Saturday, August 23, 2014

Give Me Your Money


Has anybody heard of Gofundme.com? It’s described as the #1 do-it-yourself fund-raising website. I first learned about it last summer when a good friend was killed. The community raised thousands for his family. These days I’m seeing the program being applied to pretty minor money-raising efforts. I’m not sure this is the intended purpose of Gofundme.com.

Last week on Facebook I read two stories where Godundme.com had been applied. Both of the following instances were self-promoted and requested that people make donations through the website on their behalf. Case study 1) a woman posted a story about her twenty-something daughter’s desire to take a trip to Australia, and from that this woman wanted people to give her money to fund the expedition.

Case study 2) A family suffered the unthinkable tragedy of having to replace a leaky roof in their home. The shameless post, offensively riddled with grammatical miscues and elementary misspellings, detailed how this tragedy was tearing the family apart, and could people send money to cover the repair work. Shaking the tin can is one thing, but this is ridiculous. And if you're going to go public can you please run a grammar and spelling check? Can you take five minutes of extra effort before pleading for a piece of my pay check?

And here’s the kicker: people are contributing to this blatant shakedown. Who would ever log onto the Internet, scroll through the animal abuse drives and cancer fundraisers etc., and dump hard-earned dollars into this insanity? Isn't everyone too busy planning the perfect ALS Bucket Video? The power of Facebook never ceases to surprise me.

Seeing the cash total on these two crap case studies tick higher and higher left me pining for the good old days of the bullied bus monitor. Remember that one-woman pity parade? Here’s a refresher. She was the elderly bus monitor who was called fat by some kid in middle school and the whole thing got caught on camera. In response she went on every talk show in the country to sing the blues and nationally unleash her list of potential punishments for this twelve-year-old child. And we rewarded her shameless self-promotion by raising $400,000 on her behalf. Let the homeless animals starve and the people dying of diabetes tough it out, I’m pledging my cash to some woman who was called a not-nice name.

I get it. People don’t have money. The economy’s in the crapper. George W. Bush ruined the US of A (and by extension the world) in less time than it took Jerry Seinfeld to finish his primetime run. But come on. Your adult daughter wants to go to Australia? You need a new roof? Where's your pride?

I see it with kids too. Every time I go to Wal-Mart, I have to dodge a swarm of Boy Scouts or Brownies or Little Leaguers at the exit doors. They build a pubescent wall between you and the parking lot and demand money. They don’t wash cars or bake cookies or rake lawns. They just want you to hand the cash over and be on your way. And if you cold-shoulder the kids, the parents who stand behind them scowl at you as you slither cheaply to your car.

Give me your money!

Brian Huba
8.23.14





Sunday, August 17, 2014

The remake is never better than the original


My first thought when I read of Robin Williams’ suicide was something along the lines of “screw you, Williams.” I jumped on my soapbox and screamed about a world-famous movie star selfishly taking his own life. With all apologies to Dr. Drew, I don’t see suicide/depression as a disease. I see breast cancer and diabetes as diseases. So don’t tell me about tying a belt to a closet door and taking a seat. And there I go again, back on that soapbox.

Suicide is statistically an American condition. Look it up. Movie stars don’t hang themselves across the pond. Calling it a disease and/or comparing it to cardiac sickness, as Dr. Drew did this week, kind of, sort of justifies it. There’s no comparison and Williams’ wife knows that, hence the Williams family floating that (I believe) bogus angle about “the early stages of Parkinson’s.” The whole world is suffering the early stages of something. I think Williams did what he did for other reasons.

Let’s begin at the beginning. Robin Williams was on a rocket ride to the top of Hollywood, and why not? His talent and work ethic were unparalleled. He was a comedic genius. He was a kamikaze of hilarious one-liners and whacky voices. He went from playing a TV alien to a drag-queen nanny to a cartoon genie. He was pure drama in GOOD WILL HUNTING. Everybody who’s ever worked with Williams has talked about his super talent and huge heart. Robin Williams was one of the biggest movie stars in the world and beloved by generations of Americans. Then one day he woke up and he was gray-haired and 63. He'd officially entered the Fat Elvis part of his career. He couldn't give the gas from the glory days and he knew it. Nothing's sadder than Fat Elvis.

After a dramatic heart surgery to replace his aortic valve he made his long-awaited return to TV, starring in CBS’s THE CRAZY ONES. The critics raved Williams’ performance but the show was cancelled after one season. Americans didn’t care about this version of whacky Robin. It was a blow Williams publically described as “devastating.” Maybe not devastating to you and me, but a gut shot when you were once starring in movies that made 300 million. The best thing he had coming in his career was a retread of MRS. DOUBTFIRE, the film he made over twenty years ago, a lifetime ago.

To be as mega-big as Robin Williams you need to be a world-class talent AND be wired a bit differently than the guy who works the bakery down the block. Watching Williams being interviewed was exhausting. If you don’t think he was on “something” when he reeled off 88 one-liners in five minutes on LARRY KING LIVE, I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. When you rise to that sized fame, there’s only one way to go. If Williams wasn’t the funniest, zaniest guy in every room ALL THE TIME, what was he?

In the end Williams was the same as that guy you went to high school with. You know the guy. He was the king back then. Then he wakes up one day and he’s 35. He looks in the mirror and realizes he has 80 tattoos and 60 bucks in his bank account. Then he ties a belt to a closet door and takes a seat. Some guys live for the party, need the party, thrive in the party, and when the party ends, because the party always ends, the world goes black. Bet the guy who works the bakery down the block never goes down like that.

Williams’ party was a big-screen blowout bash that lasted forty years, and Robin was the center of the show. And that’s the only Robin we wanted. THE CRAZY ONES was great, but we didn’t care. We wanted zany, crazy Robin, circa 1998 Robin. You could film fifty DOUBTFIRE sequels and every fan in the country will leave the theatre saying, “the remake is never better than the original.” That’s where Williams was in his life last Monday. He was 63. He had a cardiac scar on his chest. And the funny voices weren’t as funny as they were before. The party was over.

In this life you either evolve or die. It’s imperative to the human condition to believe that the best is yet to come. But Williams made it to the mountaintop already. You can’t get higher in this life than he got. And his final act had little to do with a brain disease. It was a career move. Suicide was his last headline-grabbing act. Zing-bing-bot, we’re talking Robin Williams again.

There’s nothing more cliché than the depressed comic who pulls a do-it-yourself job. And I’m sad because Williams deserved better than a clichéd finish. Don’t believe me? Watch DEAD POET’S SOCIETY. He deserved better. So here’s another cliché: It’s better to burn out than fade away. And Mr. Williams has been fading away since he danced with a vacuum dressed in drag, because the remake is never better than the original.

"I'm afraid if I ever grow up, I won't be able to make a living" --Robin Williams

Read More: http://pagesix.com/2014/08/17/robin-williams-sent-cancer-patient-video-message-of-hope/?_ga=1.266720782.1478628412.1407509997

Brian Huba
8.17.14


Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Summer of Pizza


My whole life I’ve loved pizza. The first great pizza memory I have is eating a cheese pie at Papa Gino’s in Glens Falls. My father used to work short-term jobs at the Finch Pine paper place up there. My mother and I would drive north to meet him. We’d stay at the Howard Johnson’s Hotel on exit 19, my all-time favorite hotel. And one time we did Papa Gino’s on a Saturday night. All these years later, I remember eating piece after piece after piece and never filling up. Papa Gino’s and HoJo’s are long gone now.

There used to be a Chuck E. Cheese in Albany. I think it was located somewhere around the old Northway Mall. That was the setting of my second great pizza pie. There was a darkened dining room with long tables, and every so often the Chuck E. Cheese characters would rise out of the floor up front and give a thirty-second sing-song performance. I remember the pit of colored balls and the great pizza I had at some kid’s birthday party. It was perfect pizza. It tasted as good as pizza looks in the movies and TV commercials. And that's rare. That Chuck E. Cheese is long gone too.

The third great pizza of my life was homemade by my dad in November 1990 when the Giants lost 7-3 to the 49ers on Monday Night Football. I came home from school and my dad said he was taking the night off work. I saw the flour, the plastic bag of pizza dough rising, and the cutting board on the counter. And I knew. The Giants didn’t win that night but my dad’s pie was first rate. Then the G-Men got the last laugh, knocking the Niners out of the NFC playoffs that year and winning SB25. I like to think my father’s cheesy pizza had something to do with that.

This summer I decided it was time to create a new batch of pizza memories. I wanted to finally figure out what the best pizza place in the Capital Region really was. Who better than yours truly to preside over such a serious matter? After all I’ve loved pizza since Papa Gino’s in Glens Falls. And nothing says good pizza like, um, Papa Gino’s. Yes, this would be the Summer of Pizza.

While King of Queens reruns played on TV Land we plotted out our course. Rule one: Nothing in Clifton Park. Every Thursday night during the school year we order out to the CP shops, so we know them well. Cusato’s is our top spot, and like the song says, “See you in September.” This summer project would be on the road. So gas the car and let’s go.

We began the quest for #1 with a drive out to good old Averill Park, the place of my meager beginnings. First on tap: a night at Kay’s Pizza on Burden Lake. We ordered one cheese pie and one veggie pie plus a pitcher of soda. It isn’t a real pizza place unless they sell soda in pitchers. It was amazing. And that wasn’t a surprise. It was voted by Times Union readers as the area’s best. We’ll see about that.

Next on the agenda: a long sip from the Fountain in Albany. (That's a pun, people, so laugh.) We sat at the Gov. Pataki table on the raised floor in front. Remember when Pataki had surgery way back and he couldn’t eat pizza for a while after? He famously restarted his pizza eating at the Fountain and it was a big news story. So that’s where we sat. I’ve had a spotty history with the Fountain. But the food was A+ on this night, which was nice, because the service left something to be desired. (Note to owners: a waitress who actually speaks with the diners is a nice touch.) Maybe the secret to having a magnificent pie at the Fountain is to sit at the Pataki table.

When family gets together it’s time to hit the Purple Pub in Watervliet. Tradition is important. Plus, umm-umm good. What’s not to like at the PP? It’s always good. I ate seven slices of cheese and almost a full pitcher of diet coke that night. Here’s the thing with the Purple Pub though . . . you will have a pizza hangover in the morning and the mere idea of ever consuming sauce and cheese again will make you dry heave for three days straight. Maybe that’s the secret: The Purple Pub is like a great lover, it ruins you for anybody else. But four days later, I rose above my queasy tummy and went back to it. After all, this was the Summer of Pizza. I would not be stopped on July 15th.

LaBella’s Pizza in Wynantskill. I was a HS senior when this Main Ave joint opened its doors, so I like to think I have a special connection with the people there. I threw the front doors open and strode in like the King of the World. "I've returned after years gone!" I announced. And the counter crew acted like they didn't even care. Such characters down there at LaBella's. With that said, I think LaBella’s is one of the region’s best kept secrets. We did a large chees, two house salads, and soda. It was a perfect Tuesday night on the town. Total tab: 24.00 plus tip.

We decided to give the pickup scene a shout out so we did the Deli & Brew by HVCC. They advertise the best cheese and freshest toppings and claim they can cook a pie in seven minutes. Eight minutes later we were eating like royalty. Plus they have a great mac salad. Light on the mayo; tuna mixed in. Best fourteen bucks I spent all summer.

So here we are, halfway through August and summer’s coming to a close. We're running out of time to hit all the region’s top pizzerias. If the Cap Reg has one thing going for it: a plethora of great places to buy a slice. All my life I wanted to do Little Anthony’s in Albany. This would finally be the year I'd do it. But LA’s closes at 9:30PM and it was already 8:45PM when the garage door closed and we pulled out of the driveway. To the iphone for a last second audible. We ended up at DeFazio’s in Downtown Troy. It’s in the gut of the ghetto and the dining room is no bigger than a cardboard box. Then the food came out and I forgot all about Little Anthony’s.

There’s one more pizza place on the summer schedule: Publik House in Malta. We’ll be meeting a lifelong friend there this Thursday night. There’s no better way to eat pizza than with a friend like him. We’ll talk all things and laugh and have some good food. These are the glory days. And when the bill’s paid and the goodbye hugs given, another pizza memory will be made.

So which Capital Region joint delivered the best slice of pie? Guess you’ll have to hit the road and have your own Summer of Pizza. But I’ll tell you this much, we only went to one pizza place twice this summer. But I can’t tell you which place that was, o-KAY. And if you go to the same pizza place more than once in one summer--especially when it's the Summer of Pizza--that must mean something, inKAY’S you didn’t catch my drift.

The Summer of Pizza.

Brian Huba
8.10.14

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Glory Days


I hate when people say they wish they could wake up and be rich. I wanna be rich! All my problems would be solved! I'd be so happy! It would be Heaven! To me, wealth is exactly like Heaven. People think they want it but if they actually stopped and thought about all it would entail, they wouldn’t want it anymore.

This weekend we painted the living room. It was a long, hard job and it turned the household upside down. We chose a flint blue and went to work. We taped and plastered and sanded and painted. We decided we didn’t want to wall-mount the TV anymore, so we purchased an entertainment stand and spent four hours on assembly. After the second coat went on and Springsteen pined for those long ago Glory Days from the I-Pod playlist, we decided the floor needed to be cleaned and the light switch covers needed to be updated. It was the job that went on and on and on. Price tag: $500.00.

If I was rich, the price tag wouldn’t be a problem and I could’ve hired two guys in Wrangler Jeans to do the dirty work while I played golf or lay by the pool. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Sounds kind of like--I don’t know--Heaven. But what kind of life is that really? Who cares about rounds of golf or lying by the pool? That’s not genuine happiness. It's not reality. Life is lived in the details and the sweat. Don’t you wanna leave something tangible on this planet? Of course you do. The last part of the living room job was me touching up the dinged bookcase with wood marker. Fake wood marker is real life. We earned that new room, one excruciating hour after the next.

Last night, when the living room was finished, we sat on the couch and soaked it in. It was my happiest moment this whole summer. I know every bump and angle and rough spot on those painted walls. We rebirthed that room and that’s how come we can enjoy it now. It's our baby. And because it cost us so much money and bruised knees and badly-calloused fingers, I will love it that much more. The pain is the love. There could be nothing like that when you’re rich, and life’s little problems aren’t problems, could there?

I’m not advocating poverty and I’m not an idiot. People need money in this society, I get that. But money isn’t the key to happiness. You think--oh, I don’t know--the Kardashians are happy because they have millions and can travel the world and wear the best clothes and jewelry and drive the best cars? Pop culture glorification aside, the Kardashians are the ten suckiest people on the planet. I argue they’d be happier/better/kinder if it wasn’t for the money and this phony dose of fame. Having lots of money doesn’t matter in the long run, does it? When you’re rich, the whole world’s a dollar store in a strip mall. How exciting!

Time is the most important thing in life, nothing matters more. It’s the time I want to hold on to and take care of. You can’t get time back when it’s gone. If Bill Gates offered me a hundred-billion-zillion dollars for one day of my life, I'd say no dice, sure I would. It's time, you fools, time!

The best part of our new living room is the time we spent together building it: sweating and thirsty and covered in paint. That’s what matters. That’s why that little room is my new favorite place in the world. Ask anyone who’s been hurt or widowed or whatever. Ask them what’s important. Bet you ten bucks they won’t say money. Betcha ten more they'd hand over their life savings for one more day with that lost loved one.

The other day a lifelong friend texted me and we chatted about being kids way back when. He wrote, "the good old days." I told him those days were good, no doubt, but these days right now are "the good old days," the best days, the glory days.

Brian Huba
8.3.14




Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's OK to say No


So here we are, in the belly of the beast. It’s wedding season full swing, which means the rest of us have to refinance our mortgage to fund your cocktail of pre-nuptial activities. This thought snapped into focus for me as I watched a caravan of Escalade Limos on the northbound side of 87 last night, no doubt ‘Toga bound. Experience has told me limo rides like that will mean two things 1) the night that follows will fall short of the hype and 2) the Citizen’s Bank card is about to take a whipping. If my days of Abercrombie modeling taught me one thing, it’s this: It’s OK to say no.

Last week I was at a barbecue. One of my colleagues was detailing the three-ring circus he’d been bullied into because his high school friend was getting married. Keep in mind this guy’s got two kids, the usual medley of monthly bills, and a good job but not a job that pays Kobe dollars. Not only is he on the hook for a bachelor party in Montreal (Montreal, are you joking me?) at three hundred a head to start, but a cross-country plane trip to Cali, where he’s expected to spend two nights in a hotel to get this guy hitched. Oh yeah, did I mention he’s in the wedding, so he has to rent a tux for two hundred bucks. His wife cannot come to the wedding, because they have two kids and can’t afford to sink the whole family into this insanity. Oh yeah, he has to take two days off from work to make the trip and buy this guy a gift. Guesstimated price tag: three grand.

Truth: He doesn’t even want to go. Who would want to suffer through that at 34 yrs. old? He’s glad his friend is getting married, and wishes him well, but the whole affair is bringing nothing but stress to the household. He doesn’t care about Montreal, can’t afford the money, his wife doesn’t want him traveling to Cali without her and the kids, and the days he has to take off work are the third and fourth day of the school year. He’s a teacher. Doing that is taboo in the teacher rack. But he feels he has to. He feels obligated. He feels guilty. I respect that stance, sure I do, but a young family man shouldn’t have to shoulder this load. It’s too much. I told him it’s OK to say no.

Same barbecue different colleague. She’s planning her own wedding for next year. Money’s tight, she’s trying to put a toehold into her own life and house and soon-to-be family. But before any of that happens, she has to flush away hundreds and hundreds this month on multiple bachelorette parties because ‘Toga-bound limos need to be paid for and drinks need to be bought and a night of saying “woo!” has to be floated. She’s miserable. She doesn’t want to do it. She doesn’t have the money. But she feels like she has to sign on because that’s what friends do. It’s OK to say no.

I’m tired of that line: That’s what friends have to do. At this age (thirty something), you’re chief obligation is to your family and that’s it. Besides, what kind of friend let’s his/her wedding guests go through this because it’s their day and it’s about them? We want you to be hitched and happy, but we have lives too. I don’t have eighteen hundred bucks to drop on your Caroline Street bachelor party and Franklin Plaza Wedding. Here I will buttress what I’m saying by admitting that the same etiquette does not apply to people getting married in their twenties. Everyone at that age is self-absorbed and should be and none of your friends should have mortgages and families at that point, so order the limos and bring on the strippers.

Perhaps my attitude on this subject would be softer if the ordeal had done a drop of evolution in my lifetime. Bachelor parties with limos and strippers. Limos are the lamest things on earth and the stripping business hasn’t progressed since the caveman age. Girl. Pole. Sweaty dollar bills. Wake me up when this is over. Wait a second . . . you actually want strippers at your BP? You like strippers? Who’s your favorite JERSEY SHORE Character? Ronnie or the Situation?

There was a time when I prescribed to this whole notion of going to ‘Toga and dropping big bucks on some dude’s bachelor party. But that time is no more. First off, ‘Toga might be the most over-hyped place on the planet. And second, bachelor parties in the made-for-the-movies sense are not fun. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good jubilee and appreciate the company of great friends. But getting older means the crowd gets smaller, the conversations get more meaningful, and renting limos is something dorks do. It’s OK to say no.

This year we have one wedding on the docket, and to this man’s credit, he’s gone low key and kept it mature. He’s asked us to do the following: show up, bring a gift, and have a nice time. And right now I can’t wait to do all three. I wouldn’t miss this one for the world. And when a guy does it right and treats his guests well, it’s NOT OK to say no.

Brian Huba
7.27.14

Sunday, July 20, 2014

On Second Thought


. . . Look no further than the Thompson Hill Casino Project. Here you have the Hard Rock Franchise trying to anchor a multi-million dollar construction that would turn East Greenbush into a national destination spot, but a handful of home owners have tied themselves to a tree, and this Hard Rock bid is going bye-bye, bet your bottom dollar.

On second thought, maybe the group’s got it right. I’m beginning to think the Capital Region would be a bad fit for a casino. Think of the epic traffic snafus that sized complex would create. Presently, if you live in Clifton Park and have a 3PM appointment in Albany on any given Wednesday, you better bring a good book and/or comfy pillow because you’re not getting home till 8PM. You can try back channeling via Route 9, but that’s also become a parking lot too. It’s the same blood-boiling scene on Alt 7 out of Troy. There’s ALWAYS an accident. It’s ALWAYS standstill traffic. There’s no escape.

It’s because there’s too much stuff here already (Global Foundries, that Nano Science place, all the two-year and four-year colleges, Saratoga Track Season, the State Offices, Jack’s Burgers in Albia). We’re already trying to shove a basketball-sized plan into a softball-sized setting. We're putting houses on top of houses. To build a casino here would bring that Northway nightmare I just described to every highway system in the area, all day every day. Unless the State is planning on adding fourth lanes to the Northway, Alt 7, and 1-90, that’s what I see happening. I think you have to put a casino in the middle of nowhere.

Are Capital Region residents really casino people? I don’t think so. Casinos demand a sad, depressing kind of individual. It’s not sharp suits and high-risk poker and glitzy and glamorous like in THE HANGOVER. That’s Vegas. That’s not casinos everywhere else. Try walking through the gaming room at Mohegan Sun or Turning Stone. It’s a galaxy of extras from the TV show ROSEANNE. And nothing is scarier than watching that scoop-brained lady pull slots. If you build it they will come. I’m not even going to write about the cesspool of degenerates a joint like that would bring, or the prostitution, or the addicts. We don’t need it.

The state may need the added income of a casino system, but the Capital Region doesn’t. This area has stayed above the fold through the Great Recession and the Double Dip Recession. We’re the economic little engine that could. But maybe we’re just not on Boston’s level or Philly’s level and that’s OK. The roadway construction is already round the clock. If we wanted to go next level, we’d have to rebuild every rung of the Cap Region ladder. It would be construction everywhere you looked for the rest of your life.

Last night we drove home on the Northway at 11PM, and all six lanes were on fire. That’s what happens when track season hits. People from every part of the country come here to wear goofy hats and play the ponies. And when that whole scene gets dull, we have our casino up there. So stop by and see the ladies pull slots. And leave it at that and nothing more.

. . . America is the greatest country in the history of the world, and it’s fantastic that the Group still has serious weight. Suburban mom with her arms crossed and a look of disdain on her face can stop a speeding bullet on the spot. On second thought I'm all right with that.

Read More: http://wnyt.com/article/stories/s3505654.shtml

Brian Huba
7.20.14

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Two LeBrons


On Friday, LeBron James announced he’s ditching South Beach for Cleveland, back to the fans that burned his jersey in the streets. Again, he’ll play for an owner who bashed him in writing for the public. Forgiveness may be divine, and you can always go home, but LeBron James is the most dominating force I’ve ever seen play pro ball, with the mindset of a melting ice cream cone. This was about reversing the number-one blunder on his record AKA the decision, not about winning rings. He wants people to like him. Jordan didn’t give a damn about his public record. It was about basketball first and PR second. And you can guarantee MJ would never fly back to an owner who trashed him on ESPN. LeBron’s softer than Jordan and Kobe, but he’s a better player than both. He’s a Yankees fan AND a Cowboys fan but isn’t from New York or Dallas. See what I mean?

James stumbled publically when announcing on ESPN he was “taking his talents” to South Beach in 2010. He’s not a bad guy. He’s just has the wrong people around him, and he's easy to manipulate, I guarantee it. For the record, “I’m taking my talents . . .” was originally done by Kobe when he was in high school. So LeBron filtered his most famous line from circa-17 Kobe. But he’d crush Kobe in one-on-one. The duplicity is utterly frustrating.

So who's LeBron James? Let me put it this way: James is best friends with Johnny Manziel, the NFL’s answer to Mike ‘the Situation’ Sorrentino. And I get the impression 5’10” Johnny’s the alpha. When leaving Cleveland, LeBron followed Wade to Miami. While playing with the Heat he conducted postgame interviews alongside Dwayne Wade, like they were equals. Wade missed half the season in 2013-14 and was a non-factor in every playoff game. They’re not equals. When Michael addressed the media, nobody in the Bulls organization was allowed to breathe loudly. But LeBron and Wade are best friends, so they share the spotlight, and no one needs to be the star. Kobe needed to be the star so bad he had Shaq run out on rails. Kobe addresses the media in six-foot mink coats; LeBron wears fake glasses and Justin Beiber t-shirts. That’s the difference. ESPN’s treating LeBron’s homecoming like Flight 370. He’s the biggest star on the planet. But you’d never know it and I don't mean that in a good way. There's such a lightweight energy about him off the court.

At seventeen, LeBron was already the world’s best player, not even close. But instead of filling the role of the “Chosen One” and blazing an original trail, he decides to keep Jordan’s #23 into the pros. Then a few years later, announces no NBA player should ever wear #23 again. Why even raise that issue when you’re the most visible culprit? Classic LeBron. This past season in Miami he started publically working in references about “his guys” and “leading the team” and “It’s up to me” to reverse the PR perception that he can't lead. Sorry, not buying that from a guy who went back to Cleveland so people up there would stop booing him. What does LeBron James owe Dan Gilbert or that city? He was holding all the cards here but decided to people-please. There are a handful of NBA ballers all time who are defined by rings won, and LeBron's one of them. This was a demotion. This was a backwards move. This was weak.

Bird’s Boston, Kobe’s LA, Jordan’s Chicago. How are we supposed to archive James’ successes on South Beach? LeBron choosing to reassume his relationship with Northern Ohio is the same as Timberlake getting back into NSYNC. Why did LeBron even leave in 2010? What was the point? A week ago, Pat Riley--in his role as Heat Prez--met the media and talked “staying the course” and mental toughness in hard times. “Trend this,” he said, “I’m pissed.” He was calling LeBron out, just like Dan Gilbert did. Only difference is Riley treated LeBron like a son; Miami treated him like royalty, but he had to "Go Home," and ESPN's acting like he's Martin Luther King Jr. for doing it.

Going to Miami in the first place was a mistake. LeBron’s South Beach dynasty didn’t inspire anyone except fourteen-year-old boys. People grew tired of the Heat. Miami’s a fine town. I’ve been. We ate Cuban food. But actually live in Miami when I’m globally the best in my profession? Miami isn’t even the most relevant city in its own state. It’s second, to Disney World, a place of make believe. If he ends up winning in Cleveland, that will be wonderfully regional, but we’re talking about a once-in-history skill set with James.

Truth is he never needed Miami or Dwayne Wade or Pat Riley. Anywhere LeBron went in 2010 would’ve immediately been the best team because they had LeBron. The Carmelos and Durants and Garnetts would’ve come. FIELD OF DREAMS inspires us because Costner builds it, not the other way around. What has LeBron built? New York was always the answer. There’s nothing better or more important than winning in NYC, and LeBron dodged it . . . twice. He chose Hidden Pond, when he could’ve had the East River, Hudson River, and Atlantic Ocean. Jordan’s six in Chicago and Kobe’s five in Hollywood are historical, but being the first to hang dynasty banners in MSG, that would’ve been something. Instead he’s moving back into his mother’s house to do selfies with Johnny Football.

Read More:http://www.forbes.com/sites/tommytomlinson/2014/07/11/17-thoughts-about-lebron-going-home-to-cleveland/

Brian Huba
7.14.14