Leading up the 2003 draft, it was all but certain that the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to draft a hot-shot kid named LeBron James from Akron, Ohio with the No. 1 overall pick.
LeBron, who has lifted the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland to unprecedented heights during his two tenures with the organization, reportedly had no desire to join a franchise that was at the bottom of the League.
In a story written by ESPN‘s Brian Windhorst that was released before this past Tuesday’s ring ceremony at Quicken Loans Arena, Windhorst claims that LeBron was unimpressed with the team and its empty arena:
When James was a teenager, he started attending games at the arena, and he couldn’t believe how bad the Cavs were, how empty the arena often was, with its bright blue seats seeming like a neon sign of disinterest. During his senior year of high school, he went to several games, was given courtside seats and visited the locker room. His thought was pretty clear after he watched that 17-win team with the lowest attendance in the league: They were awful, and he didn’t want to be a part of it.
Thirteen years later and the relationship between team and organization has never been better, but it’s fun to think what would have happened if LeBron demanded a draft night trade.