Armchair Point Guard: Ben from Annabel on LeBron James
by Chad Jewett
In light of LeBron James’ decision to bring his talents back to Northern Ohio — specifically the Cleveland Cavaliers — we caught up with Ben Hendricks, lead singer of modern emo greats Annabel and an avid Cavs fan, for his thoughts:
First of all, describe how you’re feeling right now. What was your reaction when the news came out that LeBron James was returning to the Cavaliers? What have the past few hours been like?
Honestly, it is kind of an incredible feeling. I had been following all the rumors all week and for a while there was a lot of momentum that he was coming back, but towards the end it seemed things might be turning back around the other way. So when I finally saw the announcement part of me couldn’t believe it.
I needed to get some work done but it was really hard to focus on anything else, haha. I guess it just feels good for this area to be relevant again.
What was the wait like this time around? Did folks you were talking to in Ohio think he was coming back, or was there that fear of The Decision all over again?
Most of the people I talked to were very cautious about the whole thing. I know a lot of people kept saying there was no way he was coming back. I think unless you were following all the rumors and speculation on Twitter, there was no reason to believe he was coming back, especially the way national media was covering it. So I think a lot of people were pretty guarded about it.
Obviously LeBron could have handled the 2010/Heat announcement more tactfully and sensitively, but there was also some real, almost unsettling ugliness from certain Cavs fans afterwards. What do you think about LeBron returning to Cleveland in the wake of all of that?
Yeah, I mean the way he left was very disappointing to this area. I remember watching the Decision with my band members in the middle of a practice and thinking “this is gonna be bad.” It stung a little more just because he was from this area. My grandma legitimately thought LeBron was her grandson for a period of time, no joke.
Enough time has passed though and I think all is forgiven, especially after the essay he put up on SI. I think he really gets it and understands how he left was a terrible idea. I know a lot of people who weren’t so quick to welcome him back when the idea first came up, but he really nails it in that SI article. When the best player of this generation chooses to go back to play for his hometown team just because he wants to be there, that says a lot.
You’re a Cavs fan, so obviously you’ve watched the team for a while, including this current line-up. Who else do you think Cleveland needs to add to make this team a sure-fire contender? Who else would you love to see in a Cavs uniform?
Obviously, there are the Kevin Love rumors and he would be a huge piece. I think they can be pretty good without him, but then again, I thought they would compete last year with Andrew Bynum so what do I know??
At this point, really, what they need are some experienced, veteran shooters and probably some big guys. Really, if they brought some of the old Heat role players (Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Chris Anderson) I would be okay with that. I would love to see Jason Collins in a Cavs uniform too.
But just seeing Kyrie and LeBron work together is going to be amazing. Dion Waiters is probably as good as an old Dwayne Wade at this point. Anderson Varejao is my favorite player. I just think they all need to grow together. And I’m pumped about David Blatt being the coach. Anytime a coach brings up Shakespeare in interviews, I think you’re in good shape.
What did you think of Cleveland drafting Andrew Wiggins?
I thought he was the best choice they possibly could have made. I love his attitude. He’s got a really great smile. I think he will fit great on the team for sure. He seems like the ultimate team guy who lets others have their shake first, which on a team with Irving and Waiters is huge. I think he will be great for overall team chemistry, which is something that we didn’t have last year at all.
How did you feel about the Cavs drafting Anthony Bennett back in 2013?
Well, to be honest, I didn’t know anything about him when they drafted him. I really don’t follow too much college basketball, but I heard the rumors and he was still a bit of a surprise. There really wasn’t consensus top pick though, so they had to choose somebody. Dion Waiters was a huge surprise in 2012 as well.
Bennett obviously didn’t have a great year last year, but I still think he’s got tons of potential. He showed some flashes in a few games last year and looks pretty good this summer, so by no means am I giving up on him. He is the wildcard on this team for sure.
So far the Cavaliers have gone through (at least) three logo/jersey designs and color schemes – the orange/blue ball-and-net, the actual cavalier character with red and yellow, and the sword-and-basketball, royal blue, red, and yellow – which do you prefer and why?
I’m really glad you brought up jerseys because I’m kind of a jersey snob. I always thought the 1st LeBron era home white jerseys (2003-2010) were slick. I do really like their current uniforms though. Very minimal: just wine, gold, and white. There is more of a long-term history with the wine and gold color scheme and I think it stands out a bit more. The blue and orange is cool, but I think they work better as occasional alternate jerseys. I really liked when they made the early 90’s “Cavs” jerseys with the wine and gold.
I much prefer the jerseys to say “Cavaliers” than “Cavs” though. I’ve always thought shortening the name for a jersey is a copout. Whenever I see other teams do things like the “Diamondbacks” being “DBacks” or “Timberwolves” being “Wolves” I’m just like, THAT’S NOT THE NAME OF THE TEAM. If you wanted to put a shorter name on a jersey you should have named them that. Okay, end rant.