LeBron James Announces Plan To Follow In Jordan's Footsteps, Play For Birmingham Barons Minor League Squad

Pictured: James telegraphed his move by wearing a red uniform -- a color in the Barons' logo.

In a move that has stunned Cleveland fans, but surprised very few sportswriters, NBA free agent LeBron James announced tonight that he will not return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, choosing instead to follow in the footsteps of his hero Michael Jordan and play for minor league baseball squad the Birmingham Barons for the rest of 2010.

The two-time league MVP used a three hour TV special to say that his time with the AA ball team will begin immediately.

"As much as it hurts to say, everyone should have seen it coming," said Terry Pluto of the Akron-Beacon Journal. "It comes as no surprise that in order to be named along with legends like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and, of course, Michael Jordan, James feels that he has to leave Cleveland, where nothing short of a three-peat would establish the legacy he's after. Which will never ever happen, even if the Cavs got Chris Bosh, because, well, it's Cleveland."

Tony Kornheiser, host of ESPN's Pardon The Interruption, says that this is James' best chance to finally best Jordan.

"If he can prove that his defense is better than Jordan's 11 errors, and that he's better than three home runs on the year against bush-league pitchers, then he'll have toppled Jordan in at least one sport," said Kornheiser. "This is the one thing that Jordan never did: batting above .250 for the season in farm-league baseball."

Co-host Mike Wilbon responded, "You... no... no, you don't do that... no, but... okay, time's up – next up, the 2010 MLB All Star Game: will anyone know if FOX runs a Glee re-run instead?"

Some, however, have questioned the logic of James' decision, which, they argue, has very little to do with attaining a legacy as the greatest basketball player of all time.

Indeed, some expect that he will spend only a year or two in the minors, eventually returning to basketball in time to receive the Charles Barkley Honorary Championship Trophy.

Bizarrely, Cleveland fans say they feel betrayed by the hometown hero from Akron, despite the fact that they should be well trained by now to expect terrible disappointment from their sports teams.

"Sure, we've had [sports blunders such as] The Drive, The Shot, The Fumble, and Jose Mesa," said Cleveland-area resident and Cavs fan Mike Taranto, "but I thought for sure that this was going to be different. I guess King James doesn't care."

"Maybe I'll move to Florida," Taranto said. "At least it's warm down there. You're always hearing about that 'Miami heat'."

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