ESPN.com has a rather nice “Outside the Lines” report on Cleveland. It’s suppose to be about the reaction the city had to LeBron leaving, but LeBron’s departure is really more of a subplot, as the writer actually “goes native,” and gets rather attached to my old hometown. It’s actually quite a touching piece, and is something that I think that a lot of people who are from these old-school, blue collar towns can appreciate. It certainly talks a lot about the love the town has for its sports, but also about just what it’s like to grow up in a city that has been struggling and looking to turn the corner for the past decade.
I actually didn’t watch the universally-panned “The Decision” on ESPN wherein LeBron James decided to tell all of Cleveland in the most public forum possible that he was leaving. I’m also proud to say that I completely forgot it was on, being busy with other aspects of life (playing video games, naturally).
My own thoughts on the matters are fairly simple:
1) No matter what, I felt good because he didn’t go to the Knicks, or the Nets, even. Apparently, there is some speculation that neither one was even considered to be a top choice. This was the most important thing for me, just because the amount of hubris and arrogance coming from NYC fans was absolutely galling; for 2 years whenever a basketball fan in this city said something about LBJ in free agency, they acted like it was a given — that the city alone, and not the fact that James would have to go to a very poor team and wait for another 3 years or so before even being considered a contender, was all that mattered. So, for me, it was nice to see that sense of entitlement shattered.
2) I said all along that wherever he goes, it’ll be where he thinks he has the best chance to win a ring, and to do so now. Certainly, with Wade, Bosh, and James on the same team, it looks more likely than it did in Cleveland. Of course, now, if fates should decree that he does not win a ring with Miami over the next three years, his legacy will be tarnished moreso than if he had stayed in Cleveland and not won. But hey — every Cleveland sports fan knows the truth: now that he is out of Cleveland, he’ll win the championship next year. That’s just the dark cloud that looms over our town.
3) Finally, this really shouldn’t surprise anyone. LBJ wore a Yankees cap to the Indians home playoff game. At the Browns home opener against Dallas, he hung out the whole time talking to the Cowboys. And growing up, he followed the Bulls, not the Cavs. Maybe Akron really is his home, but, outside of his contractual obligations, he certainly never was a part of Cleveland sports.
On and off over the past few years, I’ve been making Video Journals (currently I’m in “off” mode), and this one chronicles the adventures of a trip I made to Cleveland and Milwaukee back at the end of June in 2008.