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LeBron James: He Owes You Ca$h Northeast Ohio

By George Thomas Published: April 13, 2010

I've only been on the NBA beat for two seasons now.  I've been told that I've met Tim Povtak a couple of times.  Ususally, it's a bit daunting putting face to name.  I couldn't pick Povtak out of pressrow if he and I were sitting next to one another without name tags.
But I do know when I've read something completely wacky, off-the-wall and well, patently ridiculous such as this column from Povtak.  In it he claims the James owes the fans of Cleveland a refund for sitting out Sunday's game against the Orlando Magic.
The biggest problem I have with it:  it's pretty frackin' obvious that he didn't make a phone call to check his facts or, for that matter, read what has been coming out of Cleveland.

James, with the blessing of coach Mike Brown, sat out his third consecutive game Sunday, not because he was hurt, but because he wanted to rest up for the playoffs.
I have a little problem with that statement for one reason: it implies that James calls all the shots at Quicken Loans Arena and Cleveland Clinic Courts.  For anyone who has been covering the Cavs or with the ability to make a telephone call, they'd know that this is primarily Brown's decision.  He's yanked James primarily because as the season wore on he got too close to that 40 minute per game mark.  The reality:  this was primarily Brown's decision.  He's been asked over and over, if recent injuries to star players such as the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh, who caught an inadvertent elbow from  Antawn Jamison, played a role in his decision.  He confessed on more than one occasion that was a thought and, yes, he welcomed the chance to give James a break from getting banged around, something Povtak takes issue.
James isn't the only one with normal bumps and bruises that come with an NBA season. Magic center Dwight Howard takes more of a pounding than anyone in the league, forced to endure endless hard fouls because opponents know he can't make free throws. Howard, by contrast, is likely to play the last two games, giving him 82 for the fifth time in six years.
If James wants some rest, he should reduce his playing time significantly, and sit out the second half. It's just not fair to the paying customers, who are too often forgotten by the me-first players like James.
But see the last passage is when we get to the heart of the matter. Povtak worked for the Orlando Sentinel for years as a sportswriter. From what I gather he's got a great deal more experience than I do in that realm. But even I can grasp something so evident here - bias. 
Say it with me:  Dwight Howard good.  LeBron James bad. Howard is getting screwed out of the MVP because James has the audacity to be so good.  Oh, wait. Povtak won't vote for him now because he sat out games.  Nevermind those six consecutive player of the month awards dating back to last season.  He's sitting out the last few meaningless games of the season. My god, keep him out of the hall of fame too.  Here's an educated guess that James wasn't at the top of Povtak's MVP list to begin.
Trust me when I write that James is one of the most hated players to visit Orlando.  The fans don't like him.  The area's writers don't particularly care for him or the City of Cleveland.  James can walk into most arenas on the road and receive cheers and jeers that are evenly divided. Not in Orlando.  And that's fine.  That's what rivalries in sports are about.  But in Orlando they want both - they want to be able to hate James and expect him to be a good sport about it.  Fascinating.
But what I took exception to is a writer who attended school in Ohio, but has been in Orlando for years making a ridiculous attempt to speak for Cavs fans:
Joe Hardhat, who paid a day's wage three months ago to buy two good seats so his son could see his first Cavs game Sunday, deserves better treatment than this.
Joe Hardhat?  Really?  REALLY?    If you're going to speak for the fans of Cleveland, at least know the mindset and a recent poll (unscientific, of course) that WEWS (Channel 5) conducted suggested that an overwhelming majority (76 percent) of Cavs fans had no problem with James resting.  You work in Orlando, you have no right to speak for fans in Cleveland.
Bottom line: For almost the past two weeks the Cavs have been playing meaningless games. With the exception of James who has sat every game after they beat the Toronto Raptors, each player has gotten some rest.  For the Cavs organization and fans of the team, this is about one thing - winning a championship.  If that means making sure your best player is in the best possible shape, so be it.
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