Josh Cribbs Calls LeBron James “My Boy,” Promptly Gets a Timeline of Cleveland Backlash

It was just a week or so ago when Browns receiver Josh Cribbs was thanking the city of Cleveland for recognizing his work on and off of the football field.  Well, Cribbs may be fortunate that the balloting took place before NBA All-Star weekend because after an on-location tweet, a few of the votes would have likely went to teammate Joe Thomas or Indians’ outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

From his center court Staples Center seats – courtesy of Cavs’ principle owner Dan Gilbert – Cribbs snapped a picture of Eastern Conference All-Star LeBron James and tweeted it out to his followers with the caption “My boy [LeBron James.”

While the image looks like it could have been taken outside of the Staples Center amidst the lovely west coast smog, it was obviously the caption that mattered most to the majority of Cribbs’ 54,000 followers, some of which did not react kindly.

Within seconds, Cribbs received hate-laced replies, which have been edited for shear readability.

“You just don’t get it. You can be friends with the guy, but don’t rub it in our faces. We’re your fans and not his fans.”

“So lets get this straight, [you] got those seats from Gilbert and gave shouts out [to] the man who burned our city on national TV? WOW”

“You [are] my favorite cleveland player and [you are] the man, but I’m dissapointed that [you] post lequit is [your] boy..we aren’t past it.”

“This is how you thank [Dan Gilbert] for your tickets? You are a [expletive].”

Cribbs would later tweet with regard to all of the hate he was receiving in his replies list, and fired back that if anyone stated that they were no longer a fan of his because of who he considers a friend, then said individual was not a fan to begin with.  He would subsequently take a page out of Howard Stern’s book of Twitter by retweeting a few positive messages from fans who exclaimed their appreciation for Cribbs and all he has meant to the city of Cleveland, regardless of who he chooses to consider a friend.

Capping off the evening in Los Angels, Cribbs left Browns fans the following:

“Even tho I like LA, it has nothing on Cleveland, especially as a sports town.. LA fans were not as die hard as Clevelanders [and] I wasn’t feeling it.”

There we go…all better.

Alas, if any Cleveland athlete can get away with mentioning James in any form, and get – at the very least – mixed reviews, it is Cribbs.  He was at the Cavaliers game this past Wednesday when the Wine and Gold topped the Lakers, and he will likely take in many more between now and the end of the season despite the team sitting at a mere 10 wins.

It’s easy to understand some of the reaction which ensued post-tweet. After all, this town will likely never get over what James did.  And sure, discussing James while in Gilbert’s seats may have taken some balls.

But then again, so does running head first into a ready-and-waiting James Harrison with the goal of gaining a mere few extra inches for the team which this town blindly adores.

  • Dear Dan Giblert

    Anyone remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine wouldn’t take out the Orioles hat in the owner’s box. Yeah, Cribbs just one-upped it.

  • Scotty

    Just too bad Lebron was more motivated to win an all-star game last night than he was to win a playoff series against the Celtics last year

  • Lyon

    I understand that athletes have different perspective than the fans & Cribbs can be friends with whoever he wants… But sometimes it’s good to use common sense.

    Cribbs probably should’ve weighed the pros and cons ofthis and realized that nothing positive could’ve came from it. Fans will have forgotten this by the time the Browns start playing anyways.

  • stin4u

    I’m going to post the requisite “move along people there is nothing to see here” reply. Seriously though, I don’t see how people are so offended by this….maybe I got over him too soon (tear).

  • Chris

    Meh. We need to get over the LeBron hate. I certainly don’t respect him. I certainly found out a lot of my preconceived notions about him were wrong.

    I definitely hope that somehow Wade, Bosh, and James all recieve a (non-career threatening) injury, miss the playoffs, and somehow Z rallies the team and leads the Heat to a championship…

    But whatever, I’m not going to hate on someone for associating with him. As has been covered many times before on this site, athletes are very disconnected from their fan base.


    I’m generally with you stin….will I always dislike the guy, yes. Will I boo him every chance I get to see him in person, yes. Will I burn with fire and rage every time I hear/see his name, no.

    Maybe it’s my easy going attitude, or my new appreciation of sports as being a way for me to escape the day to day grind and enjoy them for what they are (good or bad), or maybe it’s just the over saturation of everything #6/Heat, but I have a generally feeling of “whatever” any more with this guy.


    @Chris…right on….I should have refreshed before I posted.

  • Chris

    Scratch that. I wouldn’t mind if LeBron’s injury was career threatening.

  • Saggy

    I hate to say it but how good is the guy? I only wish he would have been that selfish in a cavs uniform. I can’t stand Lebron (especially since my buddy is from Miami) but he is so fun to watch.

    As for cribbs- probably shouldn’t have posted that tweet, but it kinda makes me love him more; knowing you’re always getting honesty from him.

    Go browns.

  • The Conductor

    Sorry, I draw lines in the sand. You can be the king of Cleveland or you can be friends with LeBron. You can’t be both, Josh.

    If it doesn’t bother you as a fan, then you are just a casual fan, and not hardcore. And that’s ok. Not everyone is cut out to be hardcore.

    But it bothers me.

  • Mark

    People are hating Cribbs for that? Really? Someone needs to publish the LeBron “Do’s & Dont’s” so we all know what meets the acceptable standard of LeBron Hate that we Clevelanders or anyone else associated with Cleveland must show at all times.

  • Steve

    Let’s review the last year of Cribbs…

    1) Mike Holmgren is hired by the Browns. A few days later, Cribbs demands a trade if he is not given the new deal he wants.

    2) Cribbs says “he’s done” with the Browns, and his agent says the Browns will never see him again. Cribbs is “disrespected” by the Browns unwillingness to give him the amount of money he wants.

    3) After Holmgren settles in (and maybe unpacks a box or two), the Browns give Cribbs his new deal.

    4) Cribbs shows up to camp 15 pounds overweight.

    5) Cribbs has a terrible season, blaming it on an injury he suffered in Week 10.

    6) Cribbs is named Cleveland Pro Athlete of the Year.

    I don’t get it. You always hear how he “plays hard”, but don’t most NFL players? And is that really any reason to overlook everything else the guy said and did?

    Josh Cribbs is a phony. He doesn’t care about Cleveland or the fans any more than any other players, he’s just good at kissing our collective asses and being nice to the media. I could care less if he’s friends with LeBron, and think this story is a complete waste…but maybe some in Cleveland will get a wake up call and realize Cribbs is just another greedy, me-first professional athlete that would sell this team and city out the first chance he got if it meant more money for him.

  • 5KMD

    I’m fine with Cribbs having LBJ as “his boy” as long as Cribbs is OK with me not rallying for him next time he wants more money. If you want the fans to support you in your battles, then support them in theirs.

  • mike

    maybe im wrong, but i dont think most fans are upset that he is still “boys” with lebron. frankly, i dont care. i assumed he was actually. but i think most fans see the stupidity in putting that out there WHILE sitting in dan gilber’s seats. one tweet before he is thanking dan gilbert. then he is proclaiming lebron as his boy. was it malicious? no. was it a stupid brain fart? absolutely. had he not been in dan gilbert’s seats, then i think this is MUCH less of an issue. common sense says, if im in the incredible seats given to me by one friend then i probably shouldnt proclaim my friendship to the friend’s mortal enemy.

  • mike


    here is “dont #1”:

    dont proclaim your love for lebron while sitting in the amazing seats given to you by dan gilbert.

  • CLESportsFan

    I did find it ironic that Josh Cribbs talked about getting the tickets from Dan Gilbert then proceeded to fawn all over “his boy”.

    However, we fans need to realize that these athletes stick together. It’s all about being in the cool kids club and they are all “fam” as they like to say.

    Bottom line is, it doesn’t make a difference in my life or yours so we shouldn’t let it bother us.

  • Dennison

    Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing about Twitter and all of the idiots that use it. It is a useless form of informational garbage. If I want information, I prefer the whole story, not one sentence that completely lacks grammar structure or proper spelling of words in 140 characters or less. It’s simply sad that people hang on a multi-millionaires words and cannot find something possibly more relevant in their lives than to worry about what a bunch of ego driven rich sports figures are doing. What ever happened to journalistic integrity. It’s been boiled down to tweets and facebook garbage. Why should I care what Cribbs and Lebron are doing? Do they help me pay my mortgage? Hardly. I don’t see how this is even a story. Doesn’t matter what they do, it’s not helping me pay the bills.

  • Mark

    @mike – and you feel the need to take that up with Cribbs? We all need to defend Dan Gilberts honor? I guess so. Or maybe, just maybe, Dan Gilbert can take care of his seats and the great injustice caused by Cribbs by himself.

  • Dennison

    Professional Sports as we know it is exactly as advertised. It’s entertainment. It really contributes nothing to the bottom line in terms of peoples lives other than something to talk about or something to kill time with. I enjoy watching sports as much as the next person but people need to realize that these sports figures do not give a crap about the little guys, and whether they get hate mail, it’s not going to change a thing.

  • Chris

    Dude… if you don’t want to hear sports gossip, why are you on a sports blog during probably the slowest time of the year for sports?

  • smrtazz

    @Dennison Thanks for an entire week’s worth of finger pointing distilled into a single paragraph. See you at the next Complainer’s Anonymous meeting.

  • JPS3

    I just find it funny all these athletes think they are all “boys” and “friends” with each other. Truth is, Cribbs and Lebron probably don’t really “know” each other at all. How much interaction do they really have together? Obvioulsy Cribbs was in LA at a huge event and got caught up in the moment. Sometimes I even say that Joe Haden is “my boy”. I don’t know him from adam, nor does he know me.

    Regardless, Cribbs shouldn’t be tweeting that knowing Gilbert got him those seats.

  • humboldt

    @Lyon – hit it on the head. Cribbs, know your audience and use common sense. This is a stupid mistake.

  • mike

    mark, cribbs is putting this info out there on twitter for his fans. he is initiating the interaction with his fans. thus, as a fan, im allowed to be disappointed by his brain fart and we as fans are allowed to respond. im hardly defending dan gilbert’s “honor”. im sure dan gilbert can handle this on his own, like by never giving josh cribbs his tickets again.

  • Mark

    mike – ok, fair enough. I think its silly but have at it with Cribbs if you want.

  • humboldt

    @Mark. I don’t think it’s silly. Fairly or not, the psychological baggage between many Cleveland fans and Lebron is enormously complex and goes far beyond sports. Anyone who evokes LBJ, and especially those who do so on public platforms, need to appreciate the sensitivities that are still so easily inflammed. It’s mind-boggling that Cribbs could be so out of touch

  • B-bo

    This whole “controversy” is just pathetic. Perhaps we really are only happy when we are complaining about things….

  • Rico Despeedstra

    Actually, I am surprised that no one is speaking to the crappy quality of the phone picture… My old work-issued Nextel took better pictures! Just sayin’

  • Denny

    I wish there were real sports to talk about :/

  • B-bo

    Does anyone else ever wonder what Cleveland looks like to those in the exclusive fraternity that is professional sports? The number of professional athletes as a percentage of the general population is exceedingly small. As things like Twitter show us, the bonds between many of these athletes often cross team and sport boundaries because the experience of being a pro athlete is so rare. Given all of that, how do we think Cleveland is viewed by this fraternity? How many pro athletes these days does anyone think are actually speaking positively of Cleveland in their interactions with other pros? The city completely flipped on LBJ (not without reason, of course) and anyone who says anything even remotely positive about him, including Josh Cribbs, who may be the most openly loyal Cleveland pro athlete I’ve seen in my lifetime. We were fed up with Mo Williams after a bad playoff performance in ’08. We cheered a DA injury. And a Tim Couch injury. Our favorite QB is the guy holding the clipboard. Our baseball owners are cheap and only loyal to the bottom line. We assume our best baseball players are leaving regardless, then attack them or ownership when it actually happens. Our NBA owner publicly lit up (again, not without reason) the guy who made his franchise worth anything in the first place. We demand immediate turnarounds and titles while showing no patience whatsoever for rebuilding. Maybe it’s not a weather problem or a night life problem or a marketing problem that holds our pro teams back. Maybe sometimes it’s us, or at least those among us who become so irrational when the discussion turns to sports that they create an atmosphere in Cleveland that few are willing to endure? Just a thought.

    I’m not saying all of this applies to all Cleveland fans, but it certainly applies to many.

  • S-Dub

    The racial insults and the overall backlash was ridiculous. As he even stated, he doesn’t agree with his friends decision. BUT, he’s still going to stick by his friend. What kind of character would it show had he decided to just dismiss a man he called his friend because he made a poor decision? Would you want your kids looking up to Josh Cribbs as a role model knowing that he’s a back stabber who bails on his friends at the 1st sign of adversity? I know if I had kids I wouldn’t want that portrayed to them.

    LeBron James has an immense amount of growing up to do. They guy, however, did not commit a crime. He didn’t kill anyone, kill any animals, carry an illegal firearm, do drugs, or steal from anyone. He made a VERY poor decision on national TV and in a very important series against Boston. I think we’ve seen that LeBron James simply can’t beat Boston, so really it shouldn’t be any surprise he quit. I think the quitting hurts me more than “The Decision” does. Had LeBron James tried his hardest, got eliminated, then issued a press release on the 1st day of free agency, I’d still enjoy watching the guy. But, he didn’t. I in fact admire Josh for sticking by LeBron James and possibly having a positive effect on his life, instead of bailing on him.

    I haven’t bailed on my friends who have made some poor decisions. I am still seen with them in public and attend functions with them. I don’t condone their actions, nor do I try to emulate them. Lay off and you’d better be on a higher moral ground than anyone before you start judging Cribbs and calling him racial slurs. Because if you cheer this season when he gets in the endzone, you’re just as morally wrong as LeBron James is.

  • Dirtywax

    The sooner we realize that most players don’t care about winning as much as the fans do, the better.

    Most players could care less about the fans. Professional sports have really irked me lately.

  • S-Dub

    Byron Scott- Won championships w/ the Lakers AND is a Steelers fan. Better hate him!

    Joe Thomas-Went to Wisc, whose developing a nice rivalry with Ohio St and ended OSU’s hopes of a national title this season. Better hate him!

    Colt McCoy-Went to Texas and beat Ohio St in the Fiesta Bowl. Better hate him!

    Manny Harris-Went to MICHIGAN! Better hate him!

    Eric Wright-Went to USC and is a Lakers fan. Better hate him! Oh wait, you already do.

    Matt LaPorta-Was a Florida Gator, who destroyed Ohio St in the national championship. Better hate him!

    Joe Haden-Was a Florida Gator and wears a “Gator Boy” diamond chain. Oh, and his favorite player is LeBron James. Better hate him!

    You see how silly all this really is. Open your eyes people.

  • MrCleaveland

    Another clueless, tone-deaf, cement-head richjock.

  • tribefan30

    @ S-Dub, I actually agree with your point in #33, as mentioned here a lot before, we have to understand and accept players will have ties to other cities and teams. I get that. I think most of us get that. But sometimes they need to understand when its in poor taste to show their allegiance to others. Let me give you an example:

    You mentioned you stuck with your friends after they made poor decisions, and that is good, I respect that. But I would bet you would have better judgement on when to be quiet. Say your friend “joe” made a bad decision that hurt another friend,”tom”. You remain friends with both. But if “tom” gave you 2 tickets to an event, would you take “joe” with “toms” tickets?

    For me, I will still root for Cribbs next year, I just wanted to explain why some felt it was in poor taste

  • S-Dub

    @Tribefan30: I agree it was in poor taste.

  • Harv 21

    b-bo: disagree, think your premise is simply wrong. Witness the consistent vitriol of fans in a lot of “winning” cities against their own players: Boston, Philly, NY, etc. Teams win because their sports organizationss are competent, not because fans demonstrate the correct mixture of passion and loyalty.

    Seriously doubt many Cleveland athletes are the slightest bit concerned that an injured player was once booed, or even know about it. Fans have absolutely zero culpability for all the losing around here. The suggestion that we do smacks of that weird Cleveland we-are-not-worthy complex. Better question is why we must keep proclaiming that a Cleveland athlete du jour is “one of us” and then act all disappointed when he inevitably is not.

  • B-bo

    I don’t blame the fans for the results Cleveland teams get on the field or court, Harv. I’m just saying that acting like petulant little children over something like who one of our athletes associates with in their private realm, particularly when said athlete goes out of their way to praise and represent our city and its fans regularly, isn’t helping our cause in making athletes want to come/stay here. An organization’s competency should be every athlete’s number one concern when it comes to where they wish to play, obviously. But these athletes also have to live day-to-day in the place where they perform. Are fans in NYC, Philly, or Boston just as prone to hysterics as we seem to be? Perhaps. But these are far larger cities with more going on than just sports. In a comparatively small city like Cleveland, the fishbowl of celebrity becomes that much smaller. The perks that Cleveland offers, at least the perceived ones, are fewer than those cities can provide. The insulation between sports figures and regular fans is much thinner here. The payoff of dealing with the fans in NYC or Boston or Philly or LA is playing for big-spending, marquee franchises in the centers of global celebrity life. Fans may not have any culpability in the results on the field of play, but they do contribute to the creation of a claustrophobic feeling that I could see being unattractive to those playing here or thinking of playing here. Pro Athlete A says something dumb(Braylon) or wears the hat of another city’s baseball team(LBJ), and it’s a personal insult to fans in a place like Cleveland, never to be forgotten. In NYC? It’s a day or two in the Post and on talk radio, and on to the next non-story story.

    Look, if we’re talking ad campaigns and such, making a name for oneself, then location doesn’t matter anymore. Nike and Gillette and Chrysler will find you wherever you are–LBJ proved that. But when it comes to celebrity happenings and lifestyle, we can’t pretend Cleveland is able to compete on that level. Those of us who love the city have our lists of reasons for doing so, but we also know that it’s NOT NYC or Boston or Philly, and won’t pretend that it is. Some athletes will be content with that fact, and won’t mind the intense focus of a fan base with fewer distractions. Others will see the backlash against a guy like Cribbs and think, “why would I ever subject myself to THAT?”

    Some places learned to accept the fact that most athletes aren’t “one of us”: Cleveland hasn’t. Part of me loves that, but part of me realizes that it only sets us up for more disappointment.

  • mmonast

    None of those scenarios you listed in comment 33 s dub are even remotely close to the lebron situation.

    Cleveland fans have brushed aside the hate for players that played on certain teams (see Edwards,Braylon during his one good season in the orange and brown).

    No one hates lebron for where he played, but instead what he did . Is that so hard to understand?

    In regards to cribbs…disappointing reaction but not unexpected by the fans. He should have known better though.

  • humboldt

    @B-Bo – you’re vastly overestimating how affected Cleveland fans are by this situation. A few people overreacted on Twitter and said stupid, racist things. That happens every minute of every day; it’s the nature of the medium.

    Most of us are just annoyed that Cribbs had the poor judgment to show public (not private, as you said above) solidarity with someone who inflicted a great deal of psychological damage on our city. I’m sure we’ll all forgive him for it, but don’t blame fans for being upset by it, or pathologize the Cleveland mindset (yet again)

  • Harv 21

    b-bo: disagree still. I don’t think Cleveland fans behavior has or will figure into any free agent coming or staying. Money/playing opportunity is number one for the younger ones, winning sometimes ranks for the older who have already made bucketloads. And if Lebron doesn’t fit neatly in either category, you cannot seriously claim the blind adulation here actually drove him away. My point is simple: the fans don’t figure in the equation as to why FA’s come or stay. Even “one of us” like Z leaves his “home” for a multiyear, and DA would come back in a second for the most guaranteed money. To believe otherwise is an exercise in deluding your self into thinking that the problem is you, that you just don’t care enough/care too much.

  • B-bo

    humboldt: I certainly hope you are correct.

    Harv: I think you underestimate the importance of an athlete’s personal comfort in the equation–of which the fans are unquestionably a part, but I certainly don’t dispute the overwhelming force that money can be. I just think it’s a bit naive to think that these guys talking to one another doesn’t have any impact on the decision-making process. If I’m looking for a new place of employment, then as important as the salary offer would be to me, I would also be interested in the opinion of someone who is working there or has worked there before. But that’s me, and I’m aware it’s not true for everyone. I’m not putting the sole blame or giving the sole credit to a fan base for a teams on-field success or failures, but if all else is fairly equal, do you really think the fans and how they treat the players who represent their team wouldn’t make a difference in a player choosing where to go? I do, but perhaps that’s our ultimate point of disagreement. As they say, “when in Rome…” (I still don’t quite understand what it means)

  • kpome

    As far as I know, Josh Cribbs should be placed in the dog pound from next season. It is totally a taboo to bite the finger that fed you and that is exactly what he has done. He not only spit on Dan Gilbert, but on all fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Browns and all Cleveland sports franschises. And please spare me all that talk about Cleveland Fans behaving like kids, you want to telll me that fans in LA would not behave worse that Cleveland fans if Kobe was to divorce them on a special national TV show?….or that fans of the the patriots would not plan to maim Brady if he was to go on national TV and curse the patriots?…and for Josh Cribbs to say that fans who were angry with him for what he did were not true fans in the first place shows his disconnect. Hell yes, fans are not fans Josh Cribbs the man, but Josh Cribbs the player who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers…and once you start aligning yourself with enemies of the fans, then you also become and enemy. I say that from henceforth, until Josh recognizes his msitakes and offer an apology to Cleveland fans via twitter, he should be booed until he lives Cleveland. He has nothing to offer anyways, I mean, what really has he done for us?….the best we got from him was a 6-10 season so its not like we will be missing Jim Brown at his peak.

  • The Other Tim

    “We demand immediate turnarounds and titles while showing no patience whatsoever for rebuilding.”


  • B-bo

    Quite seriously, Other Tim. I’d say calling for the head(s) of whoever’s running the Browns every 2-3 years for the last decade plus and the disappearance of fans at Tribe games and constant call for the Dolans to sell show something less than patience, wouldn’t you? Or am I misinterpreting those things (which I’m certainly not ruling out)? Many of us SAY we don’t mind rebuilding, but honestly that’s only if it’s the “quick” rebuild we THINK happened with teams like the Falcons or Dolphins or SF Giants, which in reality all took a good deal longer than we paid attention to, and required not tearing down the entire foundation repeatedly.

    Again, I certainly am not attempting to paint all Cleveland fans with too broad a brush, and perhaps it’s simply matter of the squeaky wheel and so forth. I was just quite disappointed by the negative reactions to Cribbs regarding his tweet.

  • Shamrock

    Never liked Cribbs anyways but hey Carmelo Anthony got traded to NY – surprise surprise. The East is loaded to bad for the Cavaliers. The NBA is turning into MLB right before your eyes.

  • Doug

    @B-B0: You’re writing lots of words when you only need two: common sense. I could care less if Cribbs and James are boys. Just keep it on the DL if you’re Cribbs..