AKRON, Ohio - Sometimes I'll do a serious double take when I read a story. This is one of those stories.
My teammate Bob Jones wrote this one on Friday - Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic vs. Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert.
Plusquellic said, "Dan Gilbert can be mad at me if he wants to be, but I wish Dan Gilbert would have spent some of his money and gone out and bought a couple of all-stars and then said to LeBron, 'Hey, I'm giving you a team that you can win a championship here.' Instead, everybody waited, held their cards close to the vest and said, 'OK, LeBron please sign.'"
He then went on to take a pot shot at Gilbert and his Horseshoe Casino.
"I think he had more than enough (money) before we gave him all the gambling interest in Northeast Ohio, so I think right now, he has more than enough money to be able to do something to bring a championship back to Cleveland," Plusquellic said.
Let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story.
Fact: LeBron James was a free agent, when he left the Cavs. Like any free agent in any sport. LeBron was free to do a deal with any team.
Fact: The Cavs offered LeBron a max contract. It was not possible for the Cavs to offer LeBron any more money or years than the Cavs. As it has been stated before LeBron took less money to go to Miami.
Fact: The Cavs had four other all-stars on the team when Lebron James left Cleveland - Mo Williams, Shaquille O'Neal, Antawn Jamison and Zydrunas Illgauskas.
Fact: You try to get players to sign with your team. You do not "go out and buy players." They are human beings, not a bottle of milk at the store.
Fact: LeBron gave the Cavs and five other teams he brought into downtown Cleveland, an equal chance to earn his services.
Fact: The gambling interest in northeast Ohio is owned in part by the citizens (Ohio Lottery), Gilbert and his Rock Gaming and Caesars Entertainment (at the Horseshoe and Thisledown Racino), and Brock Milstein and Hard Rock International (the Northfield Hard Rock Racino, located in Plusquellic's own Summit County).
The mayor's logic leaves me feeling like a cartoon character with blue birds flying over my dome after being bonked on the head by a giant mallet.
Here is the bottom line: LeBron owns two rings and three trips to the NBA Finals since leaving Cleveland. He can leave Miami after next season. What will happen next is just like it was in his last season here in Cleveland. LeBron can do whatever he wants to with his career.
The Mayor of Akron needs to be worrying about jobs and economic growth in his Summit County city. He should be talking to both LeBron and Dan Gilbert about growth in our region. LeBron doesn't need him to stick up for him. Remember, he said he has "no worries" after winning his second title this week.
The LeBron story is getting really old, and really stale. LeBron is doing his thing. Cavs fans have supported Gilbert and the team despite losing seasons since LeBron left.
It's on Gilbert now, especially with the first pick in the draft again this week.
Fact: We need a sports owner to put a winning team on the court and a politician to not rewrite history.
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