LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland made people in Ohio do a lot of crazy things. From the team’s owner losing his grip on reality (and decency) in a blaze of comic sans glory, to fans setting expensive jerseys on fire.
For LeBron’s teammates, the news hit home especially hard, as they came to the sudden realization that things would never be the same again. According to Mo Williams — who’d grown close to James during their time together on the Cavs — he nearly retired from the game.
Mo Williams is 27, healthy and has three years and $26 million remaining on his Cleveland Cavaliers contract. But none of that mattered much to him this summer after he watched LeBron James leave the Cavs to join the Miami Heat. Williams said he was so depressed by James’ exit that he considered walking away from the NBA.
“That’s how bad it got,” Williams said. “I contemplated it. I really sat down and envisioned life after basketball … I really saw myself not playing. It just didn’t make sense to me … It doesn’t make sense to me.”
“This summer was very, very stressful for me,” Williams said. “I really lost a lot of love for the game this summer. You play this game for one reason. You play to win games and win championships. I couldn’t understand why a lot of things were happening to our organization, to a really good basketball team. I couldn’t really understand it. And when you don’t understand things, it can really stress you out.”
Dan Gilbert has been relentless with his propaganda about how the Cavs are almost better off without LeBron James, now that they have the freedom to do things “the right way.”
It’s the emotional and candid Mo Williams, however, who paints the picture that most accurately describes the state of things in Cleveland now.