Don’t Let LeBron Win

“I will be taking my talents to South Beach.”

These words will live in infamy in Cleveland sports fans’ hearts. On June 8, 2010, LeBron James became one of the most hated sports figures in Cleveland when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat on national TV.

Two years later, the King has his ring, and the Miami Heat is the NBA’s best team. James has realized his full potential and is unstoppable. Owner Dan Gilbert’s promises are unfulfilled and the Cavaliers, with lots of young talent, face another losing season.

The Heat beat the Cavs 110-108 Nov. 24 in Miami. The Cavaliers controlled almost the entire game, but were unable to pull out the win.

The Heat doesn’t come to town again until March 20.

When James is introduced, will we boo him? Will we scream obscenities as we did previously? Do we still hate him?

Senior John Longman does. He said he hates LeBron. “He abandoned us,” and hurt Cleveland and the Cavs, he said.

I don’t hate LeBron James. I don’t feel an urge to scream at him. I hate what he did, but I don’t hate him anymore.

Plain Dealer sports columnist Terry Pluto agrees. “I’m long past hating athletes,” he said in a phone interview. “There are much more important things than LeBron James.” Pluto said after a few years, you have to let the hatred go.

Pluto said although James left Cleveland, he didn’t take the franchise with him, like the late Art Modell did when he moved the Browns to Baltimore. “LeBron was a big name leaving,” said Pluto, “but the Cavs are still here.”

People still hate Modell because he took the team – and hundreds of jobs — away in the middle of the night. LeBron left in a very arrogant way, but he did not ruin the Cavaliers forever. They’re still in town, improving and recovering from his departure.

So stop hating LeBron. You can still dislike him for his arrogance and what he did, but he hasn’t ruined our lives or the city.

More importantly, start rooting for the Cavs. According to Pluto, Cleveland is a football town, and the Cavaliers are the least popular team here.

Does this mean we have forgotten about them since LeBron left? Has LeBron ruined our pride and hope in our team? LeBron left because he thought he could never win a ring in Cleveland. Is this the case?

I say no. Don’t let LeBron win. Let’s prove him wrong. Let’s give the Cavaliers fans to play for. Let’s show LeBron that you can win a championship in Cleveland.  

When LeBron and the Heat come, ignore him. Let’s cheer on our team, and not let him have his way.

Let’s go, Cavs!

 A version of this article appeared in print on 13 December 2012, on page 13 of The Shakerite

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