The Boys are Back in Town
New-Look Cavaliers Tip Off Training Camp on Media Day
Normally, when LeBron James makes his Media Day appearance after an NBA offseason, there’s a burning question – maybe two – waiting for the King. On Monday, James had so many issues to address, he ran down a table of contents and instructed reporters to exhaust each one before he moved on to the next.
Yes, the Cavaliers are coming off their third straight trip to the Finals and yes, they made one of the biggest deals in franchise history over the summer. But after a heated weekend that saw pro athletes and the President of the United States squaring off over National Anthem protests – as well as the Warriors’ non-visit to the White House – Monday afternoon took a political twist.
Without actually calling him by name for most of the presser, LeBron defended his weekend tweets aimed at the embattled POTUS.
”It’s so amazing what sports can do for everyone – no matter the shape or size or race or ethnicity or religion,” said James. “People find players, people find teams, people find colors because of sport, and it makes them so happy and it brings people together like none other. And while I have this platform, I’m not gonna let one individual – no matter the power, no matter the impact he or she should have – ever use sport as a platform to divide us.”
LeBron also addressed another division that took place before Monday’s unofficial start to the season – the one that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics in exchange for new mates, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic.
James, who seemed genuinely perplexed by Irving’s trade request, but wished his former teammate the best of luck in Beantown.
“I tried to give (Irving) everything and as much of the DNA as I could,” shrugged the four-time MVP. “And like I told you guys throughout (last) season, when he was ready to take the keys, I was ready to give them to him. So, the only thing I’m upset about is that he took part of that DNA and blueprint with him up to Boston. Other than that, I wish the kid great health. The kid wanted to do what was best for his career and I give credit to our GM and ownership for granting that for him.”
But Monday’s main event was about more than a tumultuous weekend of tweets and Kyrie’s departure. In fact, it was more a welcome party than an airing of grievances.
Isaiah Thomas – who’ll be rehabbing his injured hip through Camp and who the Wine & Gold expect to have back in the lineup before the end of the calendar year – made his first appearance in the Cavaliers’ new wine uniform. But the much of the media also got their first look at Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Jeff Green, Cedi Osman, Jose Calderon and Ante Zizic.
Rose – who’ll get the lion’s share of minutes at the point while Thomas recovers – made his first public appearance in Independence since signing as a free agent in late July.