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LeBron Is Not A Slave. . . And Neither Am I

I'm totally feeling LeBron James' decision to pack up and go to Miami. First, I adore Miami -- the food, the people, the beaches, and the attitude. Miami is like living in the Caribbean but without the passport and currency hassle.

Reading the negative responses from the Cleveland Cavaliers' owner and from many people in Cleveland -- a city I also like, but not nearly as much as Miami -- all I can say is this: LeBron is not a slave, and Cleveland is not a plantation.

LeBron lived up to the terms of his contract. Cleveland had seven years to put together a team worthy of his talent. The brother wants a ring, and Cleveland can't get him to the championship. His choice was as clear to him as it is to me: Do you want to retire as a Jordan or as a Barkley? Hell, even Kevin Garnet got ghost so he could get a ring. If Cleveland had done its part, maybe LeBron would have stayed. But you can't say he didn't give it his all or that Cleveland gave him what any champion wants -- a championship. To brand him as disloyal and wish him ill, well, that just shows you why Cleveland will always be, well, Cleveland. Even Chris Webber gets much love from Sacramento even after he left the Kings. Cleveland needs to show some class instead of some ass.

And maybe it's because I'm in the funk I'm in that I totally get LeBron's choice. I'm one of the 200,000+ employees that California's spray-tanned dictator, Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger, wants to pay minimum or no wage until there's a state budget. I do my work and expect to be paid. I'm all for pitching in during tough times, but I'm not willing to do more than anyone else -- I'm not willing to take a pay cut when other state employees at the Capitol and some state agencies don't have to. Either we're all in, or I'm out. I want to do the work that I do, and I want to do it in an environment where I am supported, not denigrated. I am not a slave, and the State of California is not a plantation.

Just as LeBron's last disappointment on the way to a championship got him looking around, this latest state fiscal crisis has got me looking around for new employment. I've made it very clear to my boss and anyone else who will listen that if I don't have a paycheck instead of a "budget impasse loan" on August 1, I'm gonna make like a free agent and get ghost. Like LeBron. Because I am not a slave.

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