Never Tear Us Apart

By Ramzy Nasrallah on June 26, 2012 at 1:00p
76 Comments
LeBron hugging invisible ghost of Nell Carter #gimmeabreak

The second time was the charm.

For Clevelanders and way too many Ohioans, last year's third-party success of the Dallas Mavaliers gave way to last week's failure of OKCLE. On the surface, the proud state of Ohio had taken yet another one on the chin all because...Miami had beaten Oklahoma City in the NBA Finals?

Were it not for Urban Meyer's hiring and Ohio State's Final Four run, ESPN may have unleashed another Ohio-trolling graphic like this one. LeBron James inevitably became an NBA champion in a city other than Cleveland, which really made Cleveland the big loser, rather than Oklahoma City.

A recent survey of this year's NBA Finals found that only 12% of respondents were rooting for the Heat. That's less than half of those (27%) who were rooting for the Thunder, both of whom were dwarfed by the 61% who were rooting for "don't care."

This is despite the fact that only about 600,000 people live in Oklahoma City, whereas over five million people call Miami metro their home. Not that we needed census statistics to substantiate the widespread hatred for the Heat, but regional bias can be quickly ruled out of this exercise.

Last year it was understandable why - most notably, scorned Clevelanders - rooted for Dallas to beat Miami: The Mavericks were basically a Texas version of the Cavs franchise prior to Mark Cuban committing the organization to 1) staying in Dallas 2) competing for championships, and 3) embracing and relentlessly catering to the fan experience.

But pulling for Oklahoma City in this year's Finals was an outright embarrassment to Cleveland, with less self-awareness and more humiliation than was seen in The Decision.

It's fine to resent the way James pulled out of northeast Ohio for the only time in his life. The manner in which he discarded Cleveland at the expense of a manufactured mini-drama immediately transformed him into a convenient persona non grata for the masses.

Instead of hating James, it just made me love Cleveland more. When I woke up the following morning (coincidentally I was in Miami on business) and drove my rental car to my client, nearly all of the callers into the radio station I was listening to were mourning that their beloved Knicks hadn't landed King James.

Courtside at the Schott rooting on the 2012 Buckeyes (Getty)

That's South Florida in a nutshell: A terrific sports town - just not necessarily for the local teams. In a way it's the opposite of Cleveland. Or say, Seattle, which used to be an NBA city not too long ago.

For the better part of four decades, the Sonics were Seattle's team. They won a title and finished in the bridesmaid position two other times. Fans showed up for games. They wore the colors. They collectively gave a giant damn.

In 1995 the Sonics received a $100MM public subsidy that helped keep the team in Seattle. This occurred right around the time the Seattle Coliseum was rebranded as KeyArena.

As is often the case with professional sports teams owned by multi-millionaires and billionaires, the Sonics leadership wanted Washington taxpayers to pay to update KeyArena with more enhancements and accoutrements that would in turn help make the leadership more money and make the Sonics more profitable.

That didn't happen, so the mega-wealthy Sonics leadership sold the pride of Seattle to an Oklahoma City businessman named Clay Bennett, and if you didn't already know how the Sonics died and were reborn as the Thunder, you do now.

A beloved team with a championship heritage in a city teeming with fan passion and loyalty - despite being atrocious by way of criminal mismanagement for most of their final decade - decides to smite civic pride and defects to another town where it quickly reaches title contention: HEY CLEVELAND PEOPLE OLD ENOUGH TO VOTE, DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND EVEN VAGUELY FAMILIAR TO YOU?

James shouldered the burden of winning for the Cavs franchise and wanted relief; relief that would lend his career both longevity and gaudy jewelry. Sure, he was a homegrown guy, and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert openly exploited his genesis against him when he made his decision.

It is unique to have such a talent grow up and play for only in-state teams all the way to the highest level. But it isn't unprecedented - it's happened before. It actually happened in Cleveland.

The Cavs used a lottery pick to take Ron Harper in the 1986 draft. Harper was from Dayton and played at Miami (the glitzier one, in Oxford). In Cleveland he was a star and a fan favorite, averaging 23 ppg and racking up more of the good kind of statistics as a rookie.

The universally-panned Decision raised $2.5MM for charity.

He played for Cleveland through his rookie contract and wanted to stay home. It figured to be a no-brainer for the Cavaliers to extend the contract of a star player from Ohio.

But instead they traded him to the Clippers for Danny Ferry. To my knowledge, Harper did not publish a childish public letter admonishing that business decision.

Granted, this happened 15 years before Gilbert owned the Cavs, but rarely is there any degree of loyalty between organizations and players. They're contractual adversaries and necessary but reluctant partners in professional sports.

Players are shopped around every offseason as disposable assets, and once they become free agents like James they shop themselves around. Harper was a product of the former while James took his talents away from Cleveland by way of the latter.

The Cavs are a franchise with a management track record that rivals the Mavericks' pre-Cuban. Their history of management failure doesn't even start with taking Vitaly Potapenko over Kobe Bryant, Peja Stojakavich, Steve Nash and Jermaine O'Neal. Miami is run by title collector Pat Riley and already had two superstars waiting for him. James had leverage and wanted to extend his career.

Had he graciously left Cleveland he might still have a more significant fanbase in Ohio, but there's no way a graceful exit would have generated the same kind of knee-jerk psychosis that resulted in the greater part of Ohio desperately and ironically rooting for what's basically the NBA reincarnation of the Baltimore Ravens.

You had two unfortunate choices to hitch your emotions to: The Miami Heat, deliberately constructed to be title-contending villains, or the Oklahoma City Thunder - a wildly entertaining and exiting young team that only exists because a coffee billionaire couldn't get the people of Seattle to pay for his team's stuff.

So perhaps those 61% in that survey who were rooting for "don't care" had it right, regardless of their intent.

Team owners in the American professional sports monopsony freely leverage the marketability of city names for profit. The players try to get as much payoff as possible until time inevitably transforms them into former players.

Had James stayed in Cleveland and won a title his legacy would have been unparalleled in American basketball history. But instead he took the path of least resistance to a championship ring, which was his own choosing.

That makes him just another exceptional player with a ring, just as the Heat are just another professional sports champion.

You know, like the Baltimore Ravens.

76 Comments

Comments

Pfef's picture

 
Confused as to what this has to do with Ohio State athletics.

DJ Byrnes's picture


 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

tennbuckeye19's picture

Holy P.J. Hill sighting, Batman!
Sidenote: Do you think Titus is photo-bombing?

BrewstersMillions's picture

I find it pretty funny. As easy as things were supposed to be for Miami-its been quite the opposite. I think the talking heads (and the players themselves) that christened them the next great dynasty underestimated 1) How good the remainder of the NBA was and 2) How pissed off other teams are when they play Miami. Grant it the Finals looked easy but Boston and Indiana both had Miami on the ropes this year, and but for a colossal collapse in G2, OKC could have had them with a knife to their throat.
I don't get worked up by the way stars align in the NBA. Paul went out to LA, Carmello forced his way to NY. Howard will probably team up with another big name soon in a major market (Hey Dwight, there's this guy Derek-his knee hurts. He really needs your help....) Its today's NBA. Major markets attract major talent. So if you are a fan of a team outside of LA, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, or New York, the NBA might not be that fun for you. Again, its how the league is going to work.
I'm sure plenty of people will come on here and say that they will be mad at LeBron for HOW he did it forever and I do get that. I just hope people don't let that cloud their opinion otherwise because this series should have shown everyone how much James has grown up. Its easy to see the punk that did the decision, I hope you look past it and see the guy who talked to Doc Rivers, then Kevin Durant (while Wade was acting like a jackass, FWIW) after he bested their respective teams. You do not win in the NBA alone. Dirk didnt do it, Michael didn't do it, Kobe didn't do it, Shaq didn't do it. Cleveland didn't do as much for LeBron as LeBron did for Cleveland.
It will always be fun to hate LeBron, I get it. But the reasons he's hated are going to be outdated really soon.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

Baroclinicity's picture

The viewpoints are never really going to be comparable between those from and not from NE Ohio. 
You don't get worked up about how the NBA lines up because (I'm assuming you're a Chicago fan) your team has a better chance than most to come out of it ok.  Cleveland does not have that luxury.  Will anyone ever sign in Cleveland?  I don't see it at this point, strictly speaking from a market frame of reference.
I said a few days ago that James winning it probably will do all sides a lot of good at this point.  We, as Cleveland fans, will carry the sour taste for a long time... but we can officially move on.  I didn't want him to win, but I find myself a week later feeling relieved it's over.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Well when you are right, you are right. I don't get worked up over the NBA because during my sports formative years, I saw the greatest athlete of all time win 6 times in 8 years and witnessed sports' best team ever win an astounding %87 of its games en route to number 4. I was spoiled. That's why the Derek thing doesn't bother me. I don't like that he will be the NBA's next 'LeBron in Cleveland' if Chicago doesn't get him something else but I've seen the top of an unreachable mountain.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

Denny's picture

We, as Cleveland fans, will carry the sour taste for a long time... but we can officially move on.

Absolutely. Cleveland needs a lot of moving on, rather than playing bitter ex. I've been guilty of it too, but letting go feels pretty damn good.

Taquitos.

BuckeyeW's picture

I'm glad for him. He's the best basketball player I've seen in the last 10 years and he doesn't deserve all the nonsensical criticism about his talent or ability.
But I'm absolutely gutted that he left Cleveland and did it somewhere else. 

SPreston2001's picture

Im absolutely happy for the guy. He's such a wonderful person and athlete yet people treat him like crap for one bad decision (the decision). Outside of that the guy has been a model citizen and a great role model. Cleveland fans get over it!! He gave that City the best 7yrs of basketball ever. He left, which he had every right to do even though I dont agree with the way he left.... Congrats LBJ your a champion...

spqr2008's picture

eSECpn is just so mature.  They make my invective regarding the bowl ban dropping on my birthday look rational and reasoned.  I am so glad I dropped cable and now no longer pay them $10 a month.  I'd rather watch a game at a bar anyways.

nickma71's picture

Danny Ferry looked every bit as good as the other white guy, Larry Legend. In fact, possibly better. I asked Wayne Embry why at a Centerior public board meeting and he claimed there were other things involved (in the Ron Harper trade). That made the rumored fight between him and Brad Daugherty seem plausible.

Rx Script Ohio's picture

I agree with parts of this, but you're leaving out how OKC is exactly what Cleveland is aiming to become, a small market team that drafts a humble star and hopes to build a core around him through the draft. Sure Cleveland rooted against LBJ, but they also rooted FOR a team that Cleveland can relate to and aspires to be at their level.

Denny's picture

I'm certainly not glad that LeBro won a ring on Team Voltrons, but I'm glad that it's time to move on. When he left Cleveland I hoped that he would lose to the Thunder, and said that was my extent of ill-will. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but still it's nice having the inevitable ring out of the way so we can get past the way LeBro left.

Taquitos.

Brad's picture

As far as hating Lebron goes, I do, a lot, not so much because he left, moreso because he quit in that Boston series. I never hear that one anywhere though, am I the only one that pretty much quit on him after seeing him quit on us?

BrewstersMillions's picture

Just curious, had LBJ not gone to Miami after that season, stayed in Cleveland, and won a title either that year or this year, would you be singing the same tune?

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

Baroclinicity's picture

And that's a great point.  I don't know how I feel about that Boston series, because at this point, I've been so badly corrupted with talk of him giving up.  I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I likely chalked it up as a bad game at the wrong time.  If asked now, I say he quit.  Probably to vaildate irrational feelings on my part.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

If he was planning on staying in Cleveland, he probably wouldn't have quit in that series.

Class of 2010.

OSUBias's picture

Not alone, that was my breaking point. I just couldn't understand how he could seemingly give up and waste all of that talent.
That being said, I was rooting for him this season. As a fairly casual NBA fan (OSU sports get 98% of my energy), mostly what I want to see is greatness. So I was rooting for Lebron to overcome whatever personal demons were haunting his game in clutch moments and be great. And he was. For the whole playoffs, he played at an astoundingly high level. It was fun to watch because of that.
It's the same reason during a golf tournament so many people focus on Tiger. Because people love to WITNESS (yup I went there) greatness. And those guys have a ceiling that seemingly nobody else in their professions can currently match. So, when I don't have a vested interest in either team (read as "any game not involving OSU"), I root for awesomeness to happen. And when it does, I feel better having gotten the chance to see it.

Shitter's full

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

I don't see how anyone can say LeBron took the path "of least resistance" because he went to the Heat. If you mean he went from a super shitty team to a great team by that, then OK, but say that instead. No team in the NBA has won a championship with one superstar and a bunch of nobodies since Dr. J. did it with the 76ers. And I think he had two All-star teammates, but that was before my time. Point being, Magic had help, Jordan had help, Bird had help, Shaq and Kobe had help, Wade had help, etc., etc. The fact that EVERY Cleveland fan conveniently neglects to mention is that LeBron didn't and knew he never would with the Cavs. That is why he took his talents to South Beach. Do I agree with the nonsense that went with it on ESPN, no. But I choose not to watch it. He carried that team to an NBA Finals. Alone! If we as Buckeye fans are proud of our March Madness runs these last two seasons, then those same people who are Cavs fans should be proud of LeBron for carrying that team to the Finals. Were you mad at Oden, Conley, Cook, and Sully for bailing on tOSU before winning a title? Probably not...

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Except that the Cavaliers went 66-16 in 2008-09--still the best record any James team has ever had, including the so-called superteams he's been on the last two seasons. The 2009-10 Cavs then went on to start 61-17 before tanking their last 4 games as starters were rested. It's easy NOW to say that "of course those Cavaliers teams were never winning it all," but it certainly wasn't obvious at the time. 
LeBron had the right to leave as a free agent, and I have the right to think less of him for taking the easy road to a championship instead of manning up and assuming leadership with the Cavs.
As far as it being somehow wrong to root for OKC in the finals, hey, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I have friends in Seattle and I know they felt differently (especially since their title drought is second only to Cleveland among 3-sport cities, or former 3-sport cities in their case), but we come at it from different perspectives--and it's not like Seattle is the constant subject of scorn everywhere you turn in the media. What LeBron did was pour a heap of salt in a wound that was already there.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

DMcDougal24's picture

I'm not sure of your angle here Ramzy. 
Anyway, I don't understand why Cleveland is endlessly mocked for cheering on whoever is playing the Heat. How is it any different for Cleveland fans cheering for Kansas City to beat Pittsburgh, or for Buckeye fans to cheer on Northwestern against Michigan?
I was born and raised in Akron. I hate LeBron. I love the Cavs. Is it not possible for me to love the Cavs, support the Cavs, and still hate LeBron and the Heat? Sure it is. Who is to tell me not to do that? 

LouBuck35's picture

Did you always root against the Miami Heat prior to LeBron going there, in the fashion that you described?  It is different than Cleveland rooting against whoever is playing Pittsburgh or Ohio State pulling for the Wildcats against Michigan.  It's different because those scenarios you described are long established rivalries between teams in the same conference.  There are long standing rivalries lasting ten, twenty, one hundred years.  Cleveland and Miami don't have that rich of a history on the basketball court.
You can certainly pull for the Cavs and have a negative opinion about LeBron and wish him all the ill will in the world, if that's your cup of tea.  But for Cleveland fans to take up the flag and play this whole "OKCle" thing, is a bit crazy.  You didn't make a TShirt saying "The Ohio State University of Florida" when the Gators played a bowl against Michigan a few years ago did you??  The thought of it makes me want to puke, and goes to show that fans of the Cavs or Cleveland in general take it to another level on this matter. 

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

DMcDougal24's picture

Okay then I will just hate Miami for a really long time so that it becomes a "established rivalry." To your point, the creation of all rivalries began at some perhaps trivial moment. To your point about t-shirts, I didn't hang a OKC Flag or make an "OKCle" t-shirt for the finals, I just hoped and hoped that they would take down Miami so I could watch LeBron lose. Sure, it's petty, but I don't understand why others make it their business to tell people from NEOh to move on.

BrewstersMillions's picture

I can't tell you why most people do, I can tell you why I feel that way-its exactly as you said. Its petty. It makes it difficult to engage in meaningful sports conversations with someone when their stance on LeBron is so immature and out dated. You are absolutely free to feel how you want about LeBron, I am absolutely free to feel how I do about bitter Cavs fans. In sports, heck even in today's NBA there are plenty of guys to hate for plenty of good reasons but somehow LeBron's crimes do not fit his punishment. He plays the game right, he works hard at his craft, he's a model team mate and citizen but everything Cleveland Cavs fans say about him is generally rooted in one foolish decision he made in his mid twenties (One that was charitable at that). He gave the Cavs seven years to build around him and played every game of his contact but for injury. Quite frankly, when I hear things like "The Weasel" or "The Quitness" or "Queen James" it just comes off as weak. The guy is growing up before your eyes but no matter what he does, he'll always be the guy that quit. Turn your frustration at the franchise that let him leave-that's my suggestion.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

DMcDougal24's picture

My distaste for LeBron.. I am from Akron (as is he), I watched him grow up, I watched him at St. V-M, and I cheered happily along with all of NEOh when the Cavs drafted him. It was a match made in heaven - the phenom was coming to his hometown to bring a title that it was starved for. That all sounds nice and good, right? What gets me is that LeBron fed into that crap. He was quoted as saying (paraphrasing very slightly) "I have a goal and that's a huge goal, and that's to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland. and I'm not stopping until I do." 
Then, 07 came. LeBron was unbelievable and carried us through the Piston series into a NBA Finals matchup against the Spurs. We were desperately outmatched and were accordingly swept. That was fine.
Then 08 came. We drew the Magic, a mismatch for the Cavs. LeBron bailed us out with one of the greatest shots ever to avoid an 0-2 hole, but we just couldn't overcome Turkoglu and Howard.
Then 09 came.. We built our team to match Orlando, but we were forced to play a resurgent Boston team. LeBron quit. We had a chance to take control of the series in game 5 at home and LeBron turned in a performance that can only be matched by the Black Sox scandal. I won't go over that more than this cursory view.
I don't know why he quit and I probably never will. Dan Gilbert promised to reveal what caused this in the infamous letter linked above, but I'm sure the power-suits at the NBA or lawyers representing LeBron put an end to that before it could come out. Until I hear otherwise, I am forced to believe that LeBron learned of the Delonte-affair shortly before game 5 and did not recover.
Then he pulls the ultimate quit-job by leaving Cleveland to join his super-best-friends in Miami all for the pursuit of a title. I don't get carried away with the "how he did it" routine, but to say that he shoved it in our face is an understatement. 
Then the post-Decision LeBron started. The one that "never liked Cleveland" and pointed out that "no one from Akron likes Cleveland" (which, btw, is completely and 100% false. Maybe in 1930, but not today. Then he blasts his former teammates and management, without so much of a cursory apology to the fans that supported him without end for the majority of his life. I especially enjoyed when LeBron went out of his way to say that he's a champion and he didn't take any shortcuts to get there. What LeBron & Co. did was the ultimate shortcut. 
Much of this people will find petty. I'm okay with that. But I think my reasoning for disliking LeBron is well-founded. LeBron traded his integrity so that he can chase Jordan and Russell for the most championship rings ever- seemingly never realizing that if he could win just one in Cleveland he would be immortalized not only in Cleveland but among the all-time NBA greats. 

BrewstersMillions's picture

I find that last paragraph fascinating. Would multiple titles in Miami mean less than one title in Cleveland? Do you think Cleveland built around LeBron to the best of their abilities? Do you blame the Cavs at all for any of this or is it all on LeBron?
He has said and done some immature things, my contention is the LeBron we saw this year alone is different than the one that left Cleveland and clinging to the hatred fueled by an immature James is kinda crappy.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

buck-I.8's picture

Im from Akron as well and this accurately sums up my feelings as well. Well said..
I certainly appreciate LeBron for being an asset to his community, as I often work with Akron Public Schools, to whom he has donated money and computers, and I've worked the Lebron James Shooting Stars Classic (which I suppose belongs to Dru Joyce now more than LeBron. 
Part of it is as the above post puts it, but it's also that I simply don't like arrogant athletes, and there is most certainly a difference between being confident and being downright arrogant. LeBron wears shirts with his face on them, makes comments like the ones about how he gets to wake up every morning as a celebrity and Clevelanders don't, and he just acts like an asshole. I was at St. V last week and was interviewed about my feelings, and as I told the reporter, there is no bitterness left. I'm glad he won, and we don't have to hear about his "not being clutch" anymore. May Skip and co. will find a new subject. My statement is as I said above: I don't respect him as a person, in the same way that I don't respect Ochocinco, or Ron Artest, or Tiger Woods. These athletes put themselves on pedestals, and distance themselves from the common people that they once were, and it's pathetic. These are all great athletes, but as soon as you let that get to your head and become more to yourself than an entertainer (because that's what sports really breaks down to), then there's an issue. And people just feed into the issue.

LouBuck35's picture

I hate to sound like a LeBron apologist, because I'm not.  But unfortuntately these days the phrase "arrogant athlete" tends to be the rule and not the exception.  Artest and Ocho are lunatics, but athletes like Tiger Woods and LeBron didn't put themselves on pedastals..WE did.  Fans did.  The media did.  Tiger was on TV putting when he was essentially a baby.  LeBron was a phenom from an early age and took Ohio high school sports by storm when St V St M won a state title when he was a freshman.  Surely, LeBron didn't ASK for SVSM to go on a nationwide tour or have games featured on ESPN or be on the covers of newspapers,etc.
This just speaks to sports' place in society and how, whether you like it or not, athletes aren't treated like "common people" in any other facet of their life.  They are expected to be superhuman on the court/field, give back millions of their dollars to the community, be role models to your children and the list goes on.  But when they display pieces of themselves that don't jive with how we think we should do things, it turns into a "oh they are so arrogant, they are distancing themselves from us commoners."  I just don't get how both are always supposed to co-exist.  Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of examples of the opposite.  But how Jeremy Lin may handle himself in the media should not be a guide to how the most prolific, talented athletes of our time who have been worshipped by the locals since their pre-teens handle their own business.

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

BrewstersMillions's picture

"Tiger Woods and LeBron didn't put themselves on pedastals..WE did.  Fans did.  The media did"
One Million internets to you, sir.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

buck-I.8's picture

I agree, @Lou, which is why we should respect guys like Lin all that much more. This is the sad cycle of athletics in this country

biggy84's picture

It is funny how people form opinions without knowledge. Too many lemmings that listen to the tabloid sports media and believe everything they hear. It also cracks me up when people who aren't fans of a team tell others how they should feel.
Points that people are missing: a) Lescum dictated the players he played with! People who claim the Cavs didn't surround him with talent are flat out wrong. The Cavs mortgaged the future many times (Shaq, Jamison, etc) to appease him. Dan Gilbert is a dedicated owner who has never been frugal with the Cavs. b) The biggest problem is that Lescum told the orginization that he was staying all along. Dan Gilbert had no idea that Lescum was leaving (hence the reason Lescum didn't return his calls right before the decision) because Lescum told him he was staying! c) The team was left without any compensation due to the deceit. The team wouldn't have done the deals they did, or would have done, if they had known. He flat out lied and screwed the entire organization by doing what he did.
As Bruce Drennan, a NE Ohio icon said; "don't you dare tell me i don't have the right to hate Lescum!"

buck-I.8's picture

@BIGGY Funny that you would cite Drennan when calling LeBron the scummy one.

biggy84's picture

I only cited what he said, I didn't use him as a character witness. I would buy old Bruce a Galley Boy for his shared contempt of Lescum :)
 

buck-I.8's picture

Haha I'm not a Galley Boy fan so I don't know if that's positive or not, but I'd buy him a nice padded room in which to run his trap.

DMcDougal24's picture

Buck-I.8 being from Akron, have you ever noticed the Cleveland-Akron resentment that LeBron spoke of?

buck-I.8's picture

@DMC not really, and if anything it's one way. Clevelanders often resent Akron because even though it isn't as large, it's more progressive, it's a pretty nice looking city, there's a decent amount to do, and it doesn't get the rap that Cleveland does. This causes people from Cleveland to say that Akron isn't a city, but this is out of spite if you ask me. I think they're both great places to live if you pick the right places, and I love spending time in both cities.

dbit's picture

@DMCDOUGAL24
Great post.  Also from NE Ohio and I agree with your viewpoint.  
Also, the line that stuck out to me was where you said if he won just one in Cle, then he would be immortalized.  Good stuff.

LouBuck35's picture

Just for the record, I wasn't wrongly accusing you of making said T shirts, but the fact that people took time to do it is slightly confusing.  You are right about the rivalries, but at some point, I feel that Cleveland and Miami would need some level back and forth to be the genesis of that.  That will require Cleveland to continue to make improvements, which still may be a little while off.
I feel that rooting against LeBron and pulling for another team are two totally differnet things, although they appear to go hand in hand.  I can always pull for Big Ben Rapethlisberger to snap an ankle without putting my support behind the Cowboys to do so. 
Dislike the player, hope he does poorly and doesn't win and take satisfaction from their dissatisfaction.  The people (not you) who fly the flag are a whole different collection of individuals.

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

WyoBuckeye's picture

Nice article.  But I still do not like LeBron.  I will root against him any chance I get.  I never blamed him for leaving Cleveland.  But I do blame him for two things:
1.  For stringing along Cleveland fans and making a mockery of the process
2.  For quiting in the playoffs in 2010 (when he already knew damn well he was going to leave).
Nothing can be said about LeBron will ever change my mind about this.  I hope this year's title is his last and only.  Because I can't root for athletes just for their talent alone.  I root for teams because teams are what makes sports great, not the athletes that comprise those teams. 

petebuc52's picture

Number 2 is the thing that iks me the most (game 5 against Boston) I will always remember the feeling of "is this guy pointshaving" , "what his problem" and he's seems detached or in check-out mode...Some folks dont forget...fool me once... 

tennbuckeye19's picture

I'm doing my best as a lifelong Cavs fan to move on and focus on the future of the franchise. I am excited to see the Cavs in the next couple years with Kyrie Irving and company. 
I've said it before, but for me the biggest thing that sucks about LeBron winning is that he's doing it elsewhere. I wish he was still in Cleveland. But it is what it is. 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Seriously - enough with the Lebron James shit!!!  The man can play basketball, he made some mistakes, did some stupid things, then, in the end, did what was best for himself.  Move on and get on with your lives - I don't come on here, or give a rats ass about anything outside of Ohio State so please, let's stick to that, eh!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

tennbuckeye19's picture

Fellow Cleveland Fans: Who do you dislike more, Art Modell or LeBron? 
For me its not even close, its Modell. 

OSUBias's picture

Modell x 1,000,000,000,000,000,000

Shitter's full

William's picture

Modell is a POS. It's that simple. LeBron left to go pursue a ring, while he did it in a rather horrid fashion, he had every right to leave. Modell on the other hand moved one of the most storied franchises in the NFL to another city and essentially told Clevelanders to F@ck off and go fall in a ditch. 

Alex's picture

I'm not even a Cavs fan and I still root against the Heat....just feel they took the easy way out...it was within the rules so can't be too bitter, but just feel that if this team was built by a combination of real trades (not sign and trades of draft picks), draft picks, and valuable role player free agent additions it would be different...these 3 chose the easy way out and in my mind their ring isn't held as highly in my thoughts as say the Mavs' of last year...not that any of those three care what I have to say

JasonBuck's picture

Couldn't agree with you more, it's not so much the fact they won (it was bound to happen) it's HOW they won.  Definitely not on the same level as Jordon, Johnson, Bird, and any other great player who stuck with their team till they built a solid championship team.

BrewstersMillions's picture

By year 7 Michael had gotten Scottie and Horace Grant on his side. The Bulls made a commitment to win and a commitment to Michael. He had every reason to believe the Bulls were behind their superstar because he was given help.
No one harbors any ill will towards the Cavs do they?

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

buck-I.8's picture

Speak for yourself, I have a lot of resentment towards the Cavs. Inaction during free agency and inability to put a supporting cast together made lose all respect for the current front office. But that doesn't mean nothing is placed on LeBron.

BrewstersMillions's picture

I'm cool with that man, as long as its all not placed on LeBron. He may have 'quit' but the Cavs never really tried. I see where you are coming from.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

tennbuckeye19's picture

I do lay a great deal of responsibility for LeBron's departure on the Cavs organization. 

Whosisbrew's picture

Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, eventually Dennis Rodman, and a wealth of superb scorers and defenders to fill out the roster
Magic Johnson had Kareem Abdul Kabar, James Worthy, Bob McAdoo, etc.
Larry Bird played with Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and Cedric Maxwell and later Bill Walton coming off the bench.
LeBrom plays with ONE other great player, who wasn't even playing up to his ability, and suddenly the title doesn't mean as much? I have to, resoundingly, disagree. Regardless of how the team was constructed.

DMcDougal24's picture

I absolutely hate when people make this argument.. It honestly makes you sound like you have an iPod filled with Stephen A. Smith and you sit around playing it on "Repeat" all day.
Jordan didn't win for seven years, but he didn't bail. Bird played with the Celtics his whole career. Magic was always with the Lakers. If LeBron would have been patient and actually committed to Cleveland, to bringing in free agents (look it up, he didn't do sh&t), and to signing more than a three year contract the front office would have had MUCH more flexibility. Let's not forget how he flirted with the media just about every road game and constantly answered questions about his free agency, never once declaring that he is committed to the Cavaliers. 

BrewstersMillions's picture

Alex, Forgive me if I choke on the irony of this post-coming from a Yankees fan.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

Alex's picture

baseball is completely different in that there is no salary cap...if it makes you feel better I am in favor of some sort of salary cap in baseball...just because my dad was born in the Bronx and I grew up in NJ as a Yankee fan doesn't mean I agree that my whole team should be bought...I think in baseball the Yankees definitely have a built in advantage---to me it's about using their $ on the right players though...not just buying all these big names....also, all owners in baseball can spend the $, most choose not to....different argument different day

BrewstersMillions's picture

I'm sorry, I just don't agree. There has never been a cheapened championship ring in the history of championships. The single hardest thing to do at any level in any sport is be the last man standing. Miami endured everyone's best shot during a grueling and weird NBA season and they came out on top. I don't care how that team was built. It means just as much as Dirk's.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

Poison nuts's picture

WORD.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

Alex's picture

to me, in my head, with the nature of the sport it doesn't but as I said I am not clamoring for an asterisk or anything of the sort...they won it fair and square...were the best team in the NBA this year wire to wire IMO....just have never seen a team built like this in a sport with a salary cap and feel that LeBron took the easy way out

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

To me, LeBron will always be a self-righteous, arrogant, self-entitled, attention-seeking coward who took the easy way out, but yet, he expects everyone to like him.  He was a part of a team that won an NBA championship, but he's not a true champion.  He will always be a paper champion to me.

Class of 2010.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Dominating the Thunder and Celtics didn't do it for you? Take LeBron off the Heat, do they win the title this year?

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

tennbuckeye19's picture

Here's a hint: The answer is NO. 

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Bwuhahaha....really? A paper champion? He was the LEAGUE MVP and Finals MVP, am I right?

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

Denny's picture

Say what you will about his attitude, etc.: LeBron was other-worldly to finish out that Finals series.

Taquitos.

dbit's picture

This is why I was rooting for OKC:
 
 

DMcDougal24's picture

Exactly. He didn't need the glamour and the media publicity surrounding his free agency "process". Also, by committing for five years he has implicitly assured free agents, teammates, and the front office that he is committed to the team. LeBron signed his little three year opt-out contracts and constantly flirted with the media about different teams. 

BrewstersMillions's picture

Ok. I'm cashin out here. Cavs hate for LeBron has now reached PSU love for Paterno.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

DMcDougal24's picture

I read your earlier posts.. Do you really think that the LeBron we saw this postseason could not have won a champsionship with the Cavs? I think he would have.

OSUBias's picture

That's an interesting question. I'd lean towards "no" just because of how much Wade and Bosh stretched the floor and made it easier on him. Yes Lebron made huge strides this year, but I'm not sure he does that without those other guys taking some of the pressure off him. Also, the random supporting cast guys for the Heat played big in a way that the Cavs guys always didn't. But I'm willing to reconsider if a thoughtful argument sways me.

Shitter's full

Alex's picture

I do too.....last year taught him a lot I think.....put this year LeBron on the Cavs during his last year and they win it all IMO

pcon258's picture

i will never make the mistake of underestimating how divided people are over lebron. i was watching the eastern conference finals in a greyhound station in cleveland, and two 35 year old men almost came to blows over whether lebron should have left. 
As a neutral observer (I don't root for any NBA teams), I think that people had a right to be at least a little angry at first, but at some point, you have to move on. While most people don't see it this way, the NBA is first and foremost a business. Even if you loved where you worked, if you were offered a raise and better benefits, wouldn't you move on as well? It would be sad to leave the company you loved, but sometimes you've got to "get yours." 
Sorry folks, but its time to move on. 

Jdadams01's picture

You know, the Lebron case is an interesting study because of many reasons. It was almost the perfect storm. Ohioans are naturally defensive because even when we succeed, we seem to get ripped. Great high school and college football? Still dogged. Some of the most loyal fans in all of sports? We're stupid Midwesterners with no life. Good academic institutions? They're farmers who are hillbillies at heart.
With Lebron, we had something that no one else could touch. We had the most physically gifted basketball player ever. He did things nightly that no one else could. And he repped Ohio. Would rave about how he loves his home and would support the hometown school that he grew up loving even though he skipped college. He crowed about the love he had for Cleveland and the fans. And we embraced him and placed him on a throne. We called him King and used him as a sports trump card. And then he left, publicly embarrassing us. And we again got dogged about not being good enough. That's why Ohioans hate Lebron. He was our sports hope and our star that no one else had and when he too trolled us, it was the ultimate summation of everything we hear from the SEC, ESPN, Steelers fans, Cardinals fans, Michigan fans, Texas fans, USC fans, etc. He was supposed to be the guy for us and he constantly said he would be. But then when he exercised his right to leave, it just felt like the final slap in the face.
I'll never hate the man because it was his right to leave, but he's no different than the SEC to me now. 

Jdadams01's picture

Also agree with others about him taking the easy road. Jordan's take was the best. He said that when he played, he never wanted to join Ewing and Barkley. He wanted to beat them. That's why Lebron will never be mentioned in the same breath as Jordan. 
Also agree that winning 1 in Cleveland would probably have more impact than him winning 3 in Miami with Wade.

JDupler's picture

I will never forgive him for the quit game vs. Boston in '10, or the tv show, or the party the next day...but it does seem he has grown up, and as a bitter Cavs fan, I have too.  I enjoy watching the best players/teams play at their best...and the Ravens' super bowl hurt a hell of a lot more than a Miami title (I did turn off the tv in the 4th though)...I am a little happy for LeBron because this year and playoffs he was getting killed and didn't deserve any of it.  Time to root for Irving and Co. and hopefully meet Leb and a fading Heat team in the playoffs down the road.  I do hate that those sh*tty miami fans have another instant-title.  f*ckers.

bjwagner93's picture

Ramzy, I usually love your articles, but I think this one was off base.
1.  Your reasons for why Cavs fans rooted for the Mavericks last year are flat out wrong.  I simply wanted LeBron to lose.  It had nothing to do with any perceived similarities between the Cavs and Mavs.  I wanted the Thunder to win this year for the exact same reason I wanted the Mavs to win last year.
2.  To somehow expect Cavs fans to want LeBron to beat the Thunder because of sympathy for the city of Seattle is ridiculous.  I'm a sports fan, not a rational thinker.  I think it was wrong for the Sonics to move, but to expect me to be ok with LeBron winning because a team moved from a city I care nothing about is crazy.
3.  Other commenters have brought this up, but you're completely missing the fact that LeBron quit against the Celtics in 2010.  I can't even describe how enfuriating it was to watch LeBron destroy the Celtics by himself in Game 6 this year after watching him lay down against them with the Cavs.  Anyone who claims LeBron didn't quit in that series didn't watch the games.  I will never forgive him for that.
I don't by any means hate LeBron the person.  He's done a hell of a lot of good for Akron (a lot of it not publicized), and he should be commended for that.  However, I can't stand LeBron the basketball player.
When the Heat won it all, that confirmed in LeBron's mind that he made the right decision.  I was hoping one day he would realize that he made the wrong decision.  That's the main reason I was rooting against the Heat.  Everything else was secondary.