I consider myself a logical, rational person. I always say, for an artist I’m awfully left-brained. I credit my ability to work efficiently and plan exceptionally well, to this. I rarely allow emotion to dictate my decisions, and my willpower is amazing strong. If anyone has heard of, or has taken, the Myers Briggs personality test, I am a rare INTJ personality (1% of the population)– Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging. INTJ’s are called the “scientists”. Hardly a description for a cartoonist/graphic designer, but I guess that’s what happens when 2 math/science geeks have a kid who just happens to be able to draw.
Now that you know a little about me, you probably see how strange it is that I am sports fan in the first place. Yeah, me too. There’s a level of emotion involved in being a true sports fan, to watch through the good and the bad.. (I mean, BAAAD) times. Sometimes I marvel at how emotional I can get over a dumb game. ME! EMOTIONAL! It doesn’t make logical sense.
So, in the 2-week wake of LeBron’s aptly-yet-cruelly-named “The Decision”, I find myself yet again doing a balancing act of emotions and my more familiar logic. But even in this case, logic wins. Most of the arguments the pro-LeBron (or anti-Cleveland) side makes, can be met by reasonable answers.
He left. Athletes leave their teams all the time. This is no different.
The emotional backlash is not due to JUST his leaving. It’s also due to HOW he did it, the handcuffing of the team, planning it behind our backs for years, quitting in the playoffs so he could walk away easier, all of those things. Yes, it is different. Big Z , Mr. Cavalier himself, left for Miami too, but he did it quietly, appreciatively, and properly. We’ll miss him and feel a bit miffed it had to be the Heat, but we’ll welcome him back to the organization when he returns, as he stated is his plan. Take note, LeBron.
He left because he couldn’t get a championship in Cleveland, he wanted to be on a better team.
The Cavs had the best record 2 years in a row with 60+ wins. This was not the same LeBron-and-a-bunch-of-scrubs team he started out on, contrary to popular belief. Also, 3 great players does not a “better” team make. Necessarily. But maybe in this pathetic modern-day league, it’s possible.
Lebron had the right to leave, Cleveland does not OWN him.
He has the right, sure. (again, that’s not the entire reason…see above) He also should have had the right sense of judgment to give the team and it’s fans some appreciation for 7 years of butt-kissing … Not to mention, YES, giving him a better team each and every year. Instead, we get a spectacle that essentially spat upon the franchise & city as he danced off to Miami, hand in hand with his new buddies.
You fans and your lame owner made Lebron this way. It’s all your fault.
I do not doubt we all contributed. We looked past his mistakes and put him on a pedestal. But I also do not doubt that any other franchise would have done the same for this severely hyped-up player. His spoiling and ego-inflation began in high school, don’t forget. And it will continue in Miami. LeBron is a phenomenal player and no owner, no franchise, wants to be the one that let him get away. I think it’s inevitable.
As for Dan Gilbert, yes his livid letter was unprofessional and I suppose deserving of a $100K fine.. But it was $100K well spent and I commend him for it. That takes some guts, some pure emotion and attachment to a team, to write a letter like that, knowing what you’re in for. (and trust me, we fans wish we got that kind of passion from other team owners in our city) That same emotion and attachment to the team is what made him throw money, roster moves, comfort levels beyond what any other player has seen… at LeBron and his friends.. To keep him happy, keep him HERE. It did not work, was never going to work. LeBron had other plans, for empty rings in warm places, that will continue to coddle him and his friends.
In the days after the The Televised Debacle, Cleveland fans started to see they were not alone in their new hatred for this egomaniac. Other cities, other fans, other journalists came to our defenses. Cities that had no affiliation with the Free Agency Frenzy, no reason to have personal issues with the end result. This was not another woe-is-Cleveland pity party that other cities roll their eyes at. We had authentic sympathy, here. Obviously, it only eases the pain so much, but it helps to be vindicated for feeling the way you do. This sympathy will not last forever, in fact the “get over yourselves” comments have started rolling in already. But, for a second there, the rest of America had our backs.
No doubt, I was mad. I felt cheated, embarrassed, hopeless and I wanted to burn a certain someone’s jersey. Instead, I donated it to a charity which is sending merchandise to homeless shelters in Miami, and then I put up #23 jersey flambé avatars everywhere online. A “green” version of retribution. Getting rid of the other person’s stuff is all apart of the break-up process. It’s cleansing. But now I am starting to accept it, probably because after all that has happened, we Cleveland fans are 90% scar tissue (a famous quote in Cleveland). The way this all went down, couldn’t have been more “Cleveland” if a movie was scripted. Hell, a 1-hour movie WAS scripted, written and directed by none other than the Villain himself.
I wouldn’t say I came out of the womb with a Browns helmet on (my mother would probably thank me for that), but by 10 I was immersed in Cleveland sports. My family moved to the Philly area, and I was still devoted. Cleveland, as a city, is the ultimate underdog, the kid with the “kick me sign”, the Charlie Brown of sports cities. Poor pathetic Cleveland, lets make fun of it some more. Everyone laughs at the expense of the class nerd, even if they’re really friends with him. I can relate to Cleveland on that level, speaking as a class reject myself. I will always.. ALWAYS cheer for the underdog. Oh, to be there to see a Cleveland team hoist a trophy to declare to the sports world “We Are Worthy!” would be phenomenal. I get choked up just envisioning seeing it. A real life Revenge of the Nerds.
(and there’s the Harvey Pekar / American Splendor tie-in, another recent Cleveland loss just days after Lebron became the most hated in Cleveland history. RIP, Harvey). It was a rough week.
It’s time for me to move on past the LeBron era, which includes The Decision and its aftermath. It’s especially hard, with the Indians in last place, the Browns slated to be last place, and the Cavs roster looking like the remnants of a national disaster. But it is what it is. All is right with the sports world again. Cleveland teams are back to being the bottom-of-the-barrel underdog where the rest of the nation is used to seeing them reign, and I will illogically, irrationally and with whatever part of my right brain I have, cheer for the Cavaliers, Browns, and Indians.