Blog Entry

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

Posted on: May 11, 2010 3:48 pm

CLEVELAND -- On a cold, dreary day in the town that LeBron built -- I even saw a few snowflakes this morning, if you can believe it -- some dastardly news was unleashed on Cavaliers fans.

Hours before the Cavs were set to face a critical Game 5 against the Celtics, the website published a Q&A with Buzz Bissinger, who has co-authored two books with LeBron James. In response to a question about LeBron's future, Bissinger said his gut feeling is that LeBron will leave the Cavs "whether they win the NBA championship or not." He makes it clear that it's only an educated guess, that he has no inside information, and that LeBron probably hasn't even made his decision yet. At the end of his answer, Bissinger circles back to how difficult the decision will be for LeBron and how important loyalty is to him.

All of it taken together is the most succinct and on-point assessment of the decision James will make July 1, when he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Here's the transcript: 

Like everyone else, I have asked LeBron what he is going to do and he has flashed me that exquisite smile. I am not privy to any special information, but my gut tells me he will leave the Cavaliers whether they win the NBA championship or not. He has aspirations beyond basketball. He wants to be a billion dollar athlete. He likes challenges and bright lights. There is nothing like New York and the goal of making the Knicks champions again is an incredible one. So I say he goes to the Knicks, if they get the right supporting cast. And as you know that’s a big “if” when it comes to the Knicks. LeBron would own New York in a way that no athlete has ever owned it, except maybe for Reggie Jackson after game six of the 1977 World Series when he hit three home runs, and as we know the love affair did not last forever. It would be exciting as hell to watch and I think LeBron would luxuriate in it. But as you say he also loves Ohio, so it is going to be a very difficult decision and I don’t think he has come close to making it yet. And remember, the most important value in LeBron’s life is loyalty. Still, I say he goes. But once again, if anybody out there is a betting man, bet against me.

I like a good story angle as much as the next guy, but frankly all of this speculation is getting distracting even to me. The New York Daily News recently ran an op-ed piece begging LeBron to abandon Cleveland for New York -- a pathetic misinterpretation of the city I know and love, a city that doesn't give a rat's ___ if anybody likes it or not. Now, hours before a game that could go a long way toward determining James' future, his co-author's comments are speeding around the web and making Clevelanders even more nervous than they already were.

Hey, at least it stopped snowing. For now.


Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: May 12, 2010 9:52 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

docconan.  Great post, and I agree with 99 percent of what you said.  There is not a chance in hell that Lebron is going to become a billionaire global icon or even reach his goal of becoming a billionaire playing in Cleveland.  That's not a knock against the city, I don't mean in that way.  The truth is most cities out there aren't good for Lebron and very few are.  But.. he's lucky because at least one of those cities will gladly welcome him with open arms and he will very happily accept.  And to the guy that said he won't agree to a sign and trade, that's silly talk at best.. c'mon.  Why wouldn't he? A sign and trade means more money for him and he allows his home team that he's leaving to get something for him on the way out.  They have treated him like gold and I don't think he's cold hearted enough to just bail on them. The only way that happens is if Cleveland is half retarded and doesn't agree to the terms of a trade and refuses to trade him.  Then and only then will their not be a sign and trade.. but is Cleveland that stupid?  I think not..

Great point on the Billboard example because maybe people will understand how it works with good examples like that.   Except I'll take it one step further and tell you that I know a billboard in Toronto Ontario downtown costs 2 to 3 thousand dollars per month so downtown new york would be much more then that.  The city I live in, Windsor Ontario nets you 600 a month for a billboard....  so yeah, I agree 100 percent with that example... Lebron will go where the money is.

The only thing I disagree with is your post on Mauer in Minnesota but that's certainly up for debate and no opinion is guaranteed to be correct.  This is my opinion though..  Joe Mauer didn't take a "home team discount".  I say this because he became BY FAR the highest paid catcher to ever play the game of baseball. The position itself has so much wear and tear and injuries risks make that contract a huge risk for the Twins but of course they had no choice.   Would he have received more money from the Yankees especially with Posada's contract expiring soon?  Sure.  But in my opinion it's still not a home team discount.. only the Yankees would have paid more then the Twins did.   My final point on this is Mauer's situation was much different because although Mauer would make more in endorsements in New York it might not be much more.  He's a catcher in MLB... not a Lebron James in the NBA ... and certainly nowhere near as marketable in that regards.  So in his case signing with the Twins and being set for life at home made sense.. but it doesn't make sense for Lebron... Mauer doesn't aspire to be a billionaire because he can't be .. Lebron's main goal is to be exactly that... and we all know he's capable of it and will most likely become one.

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: May 12, 2010 9:34 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

if he can't bring the Cavs a ring, what makes anyone think he can bring one to NY?!?!? the cavs have a weak roster without him, but the knicks are still worse. and really, they are almost as bad a franchise as there is in sports. if he wants bright lights and a challenge, go play for the clippers. mat least he'll be in the warmth of LA.

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: May 12, 2010 9:33 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

If LBJ is truly considering leaving, and I hope he doesn't, he doesn't belong in a crap city like New York. They buy their rings (Yankees) because they can't homegrow or draft their own talent. It's a shame NY has to go begging for a superstar to come and play there. Maybe they should learn how to build a team from the ground up and not just spend money (which they have) and buy it. Arguably, the last few NBA dynasty's have been built through the draft and then surrounding their stars with what fits their style of play. The 80's was Bird and Magic, the 90's was Hakeem and Michael, and the 00's was Duncan and Kobe. I admit that free agents made these teams champions as well, but the management drafted a player to either fill in what was missing or be the foundation of their team. NY teams do none of this. They buy, buy, buy! LBJ should stay in Cleveland and do for them what Jordan did for Chicago; bring them a NBA Championship(s). The fans are fantastic there and the organizaton is really trying their best to build the team up. They could bring in any free agent they want this year (Bosh?) who would want to play with LBJ. Find a killer shooter from the outside and start challenging for rings. I won't sell out LBJ and the Cavs yet this year 'cause he has the talent to beat the C's at least one more time by himself, but that won't help when you play a series of games. Whatever happens to the Cavs, LBJ should stay away from NY and stay home or go to a team that is waiting for that one piece of the puzzle to put them over the top. BTW, NY doean't give a rat's ____ what anyone thinks of it; true, but that is exactly what that city is made of, A*****!

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: May 12, 2010 9:30 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

if he leaves, he's dead to me. in fact, the cavs are dead to me. and so is the NBA. send the cavs to SEA or some other city that wants to be tortured. bring an NHL team in if you want.

i bet if he leaves, he will have to wear a helmut to games. i would never do it, but CLE fans have been hurt too often to have their prodigal (sp) break their heart and leave.

i WAS confident that he'd stay, but has it gets closer, i'm not so sure

Since: Aug 18, 2008
Posted on: May 12, 2010 9:26 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

LeBron would own New York in a way that no athlete has ever owned it

Look, i know lebron is great and all, but he doesnt have one championship, let alone five like Mr. NY, Derek Jeter. He wasnt a homegrown new york team player, like jeter. hes probably not even a captain like jeter, and as much a fan as i am of the knicks, the knicks are no where near as great as the yankees, so NO he will not own a thing in NY, except maybe some real estate.

Dont get me wrong, i'd love for him to come and restore some of the glory to NY basketball, but to crown him the king of NY, thats a bit of a stretch. And that just tells you how big and strong NY is. That even someone like Lebron can come into this city, and still not considered to be the best by im sure many more than me.  

Since: Sep 17, 2008
Posted on: May 12, 2010 8:05 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

the fact you think the knicks can spend more than the cavs shows you have no idea what you are talking about. and as you can see, having the highest payroll in the league got the knicks one of the worst records in the nba, so spending a lot doesn't get you a lot.

Bigdog2323 -

The knicks have more people in and around town that will buy jersey's like crazy, home and away, and everything in between. Not to mention the Knicks have offered him his own TV station....just for Lebron....

Since: Feb 1, 2007
Posted on: May 12, 2010 6:52 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

LBJ will play for a NY team next year! He want´s to become a billionair some day so NY is the best place to do that. The problem is that NY teams are so bad right now that it will take LBJ at least 2 years before the team would be able to compete for championships. That´s why MJ and his six (yeah!!!) rings will be out of reach for Lebron in fact he might not even get to 4 (Kobe´s # of rings at the moment). 
I think LBJ will be the richest athlete of all times but he will never be in the GOAT conversation (if kobe wins another title u could make an argument for him)

Since: Dec 26, 2006
Posted on: May 12, 2010 4:49 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

Sorry bigdog, I agree whole-heartedly with redwings.  Sure Lebron has the Nike contract.  He even has an extension on it, more on that later.  All marketing is more effective in a large market.  Period.  The fact is that Lebron is limited in his earnings potential by being in small market, economically challenged Ohio, as opposed to financially stable, cash plentiful New York.  A billboard that costs you $125 bucks a month in downtown Cleveland will cost you $1025 in New York, why, because it's much more valuable and marketable in New York.  
Second, yeah the Cavs spent money, on Z and Mo Williams, and Delonte West.  Tell me, do you think Antoine Jameson signs with the Cavs if LBJ is not there.  Who wants to play in Cleveland?  Its a quality of life issue.  New York is a bigger draw and because of that can recruit more free agents. There are three reasons that a player wants to play for a certain team; to play with a certain player (see Rodman-Jordan); market/city (see Shaq-Orlando to Lakers) and money (see every other NBA player).  In New York, LBJ not only gets all three, he knows that other free agents will get all three.  While this may not necessarily get him a ring, He knows that it'll easier to recruit Chris Bosh to New York then Cleveland. You said it yourself, the Cavs have the third highest payroll in the NBA.  Where is the money to make the team better?
Back to the Nike deal article.  You know, the one that said that Cavs fans could relax because it didn't include any large market bonuses.  Interesting that LBJ doesn't sign that contract until he signs with his next team.  I wonder if Phil Knight had some concerns about the possibility of a lawsuit being filed by the Cavs for player contract interference.  I mean if there was no basis, it would still be an ugly situation for Nike to deal with.  Interesting that the terms of the new deal were not released since they had it ready and all.  Any way, back to the article and a few other points. The talk of LBJ wanting to be a Billionaire has been out there since before he got drafted.  There is only one way that happens: you have to have a global image, and be a global icon to sell internationally, at an extremely high level (Like Tiger not Mike).  No offense Clevelanders, but I don't see international tourists from China, or the UK coming all the way here and stopping in Cleveland for a game, even if LBJ is there. The Nike rep quoted in the article alludes to the fact than LBJ is a global icon. Why, because NIke wants to sell sneakers in China... lots of em. He is much more valuable to Nike in New York, LA, Miami, Chicago, and therefore, Nike is more valuable to him. In order for a LBJ to be a global icon, He MUST be in a MAJOR market. Period!  If you don't believe that, then why do you think Nike keep putting out his sneaker in Knicks colors?!?  So that the Knicks can buy them, right.  So why does Lebron wear them?
I am not a Knicks fan, in fact, I think the NBA sucks.  I am not saying the LBJ is going to the Knicks or Miami or anywhere else (at least not in this post). What I am doing is disagreeing with your assessment of redwings post. It IS in LBJ's financial and career interests to leave Cleveland, it's not even close.  The only question is whether those interests mean more to him than the emotional interests of playing for the home team.  There is hope, Joe Mauer just signed to stay home.  But you'll note that he took a LOT LESS money than he would've garnered on the free agent market, and over the contract, he will make a lot less money than he would have made if he'd gone to the Yankees.  Do you really think that Mauer is as marketable in Minnesota as he would have been in New York?!?  Perhaps if Nike starts selling fishing lures.

Since: Dec 26, 2006
Posted on: May 12, 2010 3:55 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

Portland?!? Phoenix?!?  I'm sorry, did you not read the article?  The guy who wrote two books with Lebron says he wants to be a "Billionaire" athlete and you put him in Portland.  There is no way any athlete could be a billionaire in Portland or Phoenix because you need what Portland, Phoenix or Cleveland have... large market.  LBJ has two choices for cities... LA and New York period.  To be a billionaire athlete means he has to be the unquestioned leader of the team, so for all intents and purposes that rules out LA.  That narrows it down to two teams: Knicks and the Nets, who move to Brooklyn next year. Everyone is thinking Knicks, but ultimately, they are a terribly run organization, have been for years (I mean they hired Isaiah Thomas).  The Nets have a young, athletic, billionaire ($17B, to be exact) owner, who cares less about the luxury tax, salary cap, etc. who wants a return on his investment in the lowly Nets in the worst way.  A new city, stadium and Jay-Z in the first row... Don't be surprised if the King ends up in Brooklyn.  

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: May 12, 2010 3:43 am

LeBron's co-author says he's outta here

He will not go to Phoenix or Portland, he will stay with the Cavs or go to the Knicks.  Period. 

Either way, this was suppose to be the year and I am not sure the make it past the Celtics and if they do, they will loose to the Magic or Lakers.  I remember a day when the MVP actually won championships......
This rings probably true to me. I don't see either Portland or Phoenix with the cash or the lifestyle to tempt James. New York, Chicago and MIami all do have both requisite factors. However, Miami is not a good fit for James with Wade already there. Chicago is probably drooling at the idea, but I don't se James going there in the shadow of Michael Jordan's six titles. Although I would say that is probably the most likely non-Ohio destination other than New York. I don't see James ending up with a Western team. Mostly because no Western team really has the cash to make a run at him and none of them have the bright lights save for the Lakers, who are not in the hunt. And those that do have some cash don't have enough to build the kind of supporting cast James would want. I think that ultimately it is likely to come down to staying in Cleveland or going to New York. Those are the two most likely places for James to land. New York has the bright lights he seems to crave and Cleveland has his family and his connections. 

As an aside - good point on the MVP award. The last time the reigning regular-season MVP won a championship was in 2003 when Tim Duncan won both the regular season MVP and the Finals MVP. Prior to that, Shaquille O'Neal won the MVP and the FInals in 2000 and Michael Jordan did it in 1998 (and 1996 for that matter). Hakeem Olajuwon did it in 1994 and Jordan did it in both 1991 and 1992. Magic did it in 1987 and Bird in 1986. 
Finally, I agree with you on the Finals. I like the Magic to come out of the East- I think they are playing the best ball of any team right now, though I repeat that the Hawks were a perfect matchup for them. I don't think Boston can sustain and Cleveland right now does not look like a championship team. Although history tells us a blowout means little - don't forget Boston blew out LA in Game One of the Finals in 1985 in a massacre of epic proportions, but LA came back and won the Finals in six  games - becoming in the process the only visiting team ever to win a title on on the floor of Boston Garden. So strange things can happen. 

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