Last Thursday, LeBron James, ex-superstar of the Cleveland Cavaliers, handed the city one of the most heartbreaking nights of its life.
â€œThe Decision,â€ aired on ESPN as a one-hour show, effectively moved James from the greatest player the Cavs have ever had to one of the worst villains in Clevelandâ€™s history. What could have, and arguable should have been, a legacy has now been destroyed.
In the streets, fans cursed, screamed and burned James jerseys in response to his choice to join the Miami Heat. Now, instead of being called The King, he is being called The Traitor and The Backstabber.
The giant 10-story billboard of James in the city of Cleveland was torn down on Sunday. The mural, with the words, â€œWe are all witnesses,â€ couldnâ€™t have been more appropriate for this event.
Ratings for the telecast showed one-in-four homes in Cleveland had their televisions tuned to the program. The community of Cleveland certainly did witness James, and his decision to leave the city.
Cleveland has had their share of disappointment. The Fumble, The Drive, Red Right 88 and the final game of the 1997 World Series have all helped to lead to a city that hasnâ€™t won a Championship of any kind since 1964, when the Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship.
I understand the want to win a championship. Itâ€™s something that every NBA player wants and many will do crazy things to be a part of.
Jamesâ€™ decision to leave Cleveland is not the part that angered sports fans the most. It was the way he did it.
James touted the event as a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls club, which is great in theory, but in reality it was just a way to get everyone to focus on him, which is where he likes to be. He wants to be the center of attention.
In true narcissistic fashion, James decided to string several teams along, including the Knicks, the Heat and the Cavs so that the sports world was completely focused on â€œThe Decision.â€
James has been compared to Michael Jordan, and eight years ago, when James was just 17, â€œSports Illustratedâ€ showcased him on the cover and called him â€œThe Chosen One.â€ James even has this tattooed on his back.
The biggest difference between Jordan and James is class. Jordan would have never dumped a team on national TV. He would have at least had the guts to sit down and talk with the team in private.
Would the city still have been upset if James had done this? Of course.
Cutting a city and then pouring salt in the wounds by doing it on TV in front of millions, however, is just rude.
I hope that in time James decides to grow up and show a little more class.
I wish him the best in Miami, but I canâ€™t help but to root for a flop. Not because he isnâ€™t a good player and doesnâ€™t deserve a championship, which he does, but because sometimes one needs a slap in the face to get with it.
Cleveland majority owner Dan Gilbert expressed his distaste for James, and in an open letter to the fans of the Cavs said, â€œI PERSONALLYGUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF–TITLED FORMER â€˜KINGâ€™ WINS ONE.â€
I hope for his sake he is right. If James does win one soon, and with the likes of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, there is a good possibility of that happening, the city of Cleveland will be even more disappointed. There will always be the, â€œWhat could have been.â€
Robyn Scherer is a graduate student pursuing a masterâ€™s degree in integrated resource management. Her column will appear periodically throughout the summer. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.