As a Cleveland sports fan, there are few moments in history that are engraved into your psyche. You have Earnest Byner’s fumble while running in for a Touchdown that would have tied the game between the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos in in 1988. The year prior there was “The Drive” where John Elway led a historic comeback in the 1987 AFC Championship game against the Cleveland Browns. In 1997 the Cleveland Indians became the first team in major league baseball history to lead game 7 in the ninth and go on to lose the game and the series. Of course there is also the man named Art Modell who decided to move the Browns franchise to Baltimore, where he later won a superbowl. With a city as tortured as Cleveland, surely they had to have seen LeBron James leaving from a mile away, right?
The reason LeBron was different from “The Fumble”, “The Drive”, and “The Move” is because of who he was. He wasn’t just some really good basketball player who was drafted to Cleveland and promised to try hard. He was billed as the heir to Michael Jordan, a man who himself crushed many Cleveland dreams. He was basically from Cleveland, Akron to be exact. The story couldn’t have been any better if Disney wrote it. Hometown boy grows into a Basketball phenom, literally by the luck of the draw ends up with his city’s team and brings a championship back to the city of Cleveland. It’s something every little boy who has ever picked up a ball has dreamed about, winning a championship for the home team. But that’s all it was, it was all a dream.
If you’re not from Ohio, you wouldn’t understand how that summer day felt to us. Not only did LeBron James leave, that’s not what really hurt us. It was the fact that we faced with the question of if he will stay or go everyday for two years. And finally when the decision was to be made, it was made on national television as some huge spectacular. Imagine if you will your girlfriend who you loved and thought you were in a happy relationship with telling you she wants to leave you for a better looking guy. Now imagine her telling you that in front of a hundred million people as if she’s been cheating on you for months. That’s what it felt like.
Maybe it was our fault for thrusting all of our hopes onto a kid who is surrounded by a lot of yes men. A kid who was never really told “no” his whole life. Sure we expected greatness from LeBron, but LeBron promised us greatness. When he told us that his goal was to win a championship for Cleveland and he won’t stop until he gets one, we believed him. Why shouldn’t we have?
Tonight LeBron returns to Cleveland for the first time since joining the Miami Heat. And while I hurt nobody does anything stupid or gets hurt, I wouldn’t mind if LeBron saw with his own two eyes what everyone thinks of him and his decision. Part of me would love to see LeBron get pelted with trash the entire game. But another part of me would love if for the entire game, everyone in the Arena was silent. Huge dunk? Nothing. Ridiculous three pointer? Nothing. Nothing the entire game, just silence.