LeBron James is going on ESPN tonight to tell the world where he’ll be playing next year. I’m to the point now where I’m completely sick of the sports angle of the story and quite frankly I just want to get it done with. However, there’s another angle to this story that folks in Cleveland aren’t really talking about, and honestly for the city of Cleveland it’s probably more important than bringing a championship here. Economic viability.
According to Reuters, Cleveland is already the “Most Miserable City In The USA” – and that’s WITH King James here leading the Cavs. Can you even imagine what would happen when he leaves? I can very easily see the following scenario unfold over the next 2-3 years.
- James leaves and the Cavs turn into the Clippers of the east.
- Dan Gilbert, a great businessman, knows when to cut his losses and sells the team. New owner not nearly as willing to spend money to build a winner.
- Fans stop coming downtown cause they’re too bitter about losing James and can’t stand to see a team that no longer has a chance to win, let alone bring any free agents.
- The Indians are still miles away from being a contender having an ownership that simply will not spend money and gets pissed at the fans for not supporting them.
- The Browns, even though they have a “loyal to a fault” fan base, STILL only have 8 home games a year.
- Businesses continue to leave downtown Cleveland and it begins to share more and more similarities with Detroit.
- We finally get our casino (I don’t count the M88 casino, because it is online), but it’s about 10 years too late.
Perhaps I’ve missed it, but has Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson said ANYTHING about LeBron? If it were me I’d be on his doorstep offering him anything he wanted. Key to the city? You got it. LeBron James Avenue? No problem. You want a helipad added to the Q so you can fly from Akron to Cleveland on game day? Yessir. I’m not going to go into a “Frank Jackson sucks” rant here, but if he’s NOT doing this kind of stuff, it just tells me that he has absolutely no idea how important LeBron is to his city’s viability.
I sure do hope I’m wrong, but I’m not seeing great things on the horizon for the city I love so much.