This post has been a long time coming. If you didn’t notice, I did not post anything in response to “The Decision” in early July. I didn’t want to be another writer who wrote something just to be the first to have a response. I didn’t want to write out of frustration or anger. It has been almost 4 weeks since LeBron James made his decision to go to South Beach and I have calmed down and gained my senses back. If I were to have written about it that Thursday night, it would have just been scattered and irrational thoughts thrown together. I felt it my responsibility as a writer to wait, see the aftermath and then write a well thought out column. Or at least try to.
After “The Decision” special I talked with fellow Thunder Treats contributor Zwilly. Zwilly hates all things Cleveland and we frequently get into arguments over sports. This time however we were on the same page. We talked about, even before the announcement; how this might have been the most over the top, grandiose thing we had ever seen in sports. Take a step back and look at the situation that occurred a month ago. The event that put one free agent in the national and worldwide spotlight to see what team he was going to choose seems absolutely ridiculous doesn’t it? Regardless we watched, just like everyone else. When the decision came we talked a little bit and even the Cleveland hater admitted that he handled it all wrong. I am not going to say he disrespected his “hometown” because he is not from Cleveland but I will say he disrespected the organization that did everything humanly possible to make him happy. If he wasn’t going to stay, fine that’s his decision and right as a free agent but to put on the spectacle he did was just uncalled for.
A few hours after the decision was made we saw the reaction from Dan Gilbert. This is what I was trying to avoid by waiting to cool down before I started to write. I know Dan Gilbert was trying to reassure fans that everything was going to be ok but I am sure he even feels a little remorse about the statement that he made. If he had waited until morning I am sure we would have heard a much lighter statement with more emphasis on the future of the Cavaliers organization and less on the superstar that had left.
During the second leg of “The Decision”, ESPN showed footage of people burning jerseys to LeBron James. He admitted that he couldn’t get caught up in “that”. I would like to say that people would have reacted differently had he held a regular presser in Cleveland or Akron to announce his decision but that is a boatload of bologna. Basically what I am saying is that there was no easy way to tell the city that had embraced him for 7 years that he was leaving. Perhaps if he did it quietly without all the hoopla and we just heard via ESPN’s bottom line it wouldn’t have hurt as much, but again this is hindsight talking. The burning of the jerseys was a bit much but it was also outside of a bar so I would think some alcohol was involved in their decisions. Admittedly, I burned a pair of my LeBron 5’s but mainly because I was packing to move from Las Vegas to Ohio and getting rid of stuff I didn’t wear or use and also because those shoes are like bricks and very uncomfortable.
The reaction the fans have had is disheartening. I know as fans we have the mind set to defend the city at all costs but some of this defense sheds a negative light on the city and the fans. Burning jerseys, negative videos, anti-LeBron billboards and even ridiculing someone at a recent Indians game seems a like a bit too much. Wouldn’t it be better if we let him go? He isn’t here anymore and we HAVE to move on. We owe it to ourselves as fans to let it go and look to the future. I know you may think the future in Cleveland sports looks bleak but that isn’t anything new. The reason we are some of the best fans, and I truly believe that, is because we get behind our teams and always have hope. The best way to shun LeBron is to forget about him. Don’t mention him, don’t cheer for him and don’t buy his brand. Ignoring him will go a long way towards making things better in Cleveland.
So with all of this said I think my point is obvious. Forget about LeBron. The sooner we do that, the sooner we can all move on to more important things like Browns training camp and the Holmgren era. We can, as I have wrote on Only In Cleveland, be excited that the new era of Indians are all playing together right now. Also we can get behind our new leader in Byron Scott and trust that he will lead this team in the right direction. We can get excited that J.J. Hickson has developed a jumper and that Jake Delhomme is throwing lasers in camp. We can get through this because we have been through worse and in order to do that we have to take the first step…
Forget about LeBron James.