FRIDAY FODDER: LeBron surpasses Art Modell as public enemy No. 1 in Cleveland | NevadaAppeal.com
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FRIDAY FODDER: LeBron surpasses Art Modell as public enemy No. 1 in Cleveland

JOE SANTORO
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

LeBron James is now the most hated player in the NBA. Hope you enjoy the beach, LeBron. Have fun in the sun with Shakira, P. Diddy, Beyonce and all the rest of the famous faces that call Miami home at least part of the year. The classy thing for James to do would have been to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s the only team he has known in the NBA. It’s his home state. His family and childhood friends live there. James, though, abandoned them all like Art Modell to play with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and nine D-Leaguers with the Miami Heat. The city of Cleveland did not deserve this.

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Why would a so-called superstar like James want to play with two other superstars? The Heat is Wade’s team. Can James become Scottie Pippen? Maybe he knows down deep that he can’t carry a team on his shoulders to a NBA title. Maybe he was afraid of the challenge of trying to bring a title to Cleveland. Winning a title with Wade and Bosh in Miami can’t mean half as much to James as winning a championship in Cleveland. In Cleveland, James was King James. In Miami, he’s just going to be another celebrity wearing dark sunglasses at night trying to avoid the paparazzi.

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Can a team win a NBA championship with three superstars and a bunch of one-dimensional role players who will make less money than some members of James’ posse? The Boston Celtics won in 2008 with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen but that team also had Rajon Rondo, Eddie House, Kendrick Perkins, James Posey and Leon Powe. The Los Angeles Lakers won titles in the 1980s with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy but they also had Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis and Bob McAdoo. The Heat just became a very interesting NBA science experiment.

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Who were the biggest losers and winners in NBA free agency? Well, New York (Amare Stoudamire), Chicago (Carlos Boozer), Boston (keeping Paul Pierce and Ray Allen) and Dallas (keeping Dirk Nowitzki) did a nice job. Miami, of course, won the lottery. To nobody’s surprise except Jay-Z, New Jersey still nothing more than a billionaire Russian owner and a 25-win team. We don’t know what Atlanta was thinking by giving Joe Johnson $120 million. And Cleveland, poor Cleveland, is, once again, the Cleveland Cadavers.

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Feel sorry for Erik Spoelstra. He now has to coach this three-headed, prima donna, diva Miami Heat roster with no bench. Then again, expect Pat Riley to fire Spoelstra and take his job after a 1-2 start. If the Heat does not win a title with James, Wade and Bosh, let’s just say it’s not going to be the fault of James, Wade or Bosh.

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Do you really want to watch a major league all-star game that includes Matt Capps, Evan Meek, Arthur Rhodes, Omar Infante, Trevor Cahill, Fausto Carmona, Ty Wigginton, John Buck, Marlon Byrd, Jose Bautista and Matt Thornton? Well, that’s what we’re going to get next week. By the sixth inning it’s going to have the feel of a Pirates-A’s interleague game.

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The fans actually did a much better job of picking the starting lineups than the managers (Charlie Manuel and Joe Girardi) did of picking the pitchers and the reserves. It might be time to allow the fans to pick the entire roster.

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Baseball, though, has the best all-star game. It’s not even close. The NFL’s Pro Bowl is a complete waste of time. The players don’t even want to play the game. The NHL’s game is a joke. There would be more saves if both teams pulled their goalies a minute into the game. The NBA All-Star game is mildly interesting but it is nothing more than a D-League game with skills. Baseball actually has a real game, complete with (this year, at least) middle relievers and bench players.