Some say Chicago better off without LeBron

July 9, 2010 3:08:16 PM PDT
Basketball star LeBron James arrived in his new home city of Miami Friday, one day after the bombshell announcement that he is spurning his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to chase an NBA championship with the Heat. The Chicago Bulls also wanted the man known as "The King" to join them. However, many people are saying James' manner of departure shows the Bulls are better off without him.

The crush around basketball's biggest attraction in his new surroundings is a sign of the love that's flowing on South Beach. But as LeBron James submitted for physicals with his new team, he was getting anything but love from the people in the places he rejected as a free agent.

In Cleveland, the Akron, Ohio native's jerseys were burned. In an open letter to fans, Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert called James' primetime decision cowardly, callous and narcissistic.

"I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled 'King' wins one," Gilbert wrote.

It was a response James told ABC's Good Morning America he expected.

"I know that the fans -- and the people in Ohio and in Cleveland itself -- wouldn't be able to understand it," James said.

"He kind of bailed on his home people and left for Miami," said Ryan Cheuvront of VIP Sports Marketing.

Cheuvront is from Cleveland. He said Thursday night's announcement hurts deeply for non-Miami fans and for James' marketability.

"What has he done to his brand? I would say, short-term, not positive," Cheuvront said. " He's a guy who ideally wanted to build up like a Tiger Woods, where he wanted to make a billion dollars and marketing and his whole world wide brand. Now, there is a lot of negative backlash, I think, permanently."

On some outdoor basketball courts in Chicago, views were mixed on the LeBron spectacle.

"The announcement was kind of over-the-top. I think he should have had a better alliance to Cleveland," said Norman Thompson.

"I'm actually happy he is not coming to the Bulls. I'm probably one of the few because I don't believe in superstars. I don't think it takes that. It takes a team," said Trevis Lester.

But from those who love the game of basketball, there was some understanding of LeBron's choice.

"When a player has been in the league for seven years and?still hasn't [gotten] that ring, it is all about the ring after that," said Greg Howard.


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