Forgive, Don’t Forget
Colin Cowherd said on his radio show the other day that Cleveland fans will forget about The Decision now that LeBron is headed back to the Cavaliers. I’m sorry, what? I really don’t understand how it could be so easy to forget about something that lead to people literally rioting in the streets of Cleveland. Being happy about his return and the promise he brings I can understand; forgetting about The Decision I absolutely do not.
“I’m coming home.” LeBron James, four years after spurning the Cleveland Cavaliers for the grandeur and championship aspirations of the Miami Heat, is returning to his hometown team. He’s getting what he apparently always wanted. Now, I’m not a fan of Cleveland sports teams and I am a fan of several more successful teams (Chicago Cubs aside), and I know Clevelanders have suffered through a great deal of sports misery, but I just don’t understand how having the best player in the world turn their back on you can be purged from the collective memory so easily. He left his hometown to win championships immediately, simple as that. Three of the biggest stars in the world decided to play together in Miami and they became one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA. The Cavaliers and their fans were left behind.
Fans rioted in the streets. They burned his jersey. They cursed his name when he won and celebrated jubilantly when he lost. Now, when championship aspirations began to dwindle in Miami, with the rapid deterioration of Dwyane Wade’s health and the realization that they clearly aren’t invincible like they appeared to be (Kawhi Leonard sends his regards), he bails out again and heads to a team with a young and unproven but incredibly talented roster. Again, I understand wanting to go home, and I get that the Heat aren’t left in nearly as bad of a situation as the Cavs were in 2010, but underneath the veil of the hometown hero making his valiant return, LeBron James just looks like a championship chaser, and a career-long one at that. If the fans of Cleveland are willing to accept this fact and want to have him back at any cost, then more power to them, I just don’t understand the mentality that it’s so easy to take someone back who used another team for four seasons to win titles, only to toss them to the curb in order to go win again where he started. He used Miami and essentially he’s just using Cleveland too.
“Not four, not five, not six, not seven…” “I’m gonna take my talents to South Beach…” Are these statements and moments really that easy to forget? If they win a championship, I can understand forgiveness. But it doesn’t make any sense to me that you could so easily forget about LeBron’s transgressions. The man is chasing championships at an age much younger than most do (how’s it going, Karl Malone?), and in hindsight just used Miami temporarily to win before he could go back to Cleveland to win. In retrospect, the rally after the Big Three signed with the Heat looks even worse now. James talked about bringing all of those championships to Miami, and he was able to bring two and then bailed out to go back where he always wanted. I understand LeBron’s decision now, I just don’t respect it. What I don’t understand is the Cleveland reaction to his decision. Are you really so desperate for a championship that you’re willing to just forget about how LeBron James turned his back on you for ready-made success and the bright lights of South Beach? If so, then more power to you, Cleveland fans. It doesn’t seem right to me to let a man off the hook so easily after acting a mere four years ago like he was Satan incarnate. All of the complaints leveled against him in 2010, that he was going to Miami just for the wins, that he just went because of all the talent there, etc.; what do you think is happening right now? Good luck winning your titles, but don’t act as though there isn’t a whole lot of similarity between July 2010 and July 2014, method of announcement aside. While Cavaliers fans are ignoring this, however, I’ll just be sitting here, throwing darts at a picture of Carmelo Anthony while I pretend to give a damn about Pau Gasol and yearn for NFL training camp.
If you’re looking for some less salty opinions, you can visit my personal blog, Per audacia ad astra. I’m also always followable on Twitter.