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July 11, 2010
Players have differing opinions on James
BEAVERTON, Ore. - Cleveland kids felt hurt and betrayed, Miami players were thrilled and the Los Angeles kids, they still have Kobe Bryant so they didn't seem too worried about it at all.
Talk about LeBron James leaving Cleveland for Miami made its way through the NIKE 7on Football Tournament earlier this week with trash talking and jabs being thrown back and forth, another tough break for Cavs' fans who hoped James wouldn't leave for another team.
"It was basically his city," Cleveland Glenville linebacker Andre Sturdivant said. "We see it hands-on. I wouldn't say people not from Cleveland don't understand it but they don't see it like we see it. It's like how people in L.A. would feel if Kobe left, we wouldn't understand. We wouldn't understand their pain.
"He brought so much to the city it's like what do we have now? It was like he was the man of the city. I couldn't understand why would he leave his whole franchise and go somewhere else? No knock on Miami but when you basically own a city I don't know why you'd want to go anywhere else."
Disappointed that Cleveland lost its best player and arguably the best basketball player on the planet, Glenville defensive back Malik Moore resorted to humor about the situation. Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert promised fans in a scathing letter that the Cavs would win a championship before James and the Heat but Moore wasn't really buying the spin.
"We're going to be the best team in Cleveland now," Moore said of Glenville. "I don't even know who (the Cavs) are going to have. I might go try out for the Cavs."
Miami Northwestern players were overjoyed by the news and linebacker Demetrius Allen, a Florida International commit, said basketball is relevant once again in his hometown. The 6-foot, 200-pound recruit is savvy enough to know that it will all come with a hefty price, though.
"I really don't care how (the Cleveland players) feel," Allen said. "Miami needed him to come. I knew he was going to come but I think he was waiting for Dwyane Wade to make his decision. He made a good move because now with him, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh they're young, they have like 10 more years in the NBA and they could win a lot of championships.
"Everybody is excited and everybody knows how much the tickets are going to be to go to the games. I don't care what the Cleveland people think. I'm happy."
Then there's the Los Angeles contingent, clearly concerned about James, Wade and Bosh teaming up in Miami but pretty sure that Bryant and the Lakers can handle all comers.
Gardena (Calif.) Serra quarterback Conner Preston, an SMU commit, said the triumvirate in Miami will only be more motivation for Bryant, almost a personal affront that the Heat are coming after the title in Los Angeles.
"LeBron is a sick player and Wade and Bosh are great, they're young, we haven't seen how they play together but they definitely have potential," Preston said. "I don't think anybody could beat Kobe. He's a champion.
"Like LeBron said you become a superstar on your own but you become a champion with your team. He realizes he needed a supporting cast around him and those are some sick players right there so it's kind of an all-star lineup but I'll still take my Lakers any day."
It was a football event for sure but here on the NIKE campus the talk of James, Wade, Bosh, Bryant, The Decision and what comes of it next season and down the line was certainly fresh on everyone's mind.