Mating Calls of the Irrational Sports Fan: Lebron Edition (Part 1)

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Note: I wrote this article in the summer of 2010, immediately after Lebron James decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Preface: I’m a sports fan who watches the NBA, NFL, and (occasionally) NCAA competition. In general, I think most professional athletes are entitled and exhibit off-the-field conduct that leaves much to be desired but this post is directed at their fans. I’ve heard sports fans utter a lot of nonsense over the years.

Uninformed sports fans are a common breed. Like a bird in the woods or an amphibian in the forest, they can be identified by the sounds they make or behaviors they display. Below, you will find some of their most commonly repeated statements. Each is succeeded by an appropriate rebuttal.

The 2010 NBA Free Agent signing period was the most exciting sports off season in recent memory. Media outlets tripped over themselves to bring coverage of this year’s free agent signing period from every angle. Rumors of who was going where and whom was teaming with whom ran rampant. Lebron James was the central focus (and best player) of the  Free Agent Class. In case you are unaware of what transpired, here are a few articles to get you up to speed.

The circus that was the NBA Free Agent class of 2010:

Commentary from fans, pundits and players on Lebron James’ decision :

The Cleveland Cavs Owner Responds:

I thought Lebron made the right decision. Miami will give him the best chance to win a title. He took LESS (albeit tax-free) money to go to there in lieu of a a mega-max contract with a host of other teams (including the Cavs). He wasn’t winning a championship in Cleveland; free agents don’t want to play in Ohio.  Why would he want to stay with the Cavaliers when he could live in a tropical climate and forego state income tax in Miami?  The team also lacked the requisite cap space to add big-time free agents. That he carried a mediocre Cavaliers squad to 60 wins and deep playoff runs speaks volumes about the kind of all-world player Lebron is. He was correct to pursue the option that made him (not the fans or owners) happiest.

Sports fans are a nutty and passionate bunch. They root hard for their teams and are always ready to challenge the strategies or transactions undertaken by their team’s management and ownership groups.  However, many fans have a problem accurately assessing the many subtleties and conventions of the sports they so ardently support.. Many fans don’t even bother to question their own knowledge of a sport and are notorious for using subjective analysis.  The NBA Free Agent Summer of 2010 (“Lebron watch”, in particular) provided plenty of opportunity to listen to uninformed sports fans across the country. Here is my take on some of the more ridiculous opinions spouted during the entire NBA free agent class saga:

I don’t want to buy a championship. I was hoping we wouldn’t get Lebron.

It’s pro sports, not little league.  There is a direct positive correlation between the amount an owner spends on his team and the likelihood of his team winning a championship. Whether you build your team through free agency or the draft, you are still attempting to improve by adding better players to the fold. If you  pay a contractor to add a bedroom onto your home, is it any less valuable because you did not build it yourself? You might even argue that it would be foolish to spend the time/money to build it yourself when someone else can provide a better quality service at a cheaper price. Signing Free Agents allows a team to acquire established pieces. With draft picks, you never know what you are going to get.

Any fan who claimed that he never wanted Lebron to join his team needs to have his head examined.

Click here for Part 2

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