Jim Brown: Treatment of LeBron Will Force Him to Leave
"I think he's gonna leave, and I think that the treatment that he's getting right now is going to be the motivating factor,'' Brown told a Baltimore radio station last weekend in an interview aired Tuesday.
Brown (pictured right with James prior to a Cavaliers game earlier this season) was attending the annual summer fundraiser hosted by Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, and paying his respects to Art Modell, the owner when Brown played for the Cleveland Browns, who later moved the team to Baltimore. But Brown took time out to tell WVIE-AM radio that he didn't like the backlash James, Cleveland's current favorite son, has felt since the Cavs lost in the second round of the playoffs last week.
"You know, it's so unfortunate that a man that's got so much would feel so bad right now because of what he couldn't do. I think he's being treated unfairly,'' Brown said. "I think the expectations were too high, and I don't think he's gonna stay in Cleveland because of it. I think as one man, there's only so much you can do, and for people to analyze you and to basically say humiliating things about you, when you've given all those things through the years to that franchise, I think it's an atrocity.''
As the most significant pro athlete in Cleveland's sports history, and having played on the city's last pro sports champion in 1964 with the Browns, Brown's opinion on the current Cleveland icon carries more than a little weight. Brown, 74, also is an executive advisor with the Browns and thus, while he lives and operates his Amer-I-Can program in southern California, he has maintained close ties to the city and organization.
In those roles, Brown has had a chance to watch James. "I respect him,'' he told the station. "He's a 25-year-old kid -- and he is a kid, although he's taken responsibility for not really having a father; it's he and his mother -- and he's well-spoken and he's a team player, an unselfish person. So I do not think that they should put everything on the fact that in two games he did not do what was expected of him.''
If James decides to re-sign with the Cavaliers, Brown said, "It would be a fantastic thing. But if everything is depending on winning a championship when people think he should, that's not right, because it doesn't happen that way. The championship is special; there's a lot of circumstances that's involved. It's a team game, and we do not know the elements that are involved in winning a championship.
"So if you believe in a human being, stick with them when they're up and stick with them with they're down.''