them.

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  • don

    props well written aricle i agree with it a 100%

  • sh!tfaced

    LMFAO! didnt even need to read the rest of the article… great headline, man… hehehe

  • i am a witness

    POINT TAKEN AUSTIN! GREAT ARTICLE…… CLEVELAND SUCKS AND NOBODY WANTS TO GO THERE! MIAMI 305 IN DIS BITCH

  • jnuh

    Another double-double for Burton:

    Ridiculous Headline – check.

    Ridiculous Article – check.

    Who hired this guy?

    Keep up the good work.

  • i am a witness

    Also cleveland fans i think he is less of a chump for having the balls to do it on national tv… this was the biggest free agent crop in history and he was the BIGGEST free agent! I think it was a lose lose situation for LEBRON. whether he left on national tv or not cleveland wuld still hate his guts because “HE LEFT” which nobody thought he would do( myself included).

  • Chris

    Dime articles haven been teh suck lately

  • Notorious

    And here I thought AB was better than this drivel, sounds more like somebody stole one of Brian Blowhorts scrapped columns.

    I got no horse in this race, I dont live in Ohio or Florida, just a fan of the NBA. I didnt like what he did on National TV, didnt like his sudden change into a selfish, coward. And yes Coward applies, he wasnt man enough to say his feelings about why he left CLE high and dry. If he hated Gilbert, cool, then F-ing say it. If he hated D.West for nailing his mom, then say it. But to do this hour long special as a big get even with Cleveland management, was childish and only spited the fans.

    With that said… Dime get over it. ESPN get over it. Fox get over it. How are we people supposed to get over it when all you lazy writers and bloggers keep beating the dead horse as your go to calling card? People want to read it, we get a lot of hits when we do it, views show people want it, blah blah blah. Everywhere I turn on the internet or TV is Lebron this, Lebron that…. So who the F really needs to get over it?

    But I can tell you, it sure aint me. I am over it, decision made, fraud exposed. I’ll be watching the Eagles and Texans tonight, this soap opera childish ish has burned me the F out on Lebron and the NBA. Now hop back on your soap box and do what ESPN is doing, tell Cleveland fans how to act tonight, seem to be on a roll with your LeBron lay up articles today. Low hanging fruit I guess, why work when you can churn out drivel like this daily?

  • jdote

    i do think lebron left the wrong way, but its time to get over it. The disrespect and degrading by grown men and women has gone too far. He made the decision he thought best for him. Stop saying he quit, when he got a triple double including grabbing rebounds in game 6 against the celts. he had a bad game 5, he was frustrated.. it happens to the best of them.. kobe shot 6-24 in game 7 of the finals.. difference is he actually had a good supporting cast. I hope Bron does work tonight. I love watching him, and believe he is and always has been good for the league.

  • http://dimemag.com Chicagorilla

    Wow. Prepare for total meltdown by Cavs fans. Yall will never sell another copy in clevland again! LMFAO. But great article anyway

  • Notorious

    DIME, I didnt think it was possible, but 3 LeBron articles by AB in one day is actually making me long for the days of Andrew Marculosa and his opinionated drivel. :(

  • http://dimemag.com JoshG

    well written, thoughtful story AB. nice work.

  • dan

    @Notorious

    So you arent going to watch the game? Not one minute at all? really…. If you are a fan of the nba, I think you’d want to watch this game.

  • http://High High Release

    Oooooooooooh, controversial!

    When Lebron tossed up all that powder in Cleveland, he was saying “I’m performing for you!” And they at that up.

    Now he tosses it up in Miami, and he’s saying “I’m performing!” And they’re all like, “Oh, he just got sweat and dirt all over my Gucci bag!”

    At least Cleveland’s love was sincere, or at least there was love at all. Keep the powder to yourself, basketball man.

  • i am a witness

    GREAT point at #8

  • JBaller

    This is an unreadably stupid article.

  • JBaller

    And I think I just made up that word – unreadably – because I became dumber after having read the first few paragraphs.

  • JBaller

    Good thing I didn’t keep reading or I might be brain dead by now.

  • nizzio

    I believe that the Cavaliers would have made the Finals this season if LeBron was still there. Byron Scott is an excellent coach and he is a winner.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Thank you, AB. I just got done ranting to Cavs fans on the comments of your other article and noticed that you had a new one up.

    I can’t feel sorry for Cavs fans. You assholes never deserved to have a player like Lebron. We never would have booed our “savior” in a fucking playoff game.

  • Young Gunner

    I swear ive been saying this same thing ever since this whole “Decision” thing started. I agree 100% with Austin

  • annie

    Notorious-

    What you have apparently forgotten is that the NBA is a business. He doesn’t need to be “man enough” to say why he left any more than I need to tell Wal-Mart why I shop at Target now. LBJ put in his time there. He gave them seven years and they weren’t able to, as a team, get it done; it was time to move on. Cleveland lucked out being able to draft him; he signed his extension and put in his years. If the Timberwolves won the lottery that year would we be having the same conversation?

    Bron didn’t suddenly change his character or lose his morals; this is who he has always been. We don’t love him because he’s humble, he’s never been humble; we love him because he portrays himself as larger than life.

    He petitioned the NBA’s eligibility rules so he could declare for the draft before he graduated high school. His mom took out a loan before he was drafted based on the salary he would receive to buy him a Hummer. He threw parties with Jay-Z, wore a Yankees hat in Cleveland, fired his agents to hire his friends, got a tattoo marking himself as “chosen” and the world is surprised and disgusted that he announced his departure from his hometown team on an hour long special on ESPN? How does that make sense?

    Lebron didn’t leave because it was the easy way out, he left because he thought it was best for himself, his family, and his business. Quit expecting him to be humble like Kevin Durant and you won’t get your feelings hurt.

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    “Bitches” was a term of respect in Boondocks, but I agree that with no loyalty in sports, Lebron didn’t do anything wrong. I hope now he realizes that with the supporting crew in Cleveland, and a Bosh, he’d be in a better spot.

    For my anal raw family still back in Cleveland I ask the simple question: what did we do after Mark Price proved to never be the same after his knee injury? We shipped him off to the Bullets never to be seen again, for a second round draft pick and a rotation player no one’s ever heard of. If there were loyalty in sports, Price would have been given a cushy gig on the bench for the rest of his career, a la Jeff Foster in Indy. But that ish doesn’t happen in sports. The Cavs could have traded Lebron anywhere, whenever they wanted, and no one would have bitched or moaned about that (ethically speaking–it would be hard to get return value).

    The biggest mistake that Cleveland ever made, other than hitting Laura Hughes (he played like a girl for a year and a half, too tentative, afraid of contact: nickname deserved) with huge wads, was making the Jamison trade that fucked with chemistry and destroyed the oncoming cap space, so necessary, for the Lebronathon. The Decision was dumb, but everyone knew he was egotistical to an extreme: LEBRON SPEAKS IN 3RD PERSON. Like Bob Dole. That’s an fn ego.

    Whatever, go Cavs. Blame Gilbert. Blame the game. Blame the player to become the first to refuse a full max contract in order to win (and celebrate the irony of him sulking and not winning)–this is brave, Danny Manning blew out his knee pulling the same maneuver, chasing the chip for a mill with the Sir Charles Suns, never to recover.

    They still hate Vince for whining his way out of Canada. Lebron the ego can still be hated in Cleveland. Albert Belle never got any closer to winning a chip, maybe Lebron would follow suit.

  • NTstateOFmind

    that city has every right to hate/love whomever they want, and to what extent. the most passionate sports cities in this country still hold grudges for things that happened against their teams years ago. here in chicago, Steve Bartman’s place of work still abides by a policy where hes never to be harrassed at the workplace; greenbay held a faux-funeral for brett favre; knicks fans still throw jabs at isiah thomas. who are you to tell someone, let alone a city, to just “get over it”. i love most of your articles AB, but you need to get off your high horse on this one.

    dont blame cleveland …blame yourselves- the media, YOU included, are mostly responsible for all this sensationalism, hype, animosity, etc, etc. why doesn’t Dime just get over it, eh?

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    Austin,

    You gonna start wearing Thunder gear? I mean, they were your team, but they moved on. Why wouldn’t you root as passionately for something (or someone) that leaves your city? The Thunder at least have some players that were Sonics (Collison, Green, Durant)…

  • Kevin

    Great article by someone who has no idea of what Lebron was to Cleveland. Have you ever been to Cleveland? lived there? Lebron was more than just a baskeball player to that city. And maybe that was their mistake. he brought hope to a city that has little. one of the hardest hit economies in the US, but they had Lebron. they would have loved him forever even if he never brought a championship home. I can see how an outsider would have your opinion though.

  • s.bucketz

    i hope someone runs on the court tonight,slaps some baby powder in their hands and give JeBron Lames 55 across the face

  • JBFC

    Austin — born and raised in Cleveland. I’ll be sitting in Section 202, Row 4, Seat 8 tonight. I’ll be at the Harry Buffalo next to the Q beforehand, wearing an old-school orange Cavs t-shirt, beard, black pea coat, green shoes. Come call me a bitch and see what happens. Can I expect to see you?

  • Ian

    Austin
    Good article
    “There’s a reason LeBron has two league MVP’s and zero championships, and it has nothing to do with media hype: It’s that no superstar has been doing more with less of a supporting cast than what LeBron was able to do in Cleveland.”

    Shit u change 2 mvps for one and I think of the admiral before duncan. Then again doesn’t matter how much poop was around david (lookin at you del negro) he would never leave san ant he stuck there and left with 2 rings. Duncan stayed in 00 knowing the admiral wasn’t the same and no other allsatr around. So lookin at what these 2 did for san ant lebron coulda done the same for cleveland and he decided to bolt takin the easier way out.

  • Ian

    Jb
    Green shoes man?

  • WinDelRoj

    If Cleveland is mad at Lebron for its basketball team, please see their record before he arrived.
    If you need to know why he left, look at the roster and the ownership that thought an undersized 2 guard (all though I like Mo),Antwan Jamison, over the hill Shaq and a coaching staff that lacked vision was going to win them a championship. Lebron may be in the same boat of “1 personel move” away from a championship (as in get rid of Bosh and get a real big man) but the man is doing it for Pat Riley who is running things down there, with Dwayne Wade and in South Beach. Like noone in Cleveland would have done the same thing, its sour grapes and hypocrisy.

  • Claw

    Seriously another man love article by Austin about LeQueen?

    Lebron is known now for what he is, narcissitic, egotistical, all upset because somebody told him no.

    Wouldn’t be like this if he wasn’t surrounded by his HS boys giving great “Decision” advice.

    If he said that first week of FA, I’ve made my decision to go to Miami which was a hard one (thats what she said) I enjoyed my time in Ctown and we came close but I want to take this window to play with some of my teammates from Team USA and just open a new door in my career but I will always have my heart in Ohio and love you for all your support – DONE.

    Dragged out FA, knew where he was going the whole time, the Decision another stroke of genius and then his actions in Miami. Austin I’ve told you before the season to bet me, there is no way Miami gets more wins than the Cavs did last year, nothing, they might not even be in the top 4 seeds in the East.

    Again I’ll post since Austin can post a few time MJ’s old commercial for Nike when he talks about committment and the road not being easy – THAT is an all time great.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLZzWJxt-LE

    They should just play that at the Lebron intro, stuff sends chills, that’s real that’s greatness.

    “Or maybe you are just making excuses” – classic

  • ShowKase

    The best part of this article was comment #8! You sir, are entertaining. And Dime continues to stay on Venom’s payroll even when he moves to Miami.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mr.brogden BANG OUT

    I’M WIT U AB, CLEVELAND GET OVER IT.

    I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT THE “INSIDERS” KNOW ABOUT A CERTAIN TEAMMATE AND A CERTAIN TEAMMATE’S MOM.

  • Mt. Pleasant

    Most of the time I’m with AB, but who are you to tell Cleveland what they should do? If the Sonics had an MVP from Bellingham who bailed for the Lakers you’d take more than 4 months to shrug it off.

    And its sports, any city can hate whatever team/player they want. Its part of what makes it fun (Being a Celts fan if you don’t have the Lakers to hate) and its all they have left.

  • Claw

    Funny how Dime posts all the lebron love but the MJ Response video I don’t see up there? Don’t be a byiatch, put it up and see what he responses are.

  • Claw

    @Bang Out – Seriously? Delonte West was banging Lebron’s mom that came out during the Cs playoff series, there was a “scuffle” in the lockerroom and you can see Lebron during that series he was out of it.

  • Mt. Pleasant

    And I don’t blame Lebron for leaving or how he did it, I was disappointed because Dwade was my favorite player and I liked rooting for him as the underdog, but you can’t blame him for leaving or Cleveland for being bitter.

  • Notorious

    @Annie, exactly my point which seems to have soared over your head.

    You didnt have to tell Walmart you were taking your purse to Target. You could have just made up your mind and went, no big deal. But if you were to hold an hour long press conf on it, it is safe to assume a real reporter (not a paid one) would inquire during that hour long sitdown as to why you decided what you decided. He didnt have to do the Decision, but once he did then he owed it to people to enlighten us on why he wouldnt want to go back to Cleveland. Otherwise, just say where you are going in a press release or quick sit down.

    I am not mad at LeBron for leaving, he earned his right to leave after 7 years and waited for free agency. More power to him… My anger was directed at the media who keep writing story after story after story about it and then tell people to “get over it”. Would love, stop fucking writing stories on him every 3 hours and chances are it would go away.

  • Brado

    Two things:

    1. The media is obsessed with displaying Cleavland in a negative light regarding “the decision”. But how much of that is true? I keep seeing the same jersey burned over and over and over. Is the media not capable of finding new fans to show on the news? I’m sure the fans are upset, and understandable – but I don’t think they’re being as extreme as the media portrays.

    2. Basketball is not “a matter of the heart”? Basketball doesn’t have a place in your heart? You must be miserable working as a writer for a Basketball Lifestyle magazine then. Passion comes from the heart. Players have passion and fans have passion. If sports were all business and no passion we’d never have players like MJ or fans like you find in the bay area.

    You, Austin Burton, are part of the reason Cleavland is portrayed so poorly. If you have no passion for the sport you should switch careers.

  • tp

    Yes it’s time for cleveland to START getting over it. You can’t blame them and give lebron a free pass.

    They ate up huge payrolls, catered EVERYTHING to him, literally put all their marbles into one basket and got burned. Yes it’s a business, but it goes both ways. They did everything for him and he bounced (lets not even go to HOW he left). He knew he was leaving, he could have at least tipped them ahead of time instead of having the franchise digging a huge hole for him. It was selfish and wrong, and if you are SUCH a lebron fan to not give him an ounce of blame then you are a poor biased journalist.

    PS – I live in miami, and these “fans” out here are such jokers. There are more non miami heat fans out here than there are actual real fans. The only team they really care about are the dolphins, and all you wanna be heat fans on here i ask you, where were you before?

  • SayItAintSo

    While I vehemently disagree with the message, the article was a great read. Another great piece from Austin.

    I’m sorry but Bron deserves every bad word that comes his way. I agree it is his personal choice to go where he wants to go. It hasn’t even been a year since the man bailed on his hometown and you’re already asking them to get over it? He hasn’t even gone back there yet to beat them and pour salt in their wounds and you’re telling them to get over it?

    LBJ is way over-hyped and that is just as much his fault as it is his PR teams and the media’s fault as a whole. He chose to deal with his departure in a mildly tasteless way. He chose to make a decision that he KNEW would have him vilified forever by a good number of people. He is a man. He made his choice. He deserves everything that comes his way. He chooses to refer to himself in the third person. He feeds into this mess just as much as anyone else despite the fact that he isn’t even the best basketball player in the NBA. He is absolutely an out of this world talent and supreme athlete. He hasn’t won anything and he acts like he has championed the league already. I think he’ll get there just fine but needs to get bashed for a few years just like most high profile athletes do. They ride high for a while, slip up a bit, get chewed up and spit out as mature adults who approach things a different way.

    LBJ will be just fine but make not mistake he deserves every venomous critique and insult that comes his way for the next year. So, AB and all those other cats who are sympathizing with the man need to stop slurping, and just let him deal with whats coming to him because in all honesty, he’ll be a better man for it AND a better basketball player.

    Signed,
    A Kobe and Seattle Sonics Fan

  • SayItAintSo

    PS Being a Kobe fan allows me to empathize with Bron through these hard times and being a Sonics fan allows me to empathize with Cleveland and it’s city wide, basketball heartbreak.

  • dan

    I see what Austin did here. no matter what the opinion. People are still going to read and comment on these articles. Meaning more views ,more traffic. Genius.

  • south akron

    Cleveland is over it.

    If journalists weren’t constantly sticking a mic in ohioans faces digging for a reaction the rest of the country wouldn’t have to hear one.

    Lebron didn’t just use his FREE AGENT stautus (did that really make it more emphatic Austin?)he exploited it.

    I thank Lebron for making the Cavs relevant again, but I also loathe him for promising a ring then running away when he couldn’t make it happen. LeBron had every bit of power to bring other FAs to Cleveland, but noone would come cause LBJ wouldn’t make a DECISION. (how about now? did the caps make a better point?)

  • Duncanrules

    Colt McCoy>LBJ

  • nola

    this coming from the guy who was bitching nonstop about the seattle sonics.

  • 12th Man

    Welcome to Bitches, Ohio.

    That’s disappointing for me as a Cleveland resident. I don’t think you can argue that any other city has worse luck in sports period. The entire city is a stopover and it shows in the economy and the culture. It’s depressing to walk through Cleveland because anyone can tell that the place is just decaying.

    But the fans are incredibly dedicated. We put so much into our sports because that’s the main attraction in our city. The three stadiums dominate the city and everyone watches. So what Lebron did was disrespectful and it was disgusting. Narcissistic, vain, and as you can see by watching him play – disappoint for Lebron.

    There was an atmosphere in Cleveland that Lebron thrived off of. Maybe his supporting cast wasn;t the best but ALL of those role players suited him. The offense was built completely around him to a degree that was dangerous for the franchise. This article is not properly written simply because you don’t live here. You don’t “get it”. Everyone has something they are fiercely devoted to and, for the entire city of Cleveland, that’s our sports teams. Sure you should appreciate the good, but who can truly do that after being abandoned so many times?

  • Mikey F Baby

    A bitchmade article. Get off Lebron’s dick

  • drew

    austin burton for troll of the year award!

  • sadeye2507

    World, get over it.

  • SWAT

    Ab…def a great read! That man gave the cavs 7 yrs! What more do y’all want? And at the dude above with the pea coat and the green shoes calling AB out for a fight? Dude wtf are u wearing? You prolly look like a big ass coloring book!
    And besides cleveland people…y’all still have peyton hillis. Dude is a beast!

  • Phileus

    Why don’t you get over it? You’re a journalist, not his PR guy. Act like it.

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    Dumb article, but it is kind of funny to see basketball publications keep slurping LeBron while everyone else calls him out.

  • QQ

    Just like the brilliant Jason Whitlock article on Bron, I’m gonna open this post with…

    I give up on Austin Burton.

    Maybe we all thought we can have a meaningful conversation with this guy.

    Maybe we all thought that as a writer on my favorite basketball commnunity (I only lurk at basketbawful, and I haven’t visit SLAM in, like, years), we could say our opinion, and not be shot down so blatantly by Burton.

    Maybe we all like to paint Burton as just a fan, instead of a mindless zombie possibly operating on Lebron’s payroll.

    Maybe we all thought that a discussion of ‘Oh, I see that you have a point there’ is possible, instead of the usual ‘No, just no. SETTLE DOWN. Bron is right, so that means I’m right’

    Maybe we all thought Austin Burton is human… Not Bron’s rectal canal lump that has medical experts puzzled.

    And…

    Maybe we thought that we CAN talk to Burton.

    WE CAN’T. It’s not possible.

    That’s it. I give up.

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    Senior Bitches… love the Boondocks

    You basically said it, LeBron left like a child on national TV. People like you who defend him are what gives him the audacity to think that the only people who don;t like the Decision are racists, yeah right.

    He left. We know. But he wanted to leave like he was the biggest news in town. Hosting an hour long TV show cannot be justified. Don’t care if he gave all the money and a kidney to charity, second he left on national Tv, he became one of the biggest bitches in history. To top it off he didn’t even let his TEAM know, not even his friends. Bitch move.

    I say Cleveland gets over it when LeBron admits the Decision was stupid and apologizes for it. Till then, hate on my brothers.

  • north

    I just read this as you saying, “I’m trying real hard to be original.” You need to read other sports writer’s articles because you’re just on reply.
    You sound just like the people you’re hating on, instead of hating Bron, you’re hating Ohio. Writing like a 3rd grader who loves his hero blindly isn’t real writing.
    I’ve got love for LeBron’s game. As a fan, that’s where it ends.

  • Reno

    Lets say you been under contract with your current employer for 7yrs and during those 7yrs you keep missing your ultimate goal (payraise/promotion, whatever the reason is you even chose to work their) now your contracts up and you find that you can switch companies, have a greater chance at achieving your goal & 2 of your best friends will be on your team as well. The only problem is that the company is in Miami, one of the Greatest cities to work and play in….. Do you leave?

  • Dre

    Anybody dogging the writer for writing this is a complete idiot. They know this article is 100% true. Cavs fans are acting like B!@#$# and they could have given a crap about Lebron. So many people I know from the Cleveland and Akron area said that people from Cleveland don’t even like people from Akron and vise versa. Cavs fans are fake, selfish, brats and they need to be grateful Lebron didn’t got back in during the 4th and give them 50. The comment about him coming out publicly and saying he hates D. West for being with his mom is stupid. He don’t owe any of those bums an explanation. What is so pathetic is Cavs fans motivated that ass-whoppin last night contrary to what Lebron said and they know it. They weren’t even smart enough to shut up and stop inspiring him to dismantle your team. This article is one of the best and direct to the point articles written. Cavs fans get the b!@#$ out of you system please!

  • Dre

    It’s funny how all the idiot Lebron haters look dumber and dumber. Like Lebron or not this article is 100% true. Even if you hate lebron the article is true. You sound like whinney stupid fans that sit on the couch fat with a hoagie, and a wife-beater on yelling at the tv. Lebron haters… do like Cavs fans and get over it! Pathetic.

  • YaBoyLoso

    I’m from Cleveland & I still rock with LeBron…he doesn’t owe anyone…but to Austin…That Bitches, Ohio comment won’t fly homie, need to watch your mouth.

  • Dre

    I understand YaBoyLoso, role with your town bro.

  • Dre

    roll