After Lebron: Can We Talk Cleveland…

He was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. Basketball became his

outlet and saving grace. He became a hometown hero, beloved by his state, and

revered by his peers. His name is Lebron James, professional basketball player.

Lebron loves Akron, he loves Ohio, and he loves his fans.

Fresh out of High School, he was draft #1 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. You

couldn’t script a better beginning to a story. He had the height and length of

an Ervin “Magic” Johnson with the explosiveness and competitive attributes of

Michael “Air” Jordan. His career in basketball was blanketed by hype from the

start. And if you could look past that fact that he put in 7 years without a without

winning a championship, he actually exceeded the hype.

While we’re on the subject of hype, I wanted to make the

point that hype isn’t something you bestow upon yourself. Hype is placed upon

you; it surrounds you. Hype is an overwhelming expectation which picks up steam

and grows into a monster of pressure, not necessarily felt by the subject. As a

matter of fact, those that place hype on a subject, often accuses the subject

of owning and spreading this social virus. Flava Flav said to not believe the

hype. Over the past few days, people believed the hype, became angry with the

subject of it, lashed out on the subject, and never stopped to think whether or

not Lebron James believed it himself.

Hype led people to believe that Lebron James set up his

press conference to stick it to the city and state he loved. On Wednesday, Wade

and Bosh had a similar press conference on the same channel. There wasn’t much difference

between the two press conferences. Well there was one difference. For those

that don’t know, The Boys and Girls Club of America are suffering from major

funding cuts across the country. These clubs need our help, our time, and our

donations. So when Lebron took all the hype placed on him and found a way to

generate money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, how could you not

respect him for that?

The truth is, the Summer of 2010 was built up to the most

anticipated free agent event in NBA history, by the league. Furthermore, the

New York Knicks played a role in growing the hype around James with their

ongoing pursuit. New York media hyped the fact of Lebron hosting his press

conference in Connecticut as a precursor to him signing with the Knicks. Yet

people were mad at Lebron for his location choice, when 1 + 1 never equaled 2

All-Star signings for the Knicks this summer. Let’s be honest, if Lebron was

anything like Jordan or even Kobe Bryant, the honor was scoring 50+ points in

Madison Square Garden against the Knicks. Who wants the pressure of trying to

score 50+ points, for 42 games in the regular season? There’s no allure in

that.

The NBA and ESPN played a role in growing the hype around

Lebron. For the NBA, it accomplished being near the top of the news chain

during the month of July; a month where the league is normally all but

forgotten until the next season. So to place Lebron James up against the World

Cup and hold its ground was a victory for the league (at Lebron’s expense). For

ESPN, this was the perfect opportunity to infuse news, opinion and drama, hour

after hour, day after day. ESPN acquired exclusivity to both press conferences,

kept all the teams that were in the Lebron sweepstakes in the mix and allowed

for their analysts to play for and against the hype. It was a win/win situation

for the NBA and ESPN. For Lebron, his character took a critical blow.

Ok Cleveland, let’s talk…

LBJ gave all he had to the city of Cleveland. It was his

skill sets that sparked the winning attitude that Cleveland fans would give

their first born to be a part of. It was Lebron’s passion that made Cleveland a

city of believers again. He didn’t rebuild Cleveland on his own. He was given

an opportunity and excelled with it. All the more reason that when he made the

decision to leave for Miami, the initial reaction was mirrored to walking in on

your spouse having sex, with your sibling. There isn’t a beating heart in

Cleveland today. But you will heal, and this is why.

Cleveland, if you love Lebron as much as he loved

representing you and his hometown (well accept for the fact that he loved the

New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys), you will someday understand that this

was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. Cleveland, you must find solace in the

fact of how much it took for him to leave you; it took two Olympians, one of

them an NBA Finals MVP, a President of Basketball Operations that knows exactly

what it takes to win a Championship, and living with the heart break of not

delivering to you what he wanting to lift in your name, an NBA Championship. If

you ever loved Lebron, his leaving will sting, but his winning of a

Championship would be your victory as well. Who’s to say that after his deal was

up in Miami, that he wouldn’t have come back to you?

Cleveland, what if Lebron won a title in Miami, and came

back home to you with the knowledge and experience needed to deliver you the trophy?

Think about it. He was clearly emotional in his goodbyes last night. The man

loves you, he is dedicated to you. Sad to say that after the release of the

letter from your owner Dan Gilbert, your favorite son may never come back home.

Dan Gilbert went in with the relentlessness of Lil’ Wayne on

mixtapes and the brash tongue of Kanye West at an awards show. Gilbert did more

than call Lebron a quitter, he fueled the fires of your disappointment until

your favorite son, became public enemy #1. The nation watched on as official

Lebron James jerseys burned, as posters were ripped, cardboard cutouts were

pulled apart, tears fell, and people were locked up for disorderly conduct. But

my question is this Cleveland, if a clearly injured Lebron quitted on you during

the Boston series (Boston later went on to lose in Game 7 of the NBA Finals)

why did Gilbert still try to sign him to a max deal?

Cleveland, take a deep breath and think about what just

transpired. Think about the stories you’ve read in the newspaper and online.

Think about all the drama surrounding Lebron on Social Networks. Most

importantly, think about the 7 years that Lebron James given to your team.

You’re team had the best record in the league, Cleveland. You had a two-time

MVP, Cleveland. You’ve made it to an NBA Finals, Cleveland. Yet, you have an

owner that believed your city was cursed? He did say that the “curse” would

follow Lebron down south, right? How do you expect to finally reach the

euphoria of winning a championship without getting past your past? For better

or for worse, Lebron James, your favorite son, has taught you and the world

that Cleveland can be a strong force in Sports. So I suggest that you take

Lebron’s lead and move forward. You can no longer allow for the media to tell

you that you’re destined for failure; you don’t have to accept media outlets

creating a top 10 of the worst sports moments in the history of your city. You

must close your ears to the older generations that insist Cleveland is cursed;

it is hard to believe, when you think you’re cursed. Cleveland can thrive

again. But it starts with you; your mentality, your perseverance and optimism.

Lebron James has spread his wings and left the nest. Wish

him luck, Cleveland. Be prideful from within. Cleveland, we wish you luck.

Related Stories