Back to Main MenuCelebrationsFraud PreventionManage Your AdPlace an AdScott Shaw / The Plain DealerWhen Jim Brown left the Browns for a movie career, there could be no doubt that he had delivered brilliantly with his career in the NFL with a championship in Cleveland. LeBron James has not matched that standard and that would be a black mark on James’ record if he leaves in free agency, says Bill Livingston.CLEVELAND, Ohio There are good ways to leave a team and city. But none of them pertain to LeBron James, a free agent as of one minute past midnight Thursday.Take Jim Brown, who retired early and stayed retired. He traded Cleveland for Hollywood, but he had proven he was the best there ever was by the time of his leave taking. He won his third Most Valuable Player Air Jordan 13s award the season before he retired to make movies. Moreover, the Browns had been champions in 1964 and had lost the championship game in 1965. The worlds he still had to conquer were not in the NFL.”What’s up, legend?” James said to Brown before a game at The Q last season.James has been making his own legend with two straight regular season MVP awards. But he began unmaking it in the recent playoffs.No Cleveland team has won a Air Jordan 1 championship since the Browns in 1964, although the Cavaliers were supposed to last season. But James quit in the fifth game of a six game loss to the Celtics. His teammates followed his lead. Until that game, no one had ever seen “LeBron Shames,” which became a bitter nickname applied to him.When the Indians in 2000 missed the playoffs by a single game, Manny Ramirez hit a mammoth home run on a rising line in his last at bat at Jacobs Field as a member of the team. He left for more money as a free agent in the off season and became the World Series MVP when he helped Boston break its championship famine. He hit that last home run as a forget me not, a present to the fans.But because he took the money and ran, the fans here never forgot nor forgave him.James can make as much as $30 million more Air Jordan Fusion 4 by signing with the Cavs than with his suitors. The entire dynamic of retention is different than with Ramirez. So is the dynamic for defection. Or perhaps, given that it involves the Nike KD 7 “King,” the word should be “abdication.”After scoring 15 points on 14 shots in Game 5 against Boston, James, in the most tone deaf news conference since Carmen Policy and those low impact plastic bottles, said he felt bad for himself. He said he spoils people.How about feeling bad for a franchise that did everything possible, absent hiring royal wipers, to cater to him?By signing a three year extension when it could have been for four, James put Nike LeBron 12 the pedal to the metal on every decision the Cavs made. Now, because they did not win it all, a failure for which he takes big part of the blame, he decides things are simply not up to snuff here?How about the fans who expected at the very least his full effort in a season he himself super sized by leaving all options open after its end?How were they spoiled by his wretched Game 5?The team’s hands are tied by the nice big bow James put on them by not speaking to Tom Izzo and not recruiting potential free agents. If there were not still the reasonable chance he might stay, the circumstances of the would be defection and the resentment of the possible defector’s conduct would have triggered a much more seismic backlash.To leave money on the table, to spurn the hometown franchise that did everything possible to win while others razed their rosters to get the salary cap room to woo him, to exempt himself from responsibility for the mess that would be left behind, to hit a city suffering from the economy when it is down this would be to mock everything he has said about family and loyalty.Even if he does stay, it is far from clear, after Game 5, that he wants to win as much as the Lakers and Celtics did in The Finals. But that is what it should be about winning, and winning when it counts. Not “family portraits,” not in game dancing, not fraternity handshakes, not fake sneaker commercials, not real commercials, not off season movies, not hosting the ESPYs, not hosting “Saturday Night Live,” not appearances on Larry King or Letterman, not speed dialing Terrelle Pryor and John Calipari, not meeting with Warren Buffet, not schmoozing with Jay Z, and not global iconhood.