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LeBron makes rare public statement regarding 2010

Mar 21, 2010, 2:02 PM EDT

If you’re a fan of athletes handling their marketing well, you have to be impressed with how LeBron James has handled the questions surrounding his future this summer in the Free Agency Summer of Doom. Even if you’re absolutely convinced one way or the other on him leaving or staying, he’s done a fantastic job of keeping the question open while doing the things he should for his team and the Cavs fans.

He releases a series of shoes in Knicks colors.

He attends the Yankees championship parade.

He releases a film about his time in high school in Ohio.

He constantly, and firmly, refuses to comment on his future and free agency.

To that end, it’s interesting that in the latest from Brian Windhorst, Cavs beat writer extraordinaire, LeBron is quoted answering a rare question about the summer from an unnamed member of the press corps. The reporter asked why James won’t just say he’s happy in Cleveland (which would end the speculation), since he seems so happy with the Cavs, laughing and joking and being all silly and cute. His response? Not cute.

“At the end of the day, it is still a business,” James said. “This isn’t
high school basketball anymore. You have to do what is best for your
family and what is best for yourself. I’ve always said I love being in
Cleveland. But for me as a basketball player, no matter what happens, I
love to play the game. I play it with a joy and I love my teammates.”

The line about it being a business is nothing new, and the quote itself isn’t shocking. But it does paint a definitive picture of where James’ head is at. Those that think there’s no way the King could leave his kingdom need to pay hard attention to the “what is best for yourself” part. It’s up to teams with less to offer than the Cavs to make the case of why he should leave. But if they can make the case, he’ll listen.

From there, it’s money plus championships plus all the other million factors to consider.

  1. Ajax - Mar 21, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    LB is obsessed with personal fame and fortune. He cannot will himself to NOT look at the cameras on him even as he puts up free throws. I look back at how Kobe has matured and await LB to grow up too. Meanwhiles I hope the Magic, Celts, or Lakers smoke the Cavs. Did I mention he’s also a spoilsport, biggest pouter in league when he loses. None of this is to deny his exceptional hoops skills; emotional maturity can be more difficult, especially perhaps for those so young, rich and endowed. Throw him a guaranteed ring and he’s there in a minute, all his pals are on a different team? np LB’s got a ring, his new pals are the ones he needed to get it. Thing is LB, there is no guarantee on getting a ring. Your TEAM has to actually win the games.
    aside: my two most hated and overused NBA expressions this year: “It’s a business” and “basketball IQ”

  2. dmiller - Mar 21, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Another overused phrase that I am tired of…”I have to do what is best for my family.” In some cases (Mr. Kemp) which one of your several families are you speaking of. Most people don’t make more than 1.5 million in a lifetime and they do just fine…so does the average family. If you want to do what is best for your family, save your money and don’t act like Antwan Walker. If you want to do what is best for your family, don’t do anything stupid and think you can get away with it…Tiger. If you want to do what is best for your family, just shut up and play!

  3. Jeff - Mar 21, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    @dmiller: And people in the 3rd world live on like $1 a day, and they will never earn in their lifetime what you make in a year. I don’t see you taking less money because of that, but you seem to have time to complain about LBJ’s earnings which has no impact whatsoever on you and your life. If you care so much about people, spend less time being jealous of LBJ and help someone less fortunate.

  4. xskippzx - Mar 21, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    How is this statement “rare” or any different from previous statements he’s made? Talking about grasping at straws in hopes to find SOME sort of implication. This is the biggest non-story story in all of sports. Nothing about it is relevent until after this season ends.

  5. ricky - Mar 21, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    LBJ should do whats best for LBJ because cleaveland will do the if they need remember the Knicks trade patrick ewin in best intrest of the Knicks

  6. Yeah - Mar 21, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    Most people also don’t contribute the same way to a billion dollar business the same way Lebron does.

  7. Muckster - Mar 21, 2010 at 10:38 PM

    Lebron the right thing to do is stay where you are at…The ring will come to the King in cleveland.If you leave you will have to start all over again,and may regret it.

  8. grapeape1952 - Mar 22, 2010 at 6:11 AM

    Well lets see you (LBJ) has stated its for the love of the game, its winning a championship, its for the love of your team and team mates—well wouldn’t Cleveland be the best and only choice, that is if it is for the reasons listed above—and not that all mighty dollar– I hope I’m wrong and LBJ stays but if its for money bye, ifit is for the reasons listed above welcome aboard and lets get the rings. Danny Ferry and the Cavs have given “KING JAMES” everyting he wants lets see if he’s loyal to the Cavs or not.

  9. JHP - Mar 22, 2010 at 6:31 AM

    Sounds like the NBA may have a little problem. If all the big names run to the major cities just for the money then the level of interest in the rest of the country is bound to fall off. Several teams are already for sale and MJ bought the Bobcats for a lot less then the previous owner. So it would be funny to see the word contaction start creeping into the equation. And as far as LeBaron goes the Knicks may be able to buy the players but could be years away from a title.

  10. Cappy - Mar 22, 2010 at 6:38 AM

    AMEN, JEFF!!

  11. Sguy2130 - Mar 22, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    Ajax, get a clue….you think Kobe never whines…? Did you watch the first Cavs Lakers game this year when the Cavs blew out your team? Kobe was whining about calls the entire game. All the superstars cry when they get a call against them. They ALL do. And yes I’m too impressed that Kobe matured from allegedly raping women to not doing it. What a class act…

  12. Dave S. - Mar 22, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    I’m a little sick and tired of hearing about Lebron. Is he leaving or staying?…I was born and raised in Cleveland and have seen the best of them go….Go ahead Lebron,,,,leave…We can do without you. I just can’t figure out what the big deal is with him. He can’t commit to the fans, but the owners will commit to him and give him whatever he wants. Does he think he walks on water????? Dan Gilbert is the only owner willing to stick his neck out and pay for players and now Lebron can’t make up his mind??? Give me a break.!!! All the money he makes and the treatment he has received in Cleveland can’t be bettered elsewhere…Actually, I hope he leaves.!!!!!

  13. Dj Quest - Mar 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    You can find Jeff at your local Tea Party convention or at capital hill spitting on folks as they leave congress….
    I love the USA but some of the people in it are just so mean spirited it’s not even funny…
    (sigh)

  14. john r - Mar 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    he was answering a direct question about whether his enjoyment of teammates would keep him in cleveland. how would you have liked him to answer the question? you come on to these blogs to get more than box scores, yet you blast athletes that speak their mind when asked questions.

  15. Joey - Mar 22, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Remember last years dunk contest? LBJ emphatically declared he’s in this years contest. This year roles around and no LBJ. Just prior to the allstar game tipoff, LBJ declares how great this has been in dallas and that he’s doing this all “for the fans”. Sorry? What was that last part? If LBJ really gave a crap about the fans he would have stuck to his word and saved us all from having to “witness” the most pathetic dunk contest in NBA history.
    No one would have thought less of him if he had kept his mouth shut last year. He would have been just like every other of this generations A listers who refuse to enter for whatever reason. When you can’t stick to your word,… whats the point of giving credit to anything you say?
    This brings us to his impending FA. Is anything this guy says believable?

  16. Jeff A - Mar 22, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Lebron needs to go to the Knicks with Chris Bosh. That will equal a fat paycheck and a title. All of the money the Knicks are going to have can buy a championship….I’d bet on it.

  17. Rome - Mar 22, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    You hear all about the city the fans but when its all said and done its a job and you have an employer.LBJ go to work and earn as much as you can,just remember MJ. The bulls wouldnt even offer the guy an extension, at one point he wasnt even in the top 50 paid players he didnt grip primarly because of the endorsements.He would have stayed with the bulls if they would have kept Phil Jackson.Hey they wouldnt even offer the guy a GM position,never the less has anyone seen Scottie Pippen working,he couldnt have done worse than John Paxon. Remember folks earn what you can because in the end the owners dont give a ___ its just business think about the NCAA.

  18. PatM - Mar 23, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    If the Knicks can sign Bosh or Johnson I think LeBron will have to strongly consider making the move.. other than the knicks not having a great team now, (though I do think they have many pieces in Chander, Gallo,Lee) which will change when this summer comes, I think it makes sense for LeBron to make the move… he’s never going to become the star in Clevland that he could become in NY.. times have changed when ppl reference MJ in Chicago and how he did it in a ‘small city’… basketball just isn’t as popular / LBJ just doesn’t stand out as MJ did in his prime…. Between Nike and NYC being the biggest city in the country..most of all being the hopeful big signing off season the knicks will likely have… if the knicks can get a bosh/joe johnson and perhaps keep dlee i think LBJ has a good chance of leaving… he’s only getting older, and the opportunity will not come again.. it just wont.. mayb to a much less extent down the road when he’s wrapping up his career, but not like this….
    alot also has to do w outcome this playoffs..if they get knocked off early it’ll certainly make things more interesting than if he wins it…

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