Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have ended Cleveland’s infamous 52-year championship drought (sorry Lake Erie Monsters, you don’t count), I think it’s time for me to come clean. Sure, I sat (and sometimes stood) there and cheered on the team for the last couple of months, but quite honestly, I never approached the level of excitement I would have had if it been my beloved Indians (and yes, their time is coming soon), the Browns (be patient another decade or so) or even my Cavs teams of the late 1980s/early 90s (Nance, Daugherty, Price, Harper, Hot Rod).
Why? LeBron, of course. I thought he pulled the carpet out from the collective legs of the city when he left for Miami half a decade ago, and I still felt betrayed by James even after he decided to return to Cleveland. The “unfinished business” mantra reeked of arrogance, which I resented. And I still wonder today if he would have opted to come back for a second go-round in the city had we not drafted Kyrie Irving. I mean, unfinished business or not, I seriously couldn’t see the “King coming home” if “home” represented mediocrity – and more importantly – no shot at a ring. Odds are the business would still be unfinished, and LeBron would be elsewhere.
To be fair, many opined that LeBron had matured in Miami and was a different person from the one who abandoned ship here the first time through. That was great news, as I wasn’t at all on board with the guy who gave up against the Celtics, right before “The Decision,” returning to put us through that nonsense again.
Perhaps my biggest problem with LeBron though was his inability to really get “mad” and motivate himself against the opposition when the chips were down. In the first championship series against the Warriors a year ago, I thought Steph Curry got inside James’ head, and stayed there, all the way through the first four championship games against the Warriors this year, too.
Then something happened. With the Cavs down in the series 3-1, it appeared LeBron finally said “Enough” and decided to do a number on Curry, culminating in some intimidating defense against the two-time MVP. The clincher, of course, was “the block,” when LeBron came out of nowhere (and I really do mean nowhere, folks) to reject a Curry shot. Curry ended up playing like a downtrodden preschooler because now, LeBron was in Curry’s head. And, I have to admit, it was awesome to watch.
So, it was then I asked myself, “Just what does this guy have to do to get back in your good graces?”
After watching the way LeBron reacted to winning one for Cleveland – the tears, the fact that he obviously left every iota of energy he had out on the floor – the answer is obvious: Back-to-back championships would be nice (for a start, anyway). Heck, I'm easy.
Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!