In his most recent Nets Blast, Dave D’Allesandro goes into the problems the Nets have had with Cleveland — primarily, since the healthy Nets bigs are not very good and the one good Net big is not healthy, the fact that they’ve been brutally outrebounded — as you might expect. He kicks the entry off, though, with a sketch of the Cavs’ tenuous situation with LeBron James.
After Game 1, some writers were trying to get from their perch near the roof to the interview room, but were stopped by security.
“Can’t go through,” the brown-shirt (just a coincidence) says to them.
“Because LeBron’s in the corridor, and nobody walks through when LeBron’s in the corridor.”
We’d make up a joke here, but being part of the unwashed masses, it would just sound petty.
That struck us as a bit odd, but upon further investigation, it vividly illustrates what Cleveland is all about: We’re told that every day, everyone in the Cavs organization – from ownership on down – paces the floor out of abject fear that the kid is going to leave them four years hence.
So they oblige him, coddle him, patronize him, and fear him like he’s that kid from the Twilight Zone movie who traps all those adults in that room and makes them watch cartoons and eat cheeseburgers for months.
“But when you’re that good,” protests a 19-year-old sitting across the room from us right now, “it kind of goes with the territory.”
Hmm. The rare valid point. But when you have the entire organization falling all over itself to ensure that he and his agents and entourage and security staff and chauffeur and personal trainers and spiritual advisers are treated like they own the joint. . . .uh, we’re not so sure you can win that way. Even if you have the commissioner stopping by once in a while to justify all of it with a gushing, “Cleveland is back!” He probably hasn’t strolled down Euclid Ave lately.
Anyway, as soon as this kid (stated ambition: “to be a global icon”) decides that he isn’t being treated like a Head of State, that’s when the coach’s authority and team solidarity become compromised.
Say this much about Vince: All he ever asked for from Toronto management was a parking spot for his mom.
It’s not surprising to me that LeBron seems to want to be a Jay-Z-esque mogul/star/icon as much as he wants to be Michael Jordan. I think that’s pretty common, and Michael Jordan seems like a pretty unappealing person when you get down to it, anyway. But while James’ coddling, insulation and x-treme entourage action doesn’t sound good, I think that the Cavs eventual ouster from the playoffs (either thanks to a rejuvenated Nets team or more likely via Detroit) and general just-slightly-above mediocrity as a team has more to do with their hump-laden supporting cast. Drew Gooden has made the Nets look bad (and himself look worse with that weird rat-tail thing on the back of his head), but swap Carlos Boozer in for him and winning probably wouldn’t be an issue, however jerky and distant the resident global icon might be.