LeBron James, Still Despised by Some in Cleveland, Remains Close to Ohio State

By Kyle Rowland on June 6, 2013 at 9:30a
Thad Matta's team wears LeBron gear on and off the court.

For the first 26 years of his life, LeBron James wowed his home state fans with a blend of skills few had had ever possessed. It came packaged with a quiet resolve and gracefulness amid all the hysteria.

No athlete in the state of Ohio was more beloved than James. He was the patron saint of sports throughout the Buckeye State, perhaps eclipsing Jim Tressel’s stature. But in the summer of 2010, James threw most of that support away with one ill-planned decision.

Leaving Cleveland in any fashion was going to prompt outrage. Doing so on national television and playing it off as helping the Boys and Girls Club of the oh-so-impoverished Greenwich, Conn., is another matter entirely. The resulting fury was predictable.

But while many in Ohio developed a strong dislike for James, the feeling was not mutual. He remained devoted to the state where he was born and raised, most especially the city of Akron and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

“I’m a huge Ohio State fan,” James told me at the Ohio State-Duke game in November 2011. “Always have been my whole life. I’m going to continue to support them. Not only is it one of the best sports programs we have in America, it's one of the best schools. I've always said if I had an opportunity to go to college that (Ohio) State was on the top of my list. I’m happy to still be here. I would love to get a degree and do those things. We’ll see. It'd be great if I could come here.”

Dwyane Wade, who was standing next to James, laughed, saying, “Yeah, yeah, just because they wear his shoes and all that stuff.”

But this isn’t a laughing matter to James. He genuinely likes the Buckeyes and has shown his affinity for the scarlet and gray over the years. In a 2003 Sports Illustrated story chronicling his senior season at St. Vincent-St. Mary, James celebrated wildly in a Los Angeles hotel room after Ohio State defeated Miami in the Fiesta Bowl to win the national championship.

Today, James also has close ties to the University of Kentucky due to his friendship with John Calipari and William Wesley who is better known as Worldwide Wes. The friendship started from James and Calipari sharing the same agent - Leon Rose. But when James dropped Rose for LRMR and childhood friend Maverick Carter, the relationship did not sour. 

James has been to Kentucky on multiple occasions, but drawing the most headlines was a visit in 2011 when he and UK alum Rajon Rondo traveled to Lexington and participated in a day full of pick-up games with the Wildcats. Calipari has used the connection as a recruiting tool and Big Blue Nation has grown fond of James. He's also spent time at Duke with Mike Krzyzewski, the head coach of the Olympic team. 

James still insists, though, that Ohio State was his school of choice had the NBA mandated he attend college. He listed the Buckeyes, Duke, North Carolina, Florida and Louisville as his final five during his junior year of high school. However, James was a member of one of the last draft classes that didn't have to stay at least one year in college. It became clear early on that James would be entering the NBA Draft, so the recruiting hoopla never materialized around the superstar. 

In recent years, James has shown his Buckeye fandom by attending sporting events. He was at the 2006 Texas game in Austin and the 2008 Penn State game in Ohio Stadium. Both times he stood on the Buckeyes’ sideline. James appeared on ESPN College GameDay prior to the Penn State game decked out in scarlet and gray.

James was still everyone’s favorite son in 2008, and he received a warm welcome from Buckeye Nation. That was not the case when he and Wade strode into Value City Arena for the Duke game. The duo was serenaded with a chorus of boos, something they’re familiar with nowadays. The Miami Heat has become one of the most hated teams in sports history. 

“I kind of shake it off at this point,” James said. “I'm here to support (Ohio State). Fans are going to be fans, I understand that. This is all about Ohio State basketball, not about LeBron James.”

In the past year, with talks of a possible return to Cleveland swirling, some fans have begun to forgive James. Someone who never wavered on their support was Urban Meyer. The Ohio State head coach was not afraid to express his support for the fellow Ohioan even when opinions on James tended to be harsh.

“I’m a huge Ohio State fan. Always have been my whole life.”

“I love LeBron James. A competitor, good person,” said Meyer, prior to the start of the 2012 football season. “You never hear about anything off the field with him.”

Meyer's relationship with James dates back to his days as a two-sport athlete at St. Vincent-St. Mary. As the Notre Dame wide receivers coach, Meyer had his radar pointed squarely on James, who was an All-Ohio wideout.

During his sophomore season, James caught 42 passes for 820 yards and seven touchdowns. The next year brought 61 receptions for 1,245 yards and 16 touchdowns – and a broken finger. By that point, James was one of the top football players in a talent-rich state.

Unbeknownst to Meyer, James was also the top high school basketball player in the entire country. Meyer offered “The Chosen One” a football scholarship from Notre Dame.

“’Thank you very much, I’ll consider it,’ and his coach started laughing," said Meyer, recalling the exchange with James.

“I didn’t know what he was laughing at, so we went down and sat in a room and he said, ‘Do you know who that is?’ and I said, ‘No’ and he said, ‘LeBron James’ and I said, ‘Who’s LeBron James?’ and he said, ‘He’ll be the next Michael Jordan’ and I go, ‘Come on.’”

All these years later, it looks like a prophetic statement. James has been named league MVP four times and is competing for his second straight NBA championship. If he retired tomorrow, James would be considered among the game’s all-time greats. 

Meyer believes much of the same would have happened if James stayed with football.

LeBron James as a young receiver for St. Vincent-St. Mary

“He would have been a first-round draft pick, a Hall of Famer,” Meyer said. “Obviously he’s a winner.”

The recruitment of James may have been unsuccessful, but Meyer too is rated neat the top of his profession. He’s had two undefeated seasons and won two national championships in just 11 seasons as a head coach.

The admiration between football coach and basketball player is mutual. When Meyer was hired, James went to Twitter to express his joy over the move. Asked about Meyer’s status as a Buckeye, James said, “I’m really excited about him. Urban Meyer is a winner, all the way from Bowling Green to Utah and then down to Florida. If he brings what he's been able to do, especially with recruiting, to the Big Ten, we could see our school back in the national championship again.”

As the college football season nears, Ohio State’s time has returned. The expectations after a 12-0 season in Year 1 have expectations soaring. If the Buckeyes do make it to Pasadena, legions of fans will travel west with them.

And one who lives in South Florida, who happens to be the best basketball player in the world, might just accompany them.

“It’s amazing. The fans come out and support their team,” James said. “There’s great team spirit at (Ohio) State.”



droessl's picture

Never knew Urban offered LeBron a scholarship. Great stuff!  Also, that picture of a young LeBron looks like it could be from the mid 80's. 

MassiveAttack's picture

Nice write-up.  I didn't know Urban and Lebron had any kind of history or relationship. 

steensn's picture

I'm a Lebron fan, he's doing things as a player no one else had ever done before. People had bad breakups, Cleveland fans took it personally, IMO get over it. His motives were to raise $2-6 million for the Boys and Girls Club and he did with a 30 minute show. If you're feelings are hurt over James essentially donating $2-6 million to the Boys and Girls Club I feel it is a bit selfish. Don't hate the guy because you got hurt, his motives were good.
He's a great player and by all accounts a great teammate. He's not selfish on the court, he is boisterous or cocky. He's just dang good...
That said, I love football WAY more and would have LOVED to see Lebron catching some balls in an OSU jersey. Dude would have been unstoppable at TE...

Baroclinicity's picture

He could have raised that money any number of different ways that didn't require him taking a dump on Cleveland.  Not buying it.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Outside of the fact that I would take a dump on Cleveland any chance I could (I've watched the Reds win multiple WS and the Bengals play in 2 Super Bowls), you can't blame the guy.  What did Cavs ownership do to keep him?  How is Cleveland a better place to live than Miami when you are young and rich (or old and poor for that matter)?  It would seem he is a good person that followed some bad PR advice.  He's a Buckeye.  Let it go.

Fear The Elf's picture

So you'd take a dump on Jim Tressel and Troy Smith?

WyoBuckeye's picture

LBJ and ESPN could have raised that money in any number of ways.  It was about hype and marketing.  There was no need to string along our northern brethren to do so.  I think if LBJ could do it over, things might be handled differently, as I think he's a good guy overall.  But I don't think it is too far fetched for Clevelanders to feel disappointed.   

Taspra's picture

Agree mostly with this except to say disappointed is an understatement. As many others have said, it's not that he left Cleveland it was the way he left. This city bent over backwards for him, including off the court. He left the Cavs high and dry with no time to even try and get other players to help replace him. I think he owed it to the city to at least be straight with the team if he was going to leave.
Of course I also blame the Cavs for putting all of their eggs in one basket. 
I give him major respect as a ball player because I do think he is amazing. I just wish he showed us the same respect.

fear_the_nut70's picture

Steen, you really believe the nonsense that you write?  Here's a question--if you want to donate $6 million to the boys and girls club, then why not pull out your checkbook and write such a check from your bloated checking account and forego that self aggrandizing solipsistic television show?  The tv show was to feed his ego, nothing more. 
I could care less that Lebron left Cleveland because I can't stand the NBA (there are 6 Harlem Globe Trotters and 24 Washington Generals).  The league is a complete farce.  The biggest problem I have with what LBJ did is that he continued the trend of rigging this league making the conversion from real sports league to WWF a fait accompli (no he hardly was the first to do this, think big 3 in Boston or anything the Lakers have done, but he's the biggest).  This is why he will NEVER be fit to carry MJ's jock.  I was once a NBA fan but since it has become a complete joke I don't tune in anymore (and just laughed at those that really thought the Pacers were going to win).
 Lebron earned the right to leave and owed the Cavs nothing, but he was a complete twatwaffle in the way he handled it, and for that, I don't like the guy.   Personally, dude isn't welcomed back in the State of Ohio as far as I am concerned (think 65% of a Modell here)  and wished he had nothing to do or say about Ohio State, a program I really care about.
You enjoy watching that rigged sport with that stacked deck, that's your option.  As for Lebron, he's a great player who I hope will at least partially be defined by his "decision" and be seen as a villain by a great number of peeps who waste their time watching the National Bling Association (and a bunch of us who have the sense to not waste our time in this fashion).

dbit's picture

lol twatwaffle

chitown buckeye's picture

That's a quality rant, fearthenut. I agree with you on the MJ stuff. You never saw the guys in the 80's or 90's plot to "team up" so they can win a championship. The players then were much to competitive. They wanted to beat each other up. I have more respect for a Charles Barkely, a Reggie Miller or a Patrick Ewing who worked there tails off trying to lead a team to a title and fell short then LBJ and most of todays NBA players/teams (Spurs aside) who try to "manufacture" a championship.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

RedStorm45's picture

Except $3.5 mill of the $6 million in ad sales never made it to the Boys & Girls Club...

WyoBuckeye's picture

I'm not the LBJ hater that some are, but I understand why Cavs fans feel a little miffed by the way he strung Cleveland along.  I don't blame LBJ for his decision as it is his career, but I do think The Decision was not a good way for LBJ to go about things.  While I support all Ohio sports teams, the Buckeyes are my favorite by far.  So if LBJ is a Buckeyes fan, then he is A-OK in my book.

Oyster's picture

What does President Johnson have to do with the Cavs?

WyoBuckeye's picture

More like under my feet.  I got the joke.  I just decided to respond frankly so not to acknowledge such a lame joke.

Earle's picture

Dead presidents.  Lots of them.

J.Mo's picture

I claim no allegiance to any professional sports teams in football or the NBA. I'll always root for Buckeyes in their pro career no matter where they play. Even though he didn't go to Ohio State, I still view Lebron as a Buckeye.

mh277907's picture

As much as I hated seeing Lebron leave Cleveland because I am a Cavs fan, I love the fact that OSU is his team. I would actually like to see the coaches, both Urban and Thad, invite him to more events (where I hope he is not booed). I think he could be great for recruiting for both sports. And if VJ King at Akron SVSM continues to improve as a player, Lebron may be able to help steer him towards the good guys.


Baroclinicity's picture

My view on LBJ is well documented on here, so I'm not going to go through with it again. 
Winning it all last year brought some closure for me.  I'm pretty much over it.
He's a freak of nature athletically.
I would say he's the best to ever play, even mid way through his career.  The only part that has me questioning it a little bit is the clutch factor.  Not saying he isn't, but Jordan still takes the cake there.  Everything else, I don't think anyone touches him at this point.  He's a better Magic, which is hard to do.
Would have loved to see him in S&G.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Kyle Rowland's picture

Agree completely. I despised the Heat and LeBron when the Decision went down. But the title last year basically ended everything for me. I don't necessarily like the Heat now, but LeBron is by far my favorite player again. 

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Not buying him being in MJ's company(clutch or not). Even if the apologist want to throw out his days in Cleveland(no help, and all that bs), his epic collapse against Dallas is something he won't live down.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Baroclinicity's picture

There's no better facilitator in the game.  He can score at will, but feels he doesn't have to.  I Also believe he's a better leader.  That being said, one can hardly complain about one taking Jordan still as the best ever.
I don't think you can pin the Dallas series on him.  I see it more as a team thing, and even more, a coaching thing.  Dallas made adjustments, and Miami clearly did not.  They played game 6 like they did game 1, and Dallas passed them by.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

It's not just MJ I have above him.

Even with Dallas adjusting it shouldn't have thrown his game off as much as it did. Sure others deserve blame, but the bulk goes on him.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

rdubs's picture

The one main thing he has on Jordan is his versatility.  He is arguably the best player currently in the NBA at any of the 5 positions.  He is a great passer and facilitator, so if he just played PG he would be the best.  SG would be his weakest position since his outside shot is still not as good as some others, but his defense and slashing ability might make up for it and it isn't as if he is a horrible shooter anymore.  SF is his primary position so do I really need to say anything here?  He also plays a good deal of PF and his ability to post up and stretch the defense is unmatched right now.  At C he is a bit undersized but has shown that he can defend anyone on the court and has improved his post play unbelievably over the last 2 years.
I loved watching MJ, but I have to say if I am starting a team, I think I start with Lebron because of the versatility.

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Ditto Rdubs, well said

Jdadams01's picture

I completely agree with your comment about versatility. LeBron can do almost anything. His freakish athleticism even allows him to be a fantastic defender (when he wants to be, which is not always the case).
But anyone who doesn't start a team with Jordan is crazy. I'm taking Jordan because that's the team that's winning. If you think in-his-prime Jordan is getting beat by LeBron, you're nuts. James would have the physical edge, but no player would ever have the mental edge on Jordan. He'd rip LeBron's heart out.

rdubs's picture

I think if you substitute Lebron for MJ on those Bulls teams he wins the same number of championships.  I agree that MJ has a mental edge on LBJ, but I think that is a bit overblown because people love to hate LBJ.  The Bulls finished 5th without MJ the Cavs were the worst team in the NBA without LBJ.  The Heat would be better than the Cavs without LBJ, but I don't think they would finish 5th in the east because Wade can't carry this team anymore.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I think if you substitute Lebron for MJ on those Bulls teams he wins the same number of championships. 

Not sure if serious.

The Heat would be better than the Cavs without LBJ, but I don't think they would finish 5th in the east because Wade can't carry this team anymore.

It wouldn't be just Wade. You also have Bosh and a crap load of cap room. To say the Heat are a 5th seed without LeBron is ridiculous.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

rdubs's picture

Unfortunately cap room isn't a player.  They would try to get someone else, but I don't think it would help much.  Also we saw how impactful Bosh is in Toronto, he is a talented player but he can't carry a team.
With regards to the Bulls championships, I know we are just playing hypotheticals so it is hard to provide "proof" one way or another, but I do think Lebron at his prime (ie right now) would be able to win those championships with that supporting cast.  The Bulls were better at every single position.  Rodman>Birdman; Pippen>Wade; Longley>Haslem; Kerr>Chalmers; Kukoc>Bosh (this one might be the most up in the air).  That just leaves MJ and Lebron.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Unfortunately cap room isn't a player.  They would try to get someone else, but I don't think it would help much.  Also we saw how impactful Bosh is in Toronto, he is a talented player but he can't carry a team.

Of course Cap isn't a player, but it gives you the flexibility to get players. He doesn't need to carry the team. It would be Bosh, Wade, and a good supporting cast. That's a future HoFer with a perennial All-Star. I don't know where you got this idea that they wouldn't be a contender without LeBron. 

With regards to the Bulls championships, I know we are just playing hypotheticals so it is hard to provide "proof" one way or another, but I do think Lebron at his prime (ie right now) would be able to win those championships with that supporting cast.  The Bulls were better at every single position.  Rodman>Birdman; Pippen>Wade; Longley>Haslem; Kerr>Chalmers; Kukoc>Bosh (this one might be the most up in the air). 

You could definitely make a strong argument for Wade over Pippen. Kukoc was not better than  Chris Bosh. I amazed you would suggest that he was.

 That just leaves MJ and Lebron.

LeBron isn't MJ's equal. 
Another thing you left out is how the games were called back then. Hand checking was allowed in MJ's era.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Jdadams01's picture

I know people love to hate LeBron, but I'm not a Cavs fan and couldn't care less. He's the best player in the world. But I think people have forgotten just how masterful Jordan was (even with the praise that he still gets). He dominated every other superstar and team of his era. The rest of the league respects LeBron, but the rest of the NBA had an awe and fear of Jordan. He was a brilliant tyrant who crushed everyone else's dream.

rdubs's picture

No doubt MJ was unreal.  He was the only reason I watched the NBA back then.  Lebron is the only reason I watch now.  I would say that Lebron has at least as much awe because of his physical abilities.  A dude that big should not be that fast.

RedStorm45's picture

He's 1-2 in Finals appearances so far.  MJ...6-0 (could have had 2 or 3 more without all the retirements)  Enough said.

AeroBuckeye2001's picture

OSU cannot afford to burn the LeBron bridge. Basketball team is decked out in his gear, he roams the 'Shoe's sidelines from time to time, and has tremendous love for Akron and Ohio State. He's a great ambassador for the state of Ohio. He can only help our recruiting in both sports. And just imagine if dude came to OSU as a coach after he retires.

The Ohio State University Class of 2001
BS Aero & Astronautical Engineering

BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

I don't give a flying you know what about the Cavaliers.
LeBron is a Buckeye first and foremost.
Cool write-up.

Oakland Buckeye's picture

only one upvote per customer, but my kerytroke was with authority!

BUCKfutter's picture

this x1000. he didn't dump the city of cleveland, he dumped an awful organization that failed miserably to put a decent team around him. all things being equal, he would have stayed.

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

Jhesse17's picture

Dammit how can I hate the guy now that I know he's an Ohio State diehard?

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Regardless of what James says, The Decision was seen by people nationally as a repudiation, a sign that Cleveland is so miserable that anyone with taste, talent, and ambition will get out as soon as he can. Ohio State and Columbus aren't the same as Cleveland, but people shouldn't kid themselves into thinking that we're immune from the general scorn. LeBron heading to Miami, the hockey media congratulating Rick Nash for talking his way out of Columbus, and "S-E-C!" are all sides of the same obnoxious coin.
Go Spurs! (This isn't an anti-LeBron thing; I'm a fan of theirs going back to the '70s.)

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Oyster's picture

I saw it more as self promotion and a chance to tell the world 'Look at me! Look at me!'

tennbuckeye19's picture

Although it's useless debating it, I have serious doubts that LeBron would've come to Ohio State had he been forced to play at least a year of college ball. Was Jim O'Brien even recruiting him? O'Brien had a knack for not wanting to go after top recruits and I doubt he would've been too excited about getting a player, even one of LeBron's caliber, if he would only have him for a year. I know that LeBron says he would've gone to OSU, but he's also been reported as saying he thought about attending the University of Akron, where his HS coach Keith Dambrot had left to join the staff. 
I admit I was upset about the Decision. As a Cleveland fan, at the time it felt like he could've handled the situation a lot better. Since then he's admitted that. But honestly, I'm not mad anymore. Crazy as it may sound, him winning a championship actually was cathartic for me. It was like, okay, he's done what he left to do. Good for him. And man, the guy is so freakin' fun to watch play too. Do I wish he was still in a Cavs uniform, yeah of course. That's my team. But I'm not mad he's in Miami anymore. I was a Cavs fan before James and will always be. 

Fear The Elf's picture

If the NCAA would have cleared him, he would've followed Dru Joyce to Akron. Just like he did at St. Vs.

michael.mintos's picture

LeBron James is like an ex-girlfriend. I was really pissed and hated him immediately after he left. Now that it has been a couple years, I realize all the good times we had together. If he decided to come back home, I would leave the door unlocked for him. 

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

I appreciate his love for Ohio State.
I do not appreciate him. I do not care how he went on and made his own decision to go somewhere else. The way it was done it was tactless. And I will always remember this: “I got a goal, and it’s a huge goal, and that’s to bring an NBA championship here to Cleveland. And I won’t stop until I get it.”

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

BuckeyeStrong2's picture

I agree. He's still a wolverine to me.

RedStorm45's picture

You guys realize that not all of the money raised at "The Decision" made it to the Boys & Girls Club?
It was billed as they would "donate the proceeds to the B&GCofA."  Ok ... http://www.sbnation.com/2010/7/8/1559877/lebron-james-free-agent-espn-ev... So ad sales were $6 million, yet only $2.5 million was donated to the Boys & Girls Club.  What happened to the other $3.5 million?? Surely, ESPN wasn't going to take that large of a chunk, considering they donated $3 million themselves.  That's some shady math if you ask me.  I'm looking at you Maverick Carter.

lamplighter's picture

He might say he is an OSU fan, but I have the feeling he'd switch scarlet and grey for blue and white at the drop of a hat
He has a history you know --

IBleedSandG's picture

Blue and White? Are you referring to the Gators?

We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, we're from O-HI-O!

J.Mo's picture

Kentucky... think there was something between him and Calipari.

Ahh Saturday's picture

The problem with many of the LeBron haters (of which I am one) is the need to express that hatred through a denigration of his skills.  He is clearly the best player in the NBA now, and if he weren't nobody would've cared when he left the Cavs.  My hatred is pure and simple: I wanted him to stay in Cleveland and he wanted to go elsewhere.  I do not try to rationalize that hatred by saying "well, it's the way he did it."  No, it's the fact that he did it, and of course he had every right to do it.  I am with others in that I don't really care much anymore, but I will be pulling for the Spurs in this series.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I never understood that logic. Every player in the history of basketball has been criticized. MJ, Kobe, Shaq, Magic, Bird, Thomas, etc. Yet when LeBron gets criticism, you get labeled a hater.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Bucksnut13's picture

Eggss-actly. Great post. I am 1000000% in agreement with you.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog

buckeybowhunter's picture

I can't stay mad at a fellow buckeye fan.  I hope he comes back, but I still appreciate the fact that he hasn't forgot where he came from.

Denny's picture

Can we please talk about less contentious things, like Gordon Gee


Earle's picture

LeBron is for LeBron.  If he wants to be an Ohio State fan, good for him.  It doesn't make me like him any more or less.

frozen buckeye's picture

So, if Bieber would show up in Buckeye gear, is Buckeye Nation suddenly on board with him? 
No fucking way.
(and refrain from photo-shopping an image for us.)

Jhesse17's picture

I'm not from Cleveland, so this is an honest question. If he had done one year at Ohio State, then went to the NBA and followed the exact same career trajectory, including the descision, would you hate him more or less?

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I don't hate him at all(dislike him, but don't hate him), but if he had gone to Ohio State, I probably would dislike him a little less. Then again, the backlash might have been bigger if he had.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

BME_Buckeye's picture

I think if he stayed, people could truly say he was a buckeye and not Boo him when he is at games. I as at the Duke game and as soon as they said LBJ was in the house, most students by him cheered and booed. Ultimately, playing for OSU one year would probably attenuate the hate harbored towards him. 

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


nickma71's picture

To hell with him. He has the balls to wear an Yankees hat in public. Or the stupidity because he acted like he didn't get it. Tell him I said F.O.

chitown buckeye's picture

I'll let him know.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Classy - is that you Nikki?

southbymidwest's picture

OSU Daughter, as part of her OSU Bucket List, went to a College Game Day at OSU a few years ago. LeBron I think was still with the Cavs (I really don't follow the NBA), and they had played in a exhibition? preseason? game the night before at the Schott. He was in the crowd, hanging out with some other tall guys (prob a few teammates), looking happy and relaxed, not more than five feet from her. She said he basically blocked the sun he was so big. She also noted that it was very interesting because people in the crowd were very respectful of him, and didn't mob him for autographs, a couple here and there asked him, no problems. He was about as anonymous as he could be in a crowd who recognized him, but gave him his space.
^^This is just as much about OSU fans as it is about LeBron.

Young_Turk's picture

Hate Strong feelings against Lebron, hope he stays the hell away from Cleveland.  
My problem isn't that he left.  He had the right to do that as a free agent.  It was how he did it.  He quit in that series against Boston.  He flat out quit.  He was pouting because Mike Brown didn't play Z when Lebron wanted him to play.  So he pouted and quit.  
But that wasn't enough.  In the build up to "the decision", he withdrew support from Mike Brown and Danny Ferry and got both fired, then he left the organization.  It was a classless thing to do.  
My understanding is he did the same thing in high school, where he leveraged his ability to switch teams.  Must get off on everybody hanging on "his decision".  What an ego-maniac.  
As a Cavs fan, I would rather continue to go without a championship, then win one with him on the team.  

House804's picture

I hate to say it but it's a good thing you feel that way, because a Championship will never happen.  Better chance of the Browns winning the Super Bowl.

We talkin' bout practice?!  Not the game I love...the game I die for.  Practice?!

Young_Turk's picture

Probably.  Cleveland (I grew up there) suffers from a perception problem.  Whether true or not, players would prefer to sign free agent deals in other locations.  Warmer climates, more sunny days, better entertainment options, etc.
So, the Cleveland sports teams that have the best chance of winning are those that have the most restrictive free agency conditions.  NFL.
The main chance w/ the Cavs would be to clean house, have a couple lottery drafts, then miracle happens where a big name or two come into town.  We did get Shaq, when he wanted one more ring, but his tank was empty by then.  But that's the model.  
They're in the process of that now so it may happen.

USMC11917's picture

Multiple recruits now have "The Decision". I wonder if this was the point that recruiting hit warp drive? Is Lebron responsible for that too?! - Says the Cavalier fan.

House804's picture

I'm pissed at the Cleveland Cavaliers.  You let a once in a lifetime player walk our your door because you could not put a team around him.  No excuses. Yeah, yeah, yeah nobody wants to come to Cleveland.  They had 7 years and could have done SOMETHING.  The NBA has only a handful of franchise players and it takes so much luck to land one.  Its just depressing, really.  He's not coming back.

We talkin' bout practice?!  Not the game I love...the game I die for.  Practice?!

tennbuckeye19's picture

I understand the anger towards the Cavs, and I share some of that sentiment. Call it an indictment on the city if you will, but it has been discussed by folks in the know in Cleveland that no big time free agents wanted to come to Cleveland to play with LeBron or otherwise. Plus it's not like LeBron was openly courting guys to come play with him there either. Sure that's not his job to help build the team, but he could've had some level of influence. It's not an excuse. It's reality. 
As far as if he's coming back or not. He still has one more year on his Miami contract before he can opt out and either re-sign or go elsewhere. I'm not worried about if he's coming back. We've got an entire year before it even matters. 

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

When he wanted Varejao to be brought back he made sure everyone knew it. I think he was gone no matter what Cleveland did.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Baroclinicity's picture

And this is the inherent problem with the NBA:  85% of the cities with franchises are not cool enough to play in, regardless if you have arguably the best player on the planet.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

45has2's picture

Title Town errrrrr...Green Bay is really really cool. Like -30 cool. I know, NFL not NBA but are footballers any less pop culture oriented than NBA players? My point is: If you build it, they will come. All athletes want to be champions. Put together an organization that can facilitate championships and it won't matter if you play your home games on the Moon. Which is where Green Bay is located, dark side.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Fear The Elf's picture

When Ray Allen and Michael Redd were free agents, LeBron didn't go colluding with them they he has in Miami. When Cleveland and Toronto had a S&T worked out for Bosh, LeBron wouldn't commit to the Cavs. When the main attraction to your team will not commit long term, it is impossible to make big moves.
Of course, Danny Ferry was runner up for Executive of the Year 2x in a row. So apparently some people thought he was doing a good job.

Oakland Buckeye's picture

He left in large part because :Mr Quickie" Dan Gilbert has a plantation owners mentality. Does anyone really think that Kyrie or the new #1 pick wont bolt asap? At least Lebron resigned an extra contract with my CAvs.

Breakawayspeed's picture

I grew up in Akron and as anyone will tell you, the Indians, Browns and Cavs are a large part of the sports culture just like the Buckeyes.
So.....he's a traitor!  He told nervous fans " I never said I wasn't happy in Cleveland", when the locals would ask prior to 2010 about his free agency.  He mislead a lot of people that idolized him!
After "The Decision" my 12 year old son ripped the "Fathead" LeBron poster off his wall and trashed all his #23 jerseys.  
I don't think for a minute, if a similar thing would have happened in Columbus, people would have felt the same way.   He belongs in the Cleveland Hall of Shame along with the carpetbagger Modell!

USMC11917's picture

I guess I can empathize with you. If Urban left us for Texas, because it was a more fertile recruiting grounds and more money obviously, I would be angry and betrayed. Throw in the fact that he said he loves Ohio and the Buckeyes and their fans before calling a press conference to broadcast his decision. I have never tried to really empathize for Clevelanders before imagining that scenario. I feel for you guys. (Don't follow pro ball due to the Iversons in the world)

Breakawayspeed's picture

Appreciate the sentiment.  Not bad empathy coming from a Marine!  (LOL Ex-Navy here)

216ToThe614's picture

I'm not sure if LeBron is really an OSU fan because he's from Ohio, or just because OSU is a popular, dominant team that always has top end talent. He's also a fan of the Yankees and Cowboys, and took the easy road to south beach to create his own loaded team. Sounds like he's more of a fairweather fan to me, doesn't hang around when the going gets tough. He has always come off that way to me, even before the decision and the intensification of my hatred upon him.

I'm not opposed to him returning because, lets be honest, who says no to the best player on the planet joining your team? But it still wouldn't feel right to me

Pick up your feet, turn your corners square! And DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!!!

Poison nuts's picture

It's weird for me because I live in Florida & have for a long time. I adopted The Heat a long time ago. It's one of a couple teams in Florida (Tampa Bay Bucs the other one sort of) that I actually care for...While I hated the way Lebron left Cleveland - I always thought he was a great player, & honestly, as a Heat fan, I'm obviously glad he's there. Sorry about that.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

thekornidentity's picture

I cannot stand LeBron ever since The Decision. I don't think I'll ever forgive him so I hope he doesn't go back to Cleveland. The fact that he's an Ohio State fan doesn't change anything. There are plenty of a**holes that call themselves Buckeye fans but I still don't like them.

“Nothing that comes easy in this world is worth a damn.” -Woody Hayes

harleymanjax's picture

mmmmm............Cleveland or Miami?
EASY choice!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

WiliestBuckeye's picture

I have long forgiven Lebron for his transgressions against the Cavs organization and the fanbase in general, however he won't be considered the greatest ever if he stays in Miami. At this point in his career I think that is all he cares about. He will have to leave Miami, go to another team, and win championships there to offset the negative stigmatism accrued when he willfully helped create the Miami superteam. That had never been done before by a player and has been perceived as a sign of weakness, so unless he wins about 12 championships with Miami, he is going to have to go somewhere else and win if he wants that GOAT title.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

Fear The Elf's picture

Him being "a Buckeye" was never true.
He admitted to rooting for Florida State in football and UNC in basketball. First time I remember him cheering for OSU was when they played Texas and Tress allowed him on the sidelines. Then, he all of a sudden was a Buckeye fan. Coincidentally, this was around the time that the Cavs starting becoming popular in Columbus.
Him pretending to be a lifelong Buckeye was nothing more than expanding his brand to the rest of Ohio. While I certainly understand the business sense of it, don't be naive into thinking he actually cares about OSU in the least.

Taspra's picture

I will never forget him coming to a Tribe game wearing a Yankee hat. WTF? Yes, you can root for whoever you like but do you really come to a Tribe/Yankee game and root against your home team publicly? A Tribe team that came to the Q and supported your team! Classless. That would be like Braxton going to an OSU basketball game wearing Michigan gear. 

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

The Yankees are the Indians main rival?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Jhesse17's picture

Wow talk about a one way rivalry.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

The people still pissing and moaning about Lebron leaving Cleveland need to grow up, get a life, and move on - seriously.  Granted, the idiotic way he announced his choice was pathetic, but outside of that, there is not one person on this planet that would not have made the same decision given the same set of circumstances.  Lebron is a great guy, has never been in trouble, and gave Cleveland a ton of great efforts and memories - leave it at that and move the f@#$ on...

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Oakland Buckeye's picture

Agreed Zona - he took them to the Finals ALONE - And he resigned with Cavs when he could have left 3 years earlier - gave his 1st 7 yrs to this franchise. Shaq & Swight left the second they could, and Kobe refused to play for the team that drafted him (Hornets). He is a model citizen, father & 100% class - something some folks on here need a dose of.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

The East was garbage in the 2006-07 season. The one and only threat was Detroit.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

DefendYoungstown's picture

I was a little sore when he left, I am over it. He will be one of the best to ever play the game when he's done. The best thing that can happen is he takes his talents back to Cleveland, everybody will be back on his bazzals once again.

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

45has2's picture

I'm not a LeBron hater but I'm not exactly a fan either. What soured me on him was attending an Indians v Yankees game at Cleveland wearing Yankees gear. He was making his money in Cleveland not NY. You want to be a Yankees fan, ok but don't rub it in the local's faces. I'm not from Cleveland nor am I an Indians fan but when you are a professional athlete in a city you should at least let yourself be assumed to support the other professional teams in town. Also, the long drawn out way he left Cleveland was in poor taste. Maybe some or all of this can be chalked up to immaturity and bad advice.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes