Raab: If LeBron returns to Cleveland, rename the arena “Whoredome”

(This morning we have a guest column from distinguished Esquire magazine scribe Scott Raab, author of the book “The Whore Of Akron” chronicling LeBron James’ transformation from King of Ohio to the sellout who took his talents to South Beach. Feel free to post comments, or you can message Scott directly on Twitter.-CS)

By Scott Raab
Special to SheridanHoops.com
 

CLEVELAND – How can I be sure that LeBron James was lying through his teeth last Thursday when he talked about how much fun it would be to come back and play for the Cavs?

Easy: His lips were moving.

Same with James’s claim on Friday that Miami Heat fans — all eight of them — have no cause to fret over his departure ‘at this point,’ and his denial of the report that he tried to get word to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert that he hopes to return to Cleveland.

It’s simple, really: If LeBron James tells you it’s sunny out, grab an umbrella.

This is the yutz who told Cleveland that he understood the fans’ hope and hunger, and then wore a Yankees cap to the opener of a playoff series between the Indians and the Yankees. If the young Larry Bird had pulled that crap at Fenway, Boston fans would’ve run his butt out of town. Cleveland fans are so desperate for a winner, and so convinced that LeBron cared about loyalty, his dishonest douchebaggery got a pass.

Nothing has changed. I was courtside Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena, and when the Cavs laid down like lambs to be slaughtered, plenty of fans were yelling stuff like, “Come home, LeBron.” It’s nice to think that this might demonstrate forgiveness and maturity, but all it truly means is that a half-century of bitter defeat has stripped Cleveland fans of all semblance of pride.

James is a great basketball player, the best I’ve ever seen. At the halfway mark of the current season, he’s absolutely killing it. On Friday night, he was the embodiment of hoops poetry — 28 points in 30 minutes, five rebounds, five assists, three 3-pointers, intense defense, the whole shebang.

By the most advanced metrics I’m aware of, LeBron’s enjoying the single greatest season in NBA history. And after routing the Magic on Sunday, the Heat have the league’s best record — Jeff Van Gundy said Sunday that they were the “prohibitive favorite” to win it all.

I’m not sure Coach Jeff knows what “prohibitive” means, but I’ll take the field for a thousand bucks if he’s willing to put his money where his microphone is.

It isn’t about hating James; it’s about his team and his own lack of heart. Miami has holes at center and point guard the size of Eddy Curry’s ass; Dwyane Wade has grown brittle with age and wear; and despite ESPN’s relentless PR campaign on his behalf, LeBron has firmly established himself as a choke artist sans peer.

You don’t have to be a hater — or to minimize the job the Mavericks did in last year’s Finals, or the Celtics in 2010 — to acknowledge that James has folded under pressure the past two seasons. It wasn’t that he shot poorly or lacked a good enough supporting cast, in Cleveland or Miami; LeBron simply disappeared — in game after game after game after game. He didn’t want the ball, didn’t want to shoot when it found him, didn’t appear at times to even recognize that an NBA season was slipping away while he was sleepwalking.

Ball, as the Most Reverend Rasheed Wallace said, don’t lie.

As I drove to the Miami airport last June, after the Mavs put the title away, Dan Le Batard was on the radio talking about Pat Riley maybe trading James for Dwight Howard. No doubt Riley heard LeBron babble about rejoining the Cavs loud and clear last week, and no doubt that if the Heat don’t win it all this season, LeBron James won’t have to wait until 2014 to bid farewell to South Beach.

No doubt, either, that Cleveland would welcome him back. Hell, the Indians plan to put up a statue of Jim Thome, who vowed he’d never leave not long before signing a free agent deal with the Phillies in 2002, after 12 years with the Tribe.

If LeBron returns, maybe Dan Gilbert will rename the Q in his honor — something apt, I hope. Throne of Lies sounds good, although not quite as fitting as The Whoredome.

Scott Raab is the author of The Whore of Akron; On Man’s search for the soul of LeBron James, which can be purchased here through amazon.com. As he notes on his Twitter profile, his opinions are his and his alone, but should be shared by any right-minded human.

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  1. marsh0 says

    Wow!!! Hater alert!!! First of all, the Heat point gurad situation has been solid all year. Solved. So if you’re still talking about it then you’re just another sheep following the herd of Haters.
    I’m sorry LBJ hurt you so much. He’s just trying to live his life. Live and let live.
    There’s no grumblings here in Miami. We have alot more going for us than just LBJ or the HEAT. If LBJ wants to leave after his contract is up, We’ll wish him the best. Hopefully that will be after at least two championships.
    You’re too old to be acting like a jilted schoolgirl after two years. Let it go.
    Let’s Go Heat!!!

    • Tonto Epstein says

      The only whore here was Raab using a great book title to sell a book that was actually his own bad autobiography combined with psycho self-analysis. Crap book.

      Funny thing is, if James went back to Cleveland in 2014 (he won’t until 2021 or 2022, when James is doing a Jim Thome thing and sleazeball Ohio carpetbagger Dan Gilbert is Cleveland Cavaliers and Ohio casino ownership history), Raab would boo James like mad at the first home game, and be screaming for LeBron like a schoolgirl at a Beatles concert at the second.

      And speaking of a whore, what’s with somebody posting a book review link. A credible book review is written by somebody that doesn’t write the book review with bias. That sure ain’t that book review.

  2. says

    First, for every person going in on Scott because he spoke his mind as a Cleveland FAN, how are you enjoying being part of the herd? Columns like this are not just a way to sell books and stay relevant. It’s how the man feels. Do yourself a favor and pick up his book and read it. You will find that it’s far less about bashing LeBron and more about why Raab finds himself so angry at this young kid.

    Your rush to judgement on Scott is just as bad as what you are accusing him of. This is a great piece for Sherridan Hoops. I’m glad to hear more stuff written from a fans perspective. Why are we always required to be so impartial. After all as sports writers didn’t we all start out as fans?

    I am sure one of you will bash me because I am friends with Scott. That’s part of the teritory I suppose.

    The point’s Raab made about LeBron are all valid. His shrinking in the playoffs. His sense of entitlement. His unhappiness with the way Riley puts his foot down. It’s all well documented. Dan Gilbert treated LeBron better than most people treat their own families. He took him in in a way that most owners do not take in players and now maybe just maybe LeBron is realizing that the grass doesn’t seem so green on the beaches of Miami anymore.

    The question is does his old meadow want him back. As it would seem some fans do but Scott Raab, the fan, obviously has his reservations.

    Good read I’m glad it was on here Chris.

  3. subtle_havok says

    Chris, what the fuck? Readers of your site are sophisticated NBA
    fans and I think most of us could do without this glorified tabloid writer.
    Taking cheap shots at Lebron and “all eight” of Miami’s fans is the
    realm of no talent hacks like Skip Bayless. I would have expected
    Better from you and your people.

  4. Ben Folds says

    Outstanding piece. This is what Windhorst should be writing but he works for that news outlet that seems to have a contract with LeBron.
    Anyone who is a LeBron apologist hates everything that the NBA is supposed to be about — loyalty to your organization and finding ways to win when you’re more talented than everyone else. Instead, LeBron finds new ways to lose.

  5. Craig Burley says

    Really disappointing piece. I’d agree with comments above that stuff like this isn’t worthy of a good site.

    Worse than the mean-spiritedness and misogyny of it is its detachment from the world of fact; LeBron is a “choke artist” without peer? Tell it to the one-man wrecking crew from the 2009 playoffs. The Celtics and Mavs did a terrific job on him, as Raab acknowledges. Regular season games *count*; LeBron’s dominance of a league that is far stronger than it has ever been shows not only his quality but also his presence of mind; the toughest job of all and the surest sign of mental fortitude is being the best every night.

    I’m no particular fan of James or the Heat, but this sort of arch, evidence-free dismissal isn’t worth repeating.

  6. BullsInside says

    I don’t think enough people are talking about this… He’s ESPN’s babydoll money-maker so they are not covering this story but there is grumbling in the Heat locker room. This isn’t the first time LeBron said this about going back to Cavs. The last time it came up, there were also reports of how LeBron doesn’t like Pat Riley’s heavy-handedness… <- This is what I want to know more about. Lebron falling out of favor with Riley? Something tells me LeBron just doesn't like to be held accountable. Which he was in Cleveland, which he was hoping he wouldn't have to be in Miami. After all if he plays his game and the Heat lose, it's Wade or Bosh who aren't pulling their weight.

    • subtle_havok says

      Your right about the need of sports writers to cover some of the underlying
      issues with the teams they cover, but that is EVERY team in the NBA. You
      think everyone in the Bulls locker room loves Boozer? I’d like to hear more of
      that too. NBA beat writers have too much to lose by reporting things like that.
      That being said, Scotts not really reporting anything. Just spewing hate.
      Wade doesn’t look frail to me, and the cheap shot at Curry’s weight (who
      has lost a ton btw) lets us know his slanted view. He’s not objective or creative,
      he’s a bitter old prick.

      • Tonto Epstein says

        Scott Raab is slamming Eddy Curry’s weight. Good one. That would be like ZZ Top slamming Brad Pitt when he grew that raggedy beard. Scott Raab looks like he SWALLOWED Eddy Curry.

  7. PityPete says

    I really agree with what mopo said. I just don’t get how anyone (esp. not from Cleveland) would give Raab the opportunity to talk about LeBron. That’s nothing but crap. You don’t have to read further than the second sentence to realise that.
    It’s sad to see that people can make a living with telling such stories. You don’t even have to be a LeBron or Miami Heat fan to feel like that.

  8. mopo says

    Pure trash.
    This fellow its pathetic and I’m pretty disappointed that you would feature him on your otherwise reputable blog.

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