Last week, LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat (read Matt Taibbi’s take on LeBron’s TV special here). Needless to say, fans are outraged — but some local rockers including the Black Keys don’t feel such ill will towards the King of Cleveland. Before LeBron announced his decision, the Keys’ Patrick Carney wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal, where he reasoned, “Maybe [LeBron] needs to explore the world, and you can never fault someone for that.” Once news of his decision broke, Rolling Stone followed up with three other Ohio natives to get their thoughts on LeBron’s deflection: Pixies’ Kim Deal, Tool’s Maynard James Keenan and Carney’s Keys bandmate Dan Auerbach:
Maynard James Keenan
I know how he feels. Enjoy Florida.
LeBron who? Go Reds!
I should preface my thoughts by pointing out that I stopped really paying attention to sports when Craig Kilborn and Keith Olbermann split up. And my hometown heart was broken long ago, back when Ernest Byner fumbled the ball at the one-yard line. Lastly, I stopped propping my heroes up on pedestals immediately after meeting Lou Reed — that was a bummer. Family and friends are all that matter to me now.
So, LeBron James is leaving Ohio. I believe Ohio should be thankful that such a talented guy stayed as long as he did and that he blessed our team and our big city [Cleveland] with all the excitement and riches that came from him just playing ball there. That was big business up there at the Q Arena. It was almost nauseating sitting in the stands with all of the advertising and JumboTrons and all that shit going on. Dudes yelling over the loud speakers handing out terrible pizzas while cheerleaders shot hot dogs into the stands with bazookas — Oh my God. Big business on the back of LeBron. It was literally hard to watch the game sometimes. We milked him for sure on all fronts but his immense talent shone through it all.
Any grown up who’s now wishing ill will on LeBron should be ashamed of themselves. Just because we bought a ticket to a game every once in a while and we rooted for him, that gives us the right to shackle him to our court? It’s time to grow up. He doesn’t owe us anything. I love Cleveland and I go there weekly when I’m home but no one person should prop up an entire city — that’s just unhealthy. I think we should all cherish the moments we got to spend in the stands with our family and friends rooting for our hometown hero. It was fun while it lasted. He gave us seven years of his life; 11 if you include those amazing high school games. That’s longer than most marriages last! If you wanna complain about something, how about the $7 hot dogs at the Q?!
And I appreciated how he let us all know — with the 9 o’clock television broadcast. He didn’t drag it out or play mind games — he told us when and where and that was that. We all tuned in and he spoke clearly and honestly. You can’t deny that with all the knuckleheads running around in professional sports these days, with their fur coats, sex scandals, and handguns in their lockers, LeBron seems to rise above the rest with what seems to be a true heart.
I wish him the best of luck and I hope he wins his championship. He’s a talent and he deserves it.
Daniel Quine Auerbach