By Julia | June 22, 2012
So, the Heat have triumphed over Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA finals. *hrmf*
As a native Clevelander, there are many rules that I have to follow. Support the Browns, hate the Steelers and the Ravens (although when they face each other, root for the Steelers), root for the Indians, root for the Cavaliers, and any team that faces LeBron James.
I loved LeBron James back in the day… although I don’t watch every basketball game, he infused hope into what some call “the mistake by the lake” and he was a hometown hero (hailing from Akron, about an hour south of Cleveland). The Cavs were winning, the economy in downtown Cleveland was improving, and Cleveland finally had a sports team to get behind.
Sure, losing in the playoffs was dissappointing, especially when it appeared that LeBron had just quit in the last games when he played for Cleveland, but the fans understood, heck its Cleveland we take what we can get… I remember skipping pre-school to go the parade downtown for the Cleveland Indians, when they LOST the World Series…. and look at the Browns fans who keep renewing their seasons tickets year after year…? We are one loyal sports town.
And LeBron looked like our antidote for our sports curse that has been going on for a lot longer than I can say. He promised to bring the championship to Cleveland, and we revered him like the self-appointed king that he was, until…
LeBron’s free agency was coming up, and as it approached the pleas from the city grew louder and more desperate. There were even videos of local newscasters and government officials singing and begging LeBron to stay… yet we all know how he decided to tell us, and the rest of the country, of his plan to take his talents…. elsewhere (I still cringe to hear it).
Some people say that the negative reaction of his decision was affected by race, but I’m not so sure. Sure he’s allowed to leave, but what happened to not stopping until he brought a championship to Cleveland? Were those just empty words? He publicly humiliated the city of Cleveland, and even if he wanted to leave, he did not inform them of this fact with enough time for them to court other players.
He was a leader, he had a team that was coming together nicely, and it wasn’t as if he hadn’t gotten close to winning a ring before, but he didn’t want to wait for it. Cleveland was willing to do whatever it took to support him, but he scoffed it off.
Michael Jordan would have never called Larry Bird to make a super team so that they could get a ring, they wanted to beat each other. Unlike them, LeBron teamed up with his opponents because LeBron couldn’t believe that he could do it by himself (side note- of course no one can win a championship by themselves, but you get what I’m saying…).
I really didn’t want the Heat to win because it gives the impression that being self-serving and screwing over those that have supported you reaps rewards. I played competitive soccer for 10 years, by the time I was in high school and I was playing on an elite team in tournaments and being scouted by coaches, other girls on my team and in my age group, would play up on different teams within the same club, leaving their own team ‘under-staffed.’ we could have been really good and won a bunch of tournaments had the people who were supposed to be playing on the same team did, and being better, we could have had more coaches coming to our games, but alas, people’s own self-serving agendas are more important than their team that they’d come back ‘home’ to when they didn’t have anything better to do. We all paid the same amount, went to the same practices, and I wouldn’t say that those who did this were better than the rest of us (they certainly were good, just not the best…) yet when it was convenient for them, they’d leave us short-handed when we all would have been so much better together as a team.
What the heck happened to teams? Am I the only one who still believes in loyalty and following through with what you say you are going to do? Sometimes I feel like I am the only one left who feels this way, as I was explaining my view to a friend and he didn’t understand. He agreed with LeBron’s decision to leave, and he agreed that you should do what’s best for you even if it ends up screwing everyone else over.
If your opinion is that I should “get over it”, I’d say you weren’t from Cleveland and wouldn’t understand.
If you say that you are from Cleveland, then maybe you don’t understand what it is like to be on a team.
It’s not just LeBron leaving, or winning, it’s the lessons that he’s teaching people:
Be self-serving—> prosper.
Be a bad sportsman (his behavior last year after the Heat lost and he refused to shake hands) —> win.
I don’t want people to believe that these are true.
Side-note (again) of course LeBron worked really hard for his accomplishments, I have no doubt that people will see these more public ways in which he worked toward his championship, because no one sees his workouts and practices…
I wholeheartedly believe that had LeBron stayed, he would have had a championship by now in Cleveland, but by picking his own dream team while no one else was looking, he cheapens his own accomplishment. He is no doubt a great basketball player, but it’s no fun when the strong guys win. He was still a lovable underdog with Cleveland where a championship could have meant the world to the city, and been a more impressive feat.
Another disappointed Clevelander,
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