Dear LeBron: Give Cleveland a Break!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010 12:46 PM

By Jon Friedman

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Dear LeBron: Give Cleveland a break!

I have been to Cleveland only twice — once for a family wedding in Chagrin Falls and the other time was to cover the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opening.

There didn't really seem to be another reason to go to the city, which Randy Newman immortalized in his brilliantly scathing song "Burn On," about the time the Cuyahoga River caught on fire in 1969.

Cleveland looked like a wasteland — until you arrived in 2003 and turned it into a chic hoops haven. Yes, YOU did it all.

And now it looks like you may exercise your right as a free agent and leave, for Chicago or New York or, of all places, Newark, N.J.

LeBron, don't do it! Stay home, please! Cleveland needs you a hell of a lot more than the big cities do. You’re an Akron guy, for heaven’s sake, and you need to remain one.

You ever seen "The Out of Towners," starring Jack Lemmon? New York can be a very unforgiving place. The tabloids and talk radio won’t give you an inch. The sports fans will expect you to score 50 points in every game. And if the team endures a losing streak, you’ll be blamed for everything from a failure to get rebounds to a subway slowdown in Queens.

Mainly, it would just be wrong for you to leave your people high and dry. Don’t get me wrong.

Look, I live in Manhattan and I want the New York Knicks to win — and yet, I am urging you to stay put.

If you bolt, Cleveland will suffer mightily. It will be the American version of Siberia in the winter. The city's soul will be at a low point for a long time to come. You have given the city life and a purpose. Don’t turn your back on your hometown.

It would be so unfair if you abandoned Cleveland for the bright lights, big city (does Newark have bright lights?). Sure, it is your right to do whatever you want and work anywhere you choose. This is the American way.

But the right thing to do would be to stay in Cleveland — for their sake, and yours.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.










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