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The Gipper

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OK, so what was the one thing about this situation that was completely unprecedented?


Was it that a high profile player left one team in free agency for another? No, that has been going on since the time that Reggie Jackson bolted to go the the Yankees nearly 40 years ago.


Was it because a free agent left for more money...(no, see Albert Belle) or for a perceived ability to have a better chance to win elsewhere or to play with other good players for even less money than he could get if he stayed where he was? No, Moses Malone did that about 30 years ago when he left the Rockets to go play with the 76ers and Julius Erving.


Was it that a person who professed that he loved his hometown went elsewhere? No, I am certain that is not the case. I suspect that you could find a few examples. And you also have to negate this with the fact that LeBron really, really wasn't that much of a supporter of his home town. He was not a fan of the Indians, he was a Yankees fan. He was not a fan of the Browns, he was a Cowboys fan. He was not a Cavaliers fan...at least until he went to play for them, he was a Bulls fan.


Was it that he betrayed Akron, Ohio? Hell no, we took much bigger hits when the Firestone HQ left because the CEO's wife didn't want to move away from Chicago. (And I am sure I could detail any number of other disappointments for Akron far more substantial than LeBron leaving)


No. The unprecedented part of this whole thing was the totally honest, angry, and upfront statement of the owner of the team when "the decision" was made. When, ever in the course of American sports have you ever heard an owner of a team come out and take the steps and make the statements that Dan Gilbert made? When have you ever heard such an in your face....non-politically correct...honest statement ever made by a sports owner in this country?

Other than George Steinbrenner calling Dave Winfield "Mr. May" in order to motivate him to do better no owner to my knowledge has ever come out and acted like a real fan the way Gilbert has. Can anyone recall any other instance when this sort of statement has been made? I cannot, and I have been around a long time and have followed this sort of thing.

Maybe in Brazilian or Italian soccer..but not in this country.

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