Another day, another Lebron James Eff You to the entire city of Cleveland. This time, Lebron took out an ad in the Akron Beacon Journal to thank Akron. Which is nice and all, except, you know, he never mentioned Cleveland once during the thank you. For those that haven’t read the ad, here’s the text: (via Fear the Sword)
To My Family, Friends and Fans in Akron:
“For all my life, I have lived in Akron — and for that, I am truly a lucky man.
“It was here where I first learned how to play basketball, and where I met the people who would become my lifelong friends and mentors. Their guidance, encouragement and support will always be with me.
“Akron is my home, and the central focus of my life. It’s where I started, and it’s where I will always come back to. You can be sure that I will continue to do everything I can for this city, which is so important to my family and me.
Thank you for your love and support. You mean everything to me.”
The weird thing is, Lebron’s thank you could have been a really nice touch. Not that it would have made Cleveland like him at all, but it would have helped ease a little pain (just a tiny bit) from the Decision’s fallout. Plus, it could have started a reversal of Lebron’s public perception, which is currently dwindling a little more every day. It could have, you know, until Lebron decided to mention Cleveland a whopping zero times in his thank you, completely neglecting the city that cheered him on for the past seven years. The nice touch immediately became an enormous middle finger to an entire city.
Maybe he was planning to thank Cleveland too. It’s not out of the question that Lebron had an ad he planned to run in the Cleveland Plain Dealer as well. But if he did, it only accentuates how misguided he is. How could he not have known the public disapproval that would befall him when he came out with a thank you that didn’t mention Cleveland once? Even if he does run an ad in the Plain Dealer now, people will think he only did it as a result of the backlash to his original, Cleveland-less thank you. Even if he meant to do it all along.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports explained the botched thank you as a business decision gone wrong, but this goes well past the realm of business. Those Clevelanders worshipped Lebron for seven years. He was the Chosen One, Cleveland’s next great hope, and he was a local boy destined to turn the entire city’s bleak prospects upside down. Instead he left, tore Cleveland’s heart out in a nationally televised execution, and now completely declined to thank the city and its people. Leaving Cleveland out, if Lebron meant to do it, is beyond classless.
Look Lebron: Yeah, Clevelanders have burned some of (all of?) your jerseys. Yeah, they despise you about as much as they hate cancer. Yeah, they disowned you the second you decided to take your talents to South Beach. But can you blame them for that? Are you really going to hold a grudge? What are you, a hormonal teenager on your period? Those fans loved you, they trusted you, and they had some crazy illusion that you wouldn’t want to rip their hearts out on national television. You should have thanked them, and apologized to them, the day after you left.
Lebron, you could have taken the high road, thanked Cleveland for seven great years and come out looking like you actually had a heart. Instead you took the road less traveled, the road that offers thanks to one city but completely fails to mention the one where you played for seven years. And somehow, even after saying thank you, the legend of Lebron James, First-Class Asshole continues to grow.
P.S. – I shouldn’t be commenting on thank you notes at all. I still haven’t sent out thank yous for my graduation gifts. That’s a long-ass time not to send out thank you notes. But when I do finally get to them, I am definitely thanking my aunts but not my uncles.
P.P.S. – Don’t let Lebron take all the heat. Here’s Dwyane Wade: “I understand people are going to say stuff. And we accept it with open arms,” Wade said. “And even on the road, because every place is going to sell out when we come to town. So [opposing teams] can thank us now.”
“So opposing teams can thank us now,” huh? Here’s hoping the Celtics thank Lebron just like Lebron thanked Cleveland.