King: Do you lean at all toward the place you know the best? I mean do they have an edge going in…
JAMES: Oh, absolutely.
KING: …your home team?
JAMES: Absolutely. Because, you know, this city, these fans, I mean, have given me a lot in these seven years. And, you know, for me, it’s comfortable. So I’ve got a lot of memories here. And – and so it does have an edge.
So why aren’t we then reading this and laughing back at all these other suitors for his services? Why can’t we take what he said and simply say, see, there you go, he just broke his silence to make it known that Cleveland has the edge. Instead though, I hear local sports talk show hosts saying that it would’ve meant more had he made those comments to the local media over the weekend. This makes no sense to me. What if LeBron simply “orchestrated” to say on a national stage, in front of a national audience, that “Cleveland absolutely has the edge” so everybody heard him say that. Maybe more people will hear him on a national stage than would had he made the same remarks to say a Kenny Roda for instance. And don’t get me wrong here, I’m not without some fears, and I’m also not naive enough to think that these comments mean that now for sure he’s staying, because I don’t know. But what I am saying is that we – collectively as Clevelanders – don’t know for sure what he’s going to do. The only time we’ll know is when he actually signs his next contract. And until then, we are all doing ourselves a disservice to try to read in between the lines, read body language, listen to other reports that have him shopping for houses in Chicago, looking at property in Detroit, and all that other garbage. The only person that knows where LeBron is going next season is LeBron. And today, all he said was that Cleveland has the edge. Just relax, take that at face value, and keep it moving.
UPDATE: I just read the transcript of the interview as posted here, and wanted to offer some additional pro-Cleveland excerpts in follow-up to my intial thoughts and reactions to the previously leaked quote above…as well as an awkward exchange to close.
From the interview with Larry King:
…on Bosh to the Cavs:
KING: And if one of these free agents was you and one was Bosh, would L.A. appeal to you?
JAMES: It’s a great city. It’s a great city. But at the same time, like I said, it’s not always about the city. It’s about winning. And I mean if you put me and Bosh on the same team, if you put me and Dwayne Wade on the same team or a lot of these — me and Joe Johnson or — or a lot of these guys, a lot of teams would be much better. You know, the Cavs would be much better.
…on LeBron’s loyalty to this area:
KING: How about this city? You know the — listen, listen, these are economic times and you are in the unique position of being very economically important to Cleveland. You sell tickets. You do more than that. You support people in this city. You’re very generous in getting involved with kids. Do you take that into consideration? You’ve got a lot on your shoulders.
JAMES: Well, I think as far as saving the city economically, I can’t get too involved in that. I can’t let that be a decision of mine or what I do with my future. But as far as what I do in the community, that has a lot to do with it, because what I do in the city of Akron and what I do in the city of Cleveland means a lot to myself. And, you know, if our — if I don’t do these things that I do on the community, locally, I will feel — I will feel bad because I feel like, you know, any time when I was growing up, if I had ever got an opportunity to make it, I will always give back.
…Cleveland as the sentimental favorite:
KING: OK. So I’m not going to put words in your mouth. All things being equal, is Cleveland sort of sentimentally the favorite?
JAMES: Oh, absolutely. And it’s a — it’s a Cleveland-Akron team, because I grew up in Akron. I mean Akron is less than 30 miles south of Cleveland. So, absolutely. My whole family is here. You know, when I played high school basketball, where I grew up, in the projects, a lot of — a lot of things mean home for me here. And — and it’s not just about the basketball court.
…and lastly an awkward exchange regarding his upcoming movie:
KING: You’re doing a movie?
KING: What is it?
JAMES: I’m doing a movie called “Ballers.”
JAMES: “Ballers.” Like basketballers. But it’s about — it’s a comedy with me having (INAUDIBLE)…
KING: Well, if it’s good — no, just (INAUDIBLE). There’s nothing wrong with (INAUDIBLE)…
JAMES: You know, basketballs, I get it.