If any of you sees Mo Williams in Cleveland or where ever, walk up to him and give him a hug. Or just dap him up if you don’t feel like invading his personal space. Let him know you still care about him, that Cleveland (probably) still cares about him. Even if he thinks LeBron James doesn’t.
Mo poured his heart out to Yahoo! Sports in an article published yesterday, telling them that he considered retirement in the wake of “The Decision” and basically condemning the Cavaliers to the lottery before training camp even starts up next week. Which all of the rest of us writers and bloggers were going to wait a couple of weeks to do.
Props to Mo for not giving us the usual canned responses that every athlete usually gives. Sometimes we forget that these are people with real feelings and issues and not robots who merely run and jump on a field/court for our entertainment. We’ve all referenced the bitter masses of people in Ohio affected by LeBron’s defection, here are the true feelings of one who may have had more right than anyone else to feel betrayed. Well, there’s Dan Gilbert, but that whole thing was too funny to be sad. But I digress.
Some sample quotes from the piece with my thoughts on each:
“That’s how bad it got. I contemplated it. I really sat down and envisioned life after basketball. …I really saw myself not playing. It just didn’t make sense to me. …It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Really? LeBron was a jerk about it, but it makes perfect sense. The Cavaliers kept losing and the object of the game is to win. He thought he stood a better chance at winning in Miami. Maybe you can say that he should have been the person to suffer instead of Cleveland’s fans since his performance didn’t push them over the top, but that’s not the way the business works. LeBron was a free agent. He took his talents to South Beach. That’s that.
“As anyone tied to the Cavs, you want to be in denial. You never want to say, ‘Yeah, OK, he’s gone.’ ”
He didn’t die, Mo. I know he’s dead to many fans, but you’re his boy, you’re supposed to see past that. Again, I know it’s hard but that’s the business.
“You get back here to Cleveland, get around the new coaching staff, start a few workouts, get around the young guys and basically accept the fact that we are not what we once were. We don’t have the No. 23 jersey hanging in the locker before every game now.”
“We’re going to lose. A lot,” Williams did not add.
“You play this game for one reason. You play to win games and win championships. I couldn’t understand why a lot of things were happening to our organization, to a really good basketball team. I couldn’t really understand it. And when you don’t understand things, it can really stress you out.”
You won games but not championships, so the thing had to be dismantled. New coach, new players, new front office staff. I believe they refer to it as “rebuilding.”
“It’s crazy because ever since [James left], everybody I see, they approach me and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to be able to play your game now. You are going to be able to show everybody what you got,’ or ‘you’re going to be able to do this.’ I was happy with my role. We were winning basketball games. I was coming home every night a winner. Who can’t love that? That is what playing a role on a team is all about. …Everybody can’t be the star. I was perfectly comfortable being that piece.”
And this probably signed his ticket out of town. There was a good chance he would be traded anyway, but your team leader can’t be a guy who is happy to take a backseat. The guy making those quotes can’t be in your locker room when you start losing games at a rate unseen since The King came to Cleveland. So look for Williams to be dealt before season’s end.
“…At the end of the day we still have to move forward because the only people who feel sorry for us are the ones who have the Cavs uniform on and whoever is in the stands rooting for the Cavs. That’s it. Everybody else could care less.”
That’s not true, Mo. We care. We all care.
[image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/]