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Well, He’s Gone

July 9, 2010

I wrote a post a while back praising LeBron for his years as a Cavalier. I think I still would have stood behind that post had he not announced his decision the way he did. The hype, the ESPN special, the information and misinformation–everything made the decision seem cold and callous.

When it comes to grief, I tend to jump around the stages a bit. I’m a fairly positive person, so I like to get to acceptance as fast as possible. I don’t try to tuck away my other emotions, but I try to get past them in a constructive way. Being on Twitter last night was a way for me to see everyone’s reactions to his decision. Maybe I was living vicariously through others’ anger. Maybe I was just feeling numb the whole time and couldn’t feel anything.

Well, I certainly know that’s not true. I know I felt something because when I read Dan Gilbert’s letter, I immediately agreed with everything in it, and then I also immediately agreed (yet tried to deny) any and all criticism of it. My quick thought on Dan Gilbert’s letter: he legitimately felt as duped as the fans, but he also knows that his letter made sure he retained some Cavs fans next season. Even when it’s not about money, it’s about money. Kind of a shame, but that’s how it goes, I guess.

Anyway, as I looked back on my post from May that sang LeBron’s praises as a Cavalier for 7 seasons, one part stuck out to me immediately:

“…we can’t exactly act like this is some shocking surprise when we knew the stipulations surrounding his contract. When he re-signed in 2006, the terms were he would stay a Cavalier if he won a ring or if he was in the best position to win a ring down the road. The Cavs proved they didn’t do those two things. It’s not like the Cavs didn’t try, and it certainly doesn’t mean the city and fans didn’t support him through the process. Thirty teams vie for the NBA title every year (well, usually 24 vie for the playoffs and 6 vie for John Wall), and only 1 can win it. The Cavs tried to stack the odds in their favor, and they couldn’t get it done. He’s not betraying us. He’s doing what a star athlete should do: getting better and putting himself in a position to win championships.”

I still believe that. Except for the betrayal part. That might go away soon, but I think I really have issues with the platform he chose to announce his decision.

But another part of my piece stuck out to me more:

“we as Clevelanders (whether resident or expatriate), need to take ownership of the image we portray to the rest of the country as sports fans, and to some degree we need to change it for the better. We always feel like our backs are against the wall, and we have a pervasive hollow and self-deprecating attitude.  We know that Clevelanders have pride, and that we love our city and our sports. We can no longer allow ourselves to be the punchlines and shameful relatives of other sports cities. But that has to start with us. We have to stop being bitter and living in the past. It’s not the curse of the Wahoo, or the Fumble, or the Drive, or the Shot, or the Jose Mesa [and now the LeBron/Decision]. We can no longer let despair and self-pity consume us. We have to stop acting like we are doomed from ever having anything good happen to us. We rail on LA, Boston, and NY for feeling entitled to win rings because “They have before.” But we feel just as entitled because we haven’t. Now how is this perception any different, except that we get to complain and invoke pity from other fanbases and sportswriters who read and write “Top 10 Unluckiest Sports Towns” lists? We had a really great shot, better than most, and we didn’t succeed. We have the money and the smarts to work to get there again.

…I say we can use this as the impetus to change who we are. No more feeling sorry for ourselves….Yeah it sucks, but we need to learn from it and grow. We didn’t hold back at all. Everyone thought we had the best chance. We set up everything the way we thought, but we overlooked a few angles and it came back to bite us. We must take these lessons and learn from them.

We can’t blame LeBron and dwell on the past. We can only look at our mistakes, try to learn from them, and move forward. No looking back to 1964. Only looking forward to 2011.”

Go Cavs.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2010 12:57 pm

    Good post Amin.

  2. July 9, 2010 1:38 pm

    I agree with you – especially about Cleveland needing to find its way without LeBron. It will be a stronger city for it.

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