Well, we’re finally here. We’ve finally reached the point where LeBron James winning a championship seems all but inevitable. Thanks to some truly outstanding play on his part combined with a gift wrapping at the hands of the officials throughout the finals, LeBron and the Heat need only win tonight’s game to raise the first championship banner of not one, not two, not three…
After Tuesday’s game, a game the Thunder should have won (that’s something we could say about any of the prior games), I arrived at a horrifying realization. Surprisingly the horrifying realization has less to do about LeBron and the Miami Heat and more to do with myself. You see, one fact remains surrounding this sick and twisted soap opera that has unfolded for two seasons now.
I’m not over it… not even close.
I really thought I was over the decision and the effects that it had on not just the Cavaliers, but the city and fan base as a whole. I thought the anger had finally subsided and been replaced by a strange combination of curiosity combined with apathy. As a basketball fan I was curious to watch this all unfold. I wanted to see if Miami could pull this off or not. Did I take pleasure in each fall every step of the way? Was I publicly rooting against them? Yes on both accounts. But I always felt like when it came down to it I just wouldn’t care. Eventually LeBron WAS going to win his title and that would be that.
Now we’re at that point and I find myself boiling over with emotions I haven’t felt since July 8, 2010. No, it’s not to the same extreme heights, but they’re there… every single one of them. I don’t think I’m the only person who feels this way, or at least I hope I’m not. I can’t be the only one who falsely believed they had suppressed all the hurt and anger from a decision that really has no actual significant effect on my everyday life.
As the final seconds ticked away on Tuesday night and the Heat went up 3-1, it hit me like a ten ton sack of bricks, “LeBron is going to win a title.” It wasn’t this thought, but rather everything that would go along with it that instantly angered me.
The all but inevitable Nike/Powerade commercial with him having a Willis Reed type moment with the cramps. The praise from ever single corner of the sports universe for how great Lebron played and how awesome he is (I’m looking at you Magic Johnson). The imagery of him lifting up and hugging the Larry O’Brien trophy, crying the Michael Jordan like tears that everyone knows are coming. The press conference where someone inevitably mentions the collective “us” that is Cleveland and he gives the empty and ever ready PR answer. The victory parade where LeBron grabs the mic and goes on and on about how much he loves Miami and how much he did this for them.
That’s why I’m so angry, and hurt, and just upset about all of this. To quote Obi Wan Kenobi, “YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!” The one that would deliver us from the depth of championship drought hell. He was supposed to battle and never stop until he delivered us a title. It was his self-proclaimed mission… and he was one of us first and foremost. A Northeast Ohio kid looking to do something that no one had been able to do in some 40+ years.
And then he went to the dark side. He saw a better, easier situation with more flash and more pizzazz than anything Cleveland could offer. Rather than stand by our side the way we had stood by his through thick and thin, he ran. He ran to the arms of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and the cosmetically enhanced beauty of South Beach. Truth be told, the wounds have healed, but the scars remain. They’re still a continuing reminder of what happened and every time LeBron’s greatness is thrown in our faces it’s like someone asking us where we got that bitchin’ scar on our arm. Sure, at this point we make up a crazy story but secretly we think “How dare you ask me about this…again?” Like any scars they’re a disfigurement we’ve grown tired of.
So if tonight’s the night LeBron finally lifts the trophy, and it very well could be, I won’t be happy for him. I won’t sit and listen as ESPN holds its coronation ceremony for the King and his court. I’ll change the channel and move on with my life hoping and praying that this serves as some sort of closure; that everything has come full circle and we can finally close the book on this chapter of Cleveland sports torture. Just know that before I do I’ll have one simple and final thought on the whole thing.
That should have been us.