Speaking of giving up…

Posted on: August 28th, 2013 by Ron Kaplan

Finally got around to reading Scott Raab’s poisoned pen letter to a basketball great.

In The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James, Raab — an “expatriate” from Cleveland and hardcore fan of all the local teams thereof — writes an insightful, witty, frequently vulgar story which just goes to prove the folly of plighting one’s trough with a celebrity, whether it’s an athlete, movie star, or musician. It is a brutally frank and sometimes too open account; nothing is off limits for Raab, whether it’s discussing his yiddishkeit (the family name was originally Rabinowitz); his experiences with drugs, alcohol, and weight issues; or his relationship with his family. (Consider yourselves warned. To be honest, I wish I had the cajones to write like that, without worrying what other people would think. Maybe one day…)

As a homegrown basketball deity (born in Akron), “King James” was a beloved figure in Cleveland, who had had a long dry spell when it comes to quality sports. But after opportunity knocked in 2010 in the form of free agency, James wanted to “take my talents,” as he infamously said on an ESPN documentary (and I use that word in the loosest possible sense since they were fawningly in the bag).

How quickly did this commercial come out after James’ announcement?

Which brought on this entertaining response. (Am I the only one who thinks the “delicious pink doughnut” looks orange? And apologies, but the nature of the “beast” is that the video transitions to a new story after the James piece ends, so go ahead and click the “pause key.” Sorry.)


Talk about your spurned lovers. Raab joined the thousands of broken hearted who instantly wished James all sorts of evil, from career-ending injury to all sorts of mean, nasty, ugly things. Unlike regular fans, though, Raab was punished for expressing his displeasure in the form of withheld press credentials which prevented him from doing his job as a writer for Esquire Magazine, to which he has contributed dozens of profiles and articles.

But ultimately, whose fault is it? Why do we think these celebrities care at all about our hopes, thoughts, and happiness? When you get to that point, money isn’t enough; James obviously wanted the jewelry and believed his best chances for that championship ring came elsewhere.

Here’s a video of Raab discussing his work at an event hosted by The Cleveland State University Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing.

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