Hi LeBron

Hi LeBron,

It’s me, Scott. Scott Raab. I think you might be aware of the book I wrote after The Decision. I dropped off one copy in late 2011 at your place in Bath and another at the LRMR office. I don’t know if you ever got them.

My bad on the book title. My agent hated it. My boss at Esquire magazine didn’t like it, either. But I grew up in Cleveland and I love the city and the teams, and like a lot of Cleveland fans, I was outraged about how you left the Cavs. Whatever your thinking was, and no matter how much money you raised for the Boys & Girls clubs, you personally disrespected the city and the fans who loved and supported you. So when it came to the title of the book, I spoke from my heart.

That’s the same way I read your Sports Illustrated essay — with my heart. What you said and how you said it lifted a lot of hearts, including mine. Your return is the best thing by far to happen to Cleveland — to the city, not just to one of its teams — in 50 years. I’m grateful to you. You made good in Miami and you came back home — as a player, as a dad, as a husband, as a son of Akron — to try to win a championship for all of us. I can’t think of a sweeter story.

So naturally I’m in town, to work on another book. I’m hoping it ends with me and my son at a parade here. (That’s the book I set out to write in 2009, during your last run as a Cavalier.) And if it doesn’t turn out that way, well, that’s fine, too. The story still feels noble, heroic. Mythic, really. Biblical, even.

Anyway, I wanted to give you a holler about this new book project. You’re in the middle of the Media Day scrum; I’m just down the road with a few boxes of donuts for my media pals. I did apply for a press credential, but the Cavs said no. No specific reason. I guess maybe they confused me with James Blair.

I also want to wish you and yours good luck and good health — it’s Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, 5775 — and, of course, a season that brings us to the Promised Land at last.



P.S. Feel free to stop by for a couple of donuts. You look thin.

Scribbles in my tear-stained notebook…

1. No question that Jimmy Haslam was right to say that he’d decide after this season about his future head coach and GM. Simply by dumping Mike Holmgren, he put Pat Shurmur on short notice. And by bringing in Joe Banner to replace Holmgren, Haslam effectively shit-canned Heckert, who didn’t work well with Banner when both were with the Eagles. Haslam’s actions said all that needed saying at the time he bought the team.

2. Game by game, Shurmur has pissed away any chance he ever had to hold on to his clipboard. You can bet that the search for his replacement is well underway.

3. As Shurmur’s game management and decision-making continue to cost the team a chance to win, any argument for keeping him through season’s end collapses. Judging a coach’s performance always comes down to two general questions: Does he get the most out of the talent on the roster? Does he put his players in a position to win? If you feel that the Browns’ 2-7 record truly reflects the level of talent on the roster, or that coaching is less to blame for that record than the players, Shurmur’s your guy.

4. I strongly doubt that a fellow like Jimmy Haslam buys the argument that losing games this season is a plus because it means higher draft picks. How any Browns fan can study the post-1999 history of the franchise and still say that losing leads to winning is way, way beyond me. Particularly in the NFL, winning teams find and develop talent no matter where they pick. Losing teams don’t.

5. The best reason to fire Shurmur NOW — the only reason necessary — is to make clear to the players and the fans that ownership won’t tolerate ongoing incompetence. Incompetence is without question the current hallmark of the franchise, and Pat Shurmur fully and publicly embodies it game after game after game.

6. Not that it matters, but Heckert surely has provided more evidence of his competence than Shurmur. Still, that bar is so low as to be meaningless, as is measuring Heckert’s draft performance against previous Browns’ GMs. In any pro sport, a superior GM is capable of articulating and enacting a specific vision of the path to winning championships, and building and guiding scouting and coaching staffs good enough to make it happen. I see very little evidence that Tom Heckert is that guy.