CBS Radio Sports Talent React To LeBron’s Return To Cleveland
<By Dan Bernstein
(CBS Local Sports) – LeBron James has made his decision. The King is going home.
Since the news broke, the sports media world has been in a complete frenzy with many personalities and fans sounding off about James’ move back to Cleveland – CBS Radio sports personalities included.
We reached out to our sports radio personalities from across the country to get their opinion on James’ decision. Here’s their reactions:
Jeff Phelps, From Baskin & Phelps on 92.3 The Fan, Cleveland
“One, I’m proud of the Cavaliers. The Cavs put together a good opportunity for LeBron to come back. Number two… I’m proud of LeBron James. I never thought he should have left in the first place, because i thought he had business here that he needed to finish and I thought it was in his best interest to stay here. That’s what I thought. And I also thought this was the best situation for him to return to all along. And for marketing purposes, and that’s part of this folks… marketing and business purposes, his best move would be to come back to the Cavaliers, and he has done just that.
It’s taking some guts to walk away from a team that went to four-straight NBA Finals. To me, that’s really stepping up. I did a lot of his games in high school and all of his games up until he left, and honestly, this is the most mature, big-time thing I’ve seen him do.”
Ken Carman, Evenings 7PM-Midnight on 92.3 The Fan, Cleveland
“LeBron returning to the Cavaliers has nothing to do with the team’s history. It has nothing to do with planes, hex charts, rumors and innuendo… and it has NOTHING to do with Dan Gilbert. This is about you (Cleveland fans). Us. LeBron. His legacy, and ours as a fan base. LeBron James is one of us. I didn’t want to take those calls, he didn’t want to let you make them. Welcome Home.”
Mike Francesa, WFAN New York
“Listen, he gave Miami a couple championships and four years of really rock star kind of attention. Will they get over the hurt? It will be tough. I’m sure Bosh will scoot to Houston right now and Riley might leave. I’m sure Miami eventually will get over it and realize that they got four years. I think the only place he could go unscathed was to Cleveland and now we’ll see what that means to the landscape….
…So this forsaken city, which has yearned for a championship for a very long time, now has a very prominent place in sports and, who knows, maybe it’s time for the Browns to get good, we’ll see what happens. The Indians aren’t in bad hands, but this is a very special time for Cleveland and a devastating time for Miami.”
Andrew Fillipponi, Co-Host of the Cook and Poni Show, Weekdays 10am-2pm, 93-7 The Fan- Pittsburgh
“Cleveland’s sports fans didn’t deserve this. Any empathy I had for their suffering evaporated when they flooded the streets of that decaying dump to burn their LeBron jerseys. I don’t like to see good things happen to people like Dan Gilbert. That being said, LeBron will bring a championship there.”
Chris Mueller Co-Host, “Starkey and Mueller” 93-7 The Fan- Pittsburgh
“LeBron James going back home to Cleveland could end up as one of the best redemption stories in sports history. Given the way the Cavaliers and James parted ways, it would have been reasonable to assume that the divorce would have lasted forever. It didn’t. The Cavs are getting an older, wiser, but still by far tops in the sport version of James, and James gets a team perhaps more geared to win a title than the aging Heat. The prodigal son comes home to mend fences and try to deliver a title to a sports-starved city. Who could ask for anything more? Well, besides the Heat, that is.”
Dan Bernstein, The Afternoon Drive on The Score, WSCR-AM Chicago
“In both his reasoned decision and thoughtful public letter, LeBron James now evinces a level of self-awareness and professionalism that seemed nonexistent when he joined Miami four years ago.
Instead of callow bombast, there was dignity. What’s more, there was transparency: his carefully crafted words touched every note, addressing his own lingering regrets and those of the city and franchise he spurned so painfully.
This is James, a man in full, doing what he feels is the right thing for the right reasons. It is a big story, and it is also a good one.”
Andy Gresh, Middays on 98.5 The Sports Hub Boston
“I am shocked that LBJ has returned home to Cleveland. I truly bought into the fact that he and his mates, Wade and Bosh, were all in again for a 4-year reboot in Miami and they were doing what was necessary to give Pat Riley the ability to improve the roster. Obviously, I was wrong. I didn’t believe that his prior ‘decision’ would weigh on him emotionally and lead him back home. That said, the pressure is on him now more than ever to win another NBA championship regardless of what he told SI.com.”
Ike Reese, 94 WIP Philadelphia
“Wow. Wow. Wow. I guess I’m not as shocked about him going to Cleveland, because I honestly thought that this would be like taking the knife and just constantly twisting it in the hearts of those fans up there—where he’s from—to allow this to get to this point. These people were outside his home. I just thought he was stringing everyone along. So, you read this letter and he answers a lot of things in this letter. He, you know, he owns up to a lot of stuff in this letter.”
Chad Dukes, Co-Host of LaVar and Dukes on 106.7 The Fan Washington D.C.
“As a wizards fan, I’m excited for LeBron James’ decision because the results of the decision is that the Eastern Conference is now up in the air. Cleveland is probably 2 years away from being a true championship contender while the Miami Heat would have been the favorites to win the Championship this year. I’m happy that he’s happy, but all I care about are the Wizards.”
Mike Bacsik, Chris Arnold and Jeff “Skin” Wade 105-3 The Fan, Dallas Fort Worth KRLD-FM
Bacsik- “I think this is awesome for the city of Cleveland and for LeBron James. I can finally watch all of his basketball games again and root for him, as long as Dwyane Wade doesn’t join him in Cleveland. I am so happy that Dwyane Wade is left all by himself in Miami. You couldn’t have done it any better than LeBron did it. The article, blog, that he wrote for Sports Illustrated was touching. It gave me chills. I can’t wait for the start of the NBA season to see LeBron James back in Cleveland.”
Arnold- “LeBron James to Cleveland is the biggest story in sports this year. The reason why is because of ‘The Decision’ in 2010. He cleaned it all up. He explained it so eloquently in his letter to the people of Cleveland. It was bigger than basketball. It’s about rewarding a region. It’s about family. It’s about hardworking people. I think he not only redeemed himself and his image, but he brought hope and join to a part of the world where nothing has been easy. They haven’t won a championship since 1964. On top of it all, The United States of America can look at LeBron James again and say, ‘You know what? This guy is a good guy.’ He didn’t go chasing championships in South Beach for nothing. He went there to learn some things and he’s bringing that knowledge back to his home town. It’s all about coming home. I think he did a great job with that.”
Wade- ” LeBron James return to his home in Cleveland is an awesome sports story. It’s going to give us so many fantastic storylines over the next couple of years. They have a young team. It will still take them at least a season to be true championship contender material, however the East is so weak, they’ll make a quantum leap immediately in those regards. Miami will crumble. I imagine Pat Reilly will tear that thing down, it will be interesting to see the money that Dwyane Wade is offered knowing he’s on the back side of his career. And now the rest of NBA free agency can begin, but just an awesome story for everyone to follow with LeBron returning to Cleveland.”
Chris Kroeger, 610 The Fan in Charlotte
“‘The Decision’ in the Summer of 2010 encapsulated everything that was wrong with superstar athletes. From the over-the-top recruiting pitches to the public breakup with the city of Cleveland and the Cavaliers on national television and the rock-star-like unveiling of the “Big Three” in Miami, LeBron painted himself as somewhat of a villain. “The Homecoming” in the Summer of 2014 couldn’t be more opposite – a more low-key free agency led by his agent, not LeBron himself, no massive media takeover and a humble return to the hometown that felt so wronged by LeBron just a few years earlier. LeBron James has matured and grown as a player and an individual and his announcement and subsequent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers is proof of that. Four years later, King James returns to his throne with the Cavs and finally feels ready to deliver something he felt unable to do just four years ago, a championship to Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. And this time around, his only guarantee is of hard work. He finally gets it.”
Sean Pendergast, Host The Triple Threat, 2-7pm Sports Radio 610, KILT AM Houston
“LeBron James is a great basketball player, but he’s also a basketball historian and understands the concept of ‘legacy.’ All along, I’ve thought a return to Cleveland was the most legacy-friendly option for LeBron. As a player, it’s certainly not the ‘easy’ choice, as there were more talented suitors for his services (the Rockets, for one). If he wins a title in Cleveland, LeBron will have done it the hard way. Above all else, though, this is one of the greatest redemption stories in sports history, almost like LeBron went away to college (in Miami) for four years and returned a man. He’s coming home.”
Marc Ryan, Co-Host of “Booger & Ryan”, on 98.7 The Fan Tampa
“Lebron James returning to Cleveland is the fairy tale ending we don’t normally see in real life. James returning to Cleveland is a feel good story for America. The blue collar, hard-working, economically deprived town gets it’s big victory and oh by the way, the rich guy, the big bully of South Beach has to take it on the chin. There’s something incredibly sweet about that and the fact that the ugly guy, the ugly duckling if you will, finally landed the pretty girl.”
Grant Napear, KHTK Sports 1140 Sacramento, CA
“As someone who went to college in Ohio and truly understands the heartache of the fans there I think it’s great! I think it’s awesome that LeBron believes in his roots as much as he does. His decision to return home will totally galvanize Cleveland.”
Scott Anderson, Midday Host from Karsch & Anderson on 97.1 The Ticket Detroit
“It was a great move by LeBron…. I thought he handled it well, the letter showed maturity and humility, it was a good move. Now that he has multiple Championships, he can head back home and bring Cleveland a championship. He saw how ‘old’ his team was in Miami and it was coming to an end. He can now go play with a very good young core and perhaps start a dynasty in his hometown and can continue to build on his legacy.”
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