LeBron James and the Remaking of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Not your typical sports biography . . . Take[s] the reader behind the scenes in the Cavaliers' front office, revealing how championship contenders are built Library Journal
Two award-winning sports journalists give an in-depth look at how a team and a city were rebuilt around superstar LeBron James.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers drew the top pick in the 2003 NBA draft, an entire city buzzed with excitement. After all, how often does a LeBron James come along? Especially for Cleveland, a midmarket Rust Belt city without a sports championship in forty years. Especially for the Cavaliers, a long-struggling team that had never reached the NBA finals.
Soon, everyone had something riding on LeBron—billionaire team owner Dan Gilbert looking for a return on his investment . . . teammates eager for a championship ring . . . the league in need of the next Michael Jordan to promote . . . the shoe company with its multimillion-dollar endorsement deal . . . even popcorn vendors in the stands of Quicken Loans Arena and servers waiting restaurant tables in a downtown that now booms every game night.
Terry Pluto and Brian Windhorst tell the converging stories of a struggling franchise that had to get worse in order to get better and a highly touted teenage phenom, the local kid who became their future.
This book will fascinate any basketball fan who wants the inside story of how LeBron James became the young superstar shouldering the weight of an entire NBA franchise. Chock full of facts and analysis.
Illustrations: 38 color photographs
Offers about as close to an insider's perspective of events as possible. Pluto, a sports columnist for the Plain Dealer and the author of more than 20 sports books, brings decades of experience to the project . . . Windhorst has been covering this story since well before Lebron appeared on the national media radar, gaining access, and it shows. Free Times
Anybody with access to the NBA's highlight reel knows how well James plays. But fans know less about how teams are constructed, dismantled, and reconstructed, and how challenging it must be to build a group comprised of stars, role players, has-beens, deluded rookies, born-agains, and self-absorbed wackos into a team that wins a lot more often than it loses. “The Franchise” gives us a look at that process. National Public Radio
A fast break the moment that you open the book. Pluto and Windhorst double team James, as only they can and give you accurate, detailed information that only adds to the legacy of the young Superstar. The final chapter of this young man's career hasn't been written but the journey up to now has sure been excited and we are all “Witnesses”. Blackathlete.net
Flows quickly and smoothly with facts, analysis and interesting insight into the life of “King James”. It is an intriguing and somewhat nostalgic recap for those who have followed the Cavs loyally. New fans will enjoy this book as a celebration of the life of a super-achieving athlete playing in an underdog city. Cleveland Magazine
Highly recommended to sports fans and analysts who want a wide ranging look at today's NBA. Midwest Book Review
Windhorst and Pluto chronicle the life and times of a superstar in the making. They're particularly insightful in describing the big-money shoe endorsement squabble between Reebok, Nike, and Adidassummarized neatly in an exchange between Adidas' Sonny Vaccaro and Nike's Phil Knight at one of James' games . . . An informative study of how one individual has changed the marketing landscape for professional athletesand resurrected a Midwestern city that was dying for a star. bleacherreport.com
Not your typical sports biography . . . Take[s] the reader behind the scenes in the Cavaliers' front office, revealing how championship contenders are built (often, as in Cleveland's case, by trading or selling as many players from a mediocre team as possible to save enough money and become bad enough to secure a number-one draft choice to land a player who might become the team's savior). Library Journal
About Terry Pluto
Terry Pluto is a sports columnist for the Plain Dealer. He has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, is an eight-time winner of the Ohio Sports Writer of the Year award, and has received more than 50 state and local writing awards. In 2005 he was inducted into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame. He is the author of 23 books, including The Curse of Rocky Colavito (selected by the New York Times as one of the five notable sports books of 1989), and Loose Balls, which was ranked number 13 on Sports Illustrated's list of the top 100 sports books of all time. He lives with his wife, Roberta, in Akron, Ohio.
Brian Windhorst covered the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Akron Beacon Journal until he moved to the sports department at the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2008. He has been an NBA correspondent for ESPN.com and ESPN First Take since 2006. His writing has been honored by the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Associated Press. He earned a degree in journalism from Kent State University in 2000. He lives in Brook Park, Ohio, and Jupiter, Florida. More About Terry Pluto
About Brian Windhorst
Brian Windhorst covers the NBA for ESPN.com. His writing has been honored by the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Associated Press. He has also written for The Plain Dealer and The Beacon Journal. He earned a degree in journalism from Kent State University in 2000. He lives in Brook Park, Ohio, and Jupiter, Florida. More About Brian Windhorst