I avoided writing about l’affaire LeBron this week, mainly because I don’t follow basketball, but also to avoid contributing even further to the ridiculous spectacle of a sports network giving a platform for a multimillionaire in prime time to reveal which owner would pay him a fortune to play in his city. There wasn’t much to learn from it, other than ESPN must be getting desperate for prime-time programming. The broadcaster once known for its hip and cynical take on sports has descended to the level of huckster for the very pretentions it used to skewer, perhaps a natural progression from its increasingly steroidal and exploding graphics.
Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie and Dan Hayes turn it into a teaching moment, however, by reminding angry Cleveland fans that LeBron James did what more than half of the city’s population has done over the years: leave. While Cleveland has built huge edifices, both literally and then figuratively in LeBron, the city and the state of Ohio has ignored the fact that their tax codes have made them uncompetitive. People don’t want to waste their money on big public projects; they want to keep their money and invest it in their communities themselves:
Don’t blame LeBron for leaving Cleveland. Fix the problems that made James just the latest of a long parade of Clevelanders to look for greener pastures. Reason has a lengthy series focusing on Cleveland and the choices it should make to bring a new renaissance to the city, and that advises Cleveland to get rid of its edifice complex.