Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cleveland + LeBron James = Complicated

AP Photo.
After the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Championship, Cleveland fans celebrated as much as Mavericks fans did - maybe a little more. Most of the country "got" it. Most people finally - finally understood why Cleveland had been so upset with LeBron, particularly after his press conference. 

After the game, Lebron was asked by a reporter if it bothered him that people (Cleveland) wanted him to fail. Here was his response:
"Absolutely not. Because at the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.
They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal, but they have to get back to the real world at some point."
Thank you LeBron for helping to prove our point.

But still, there are some people that are calling Cleveland whiny and to cut LeBron a break. To understand Cleveland's relationship with LeBron, let me first describe it in a way that most people can understand and then we can go from there.

Picture it...we are kids together, LeBron and Cleveland. We knew each other since elementary school and we are finally high school seniors. All along, we have always had a little crush on LeBron. Over the years, we did his homework, decorated his locker, cheered for him at all of his games. We knew he would go far before anyone else did. We were proud of him.

He wasn't always grateful to the time we put sweet-tarts in his locker instead of nerds. He said he was going to transfer schools over it and we panicked...we bought nerds for the *whole* team. Whew. But he was one of us...a classmate, so we put up with his behavior. We told ourselves that it was ok. He was under pressure or it was our fault we forgot the nerds. When it came down to it, at long last, people all over the state would look at our school. They would see how awesome we are.

When it came to the end of our senior year, we were giddy with excitement. We thought for sure LeBron wanted to go to prom with us. So, we asked. And then we waited and waited and waited for his answer. We asked all of our friends to help nudge him along. There really was no other option we thought. He would totally go to prom with us. All those other girls that were going after him had nothing on us.

At the last moment, we got an answer. LeBron called and said that on the day of prom, to meet him in front of the Dairy Queen and he would pick us up. Yayyy! We bought the most beautiful dress, dipping into our college fund to pay for it. All of those years baby sitting little brats and shoveling out the manure from the horse stalls was totally worth it.

Mom and dad, Uncle Dan, and our cousins from Columbus chipped in and we got our hair and nails done, a purse and shoes dyed to match our dress perfectly.   We left nothing to chance. We were at our most stunning. We stood in front of the Dairy Queen in the middle of town, looking our best, grinning from ear to ear.

And we waited.

And waited.

As the afternoon wore on, people started to point and laugh, but we still thought he was coming for us. Teams of little leaguers started to stream in for their dilly bars. And still,  we waited.

Then the kid from study hall came over to us and then hopped on the picnic table with a megaphone, "Yo! Bron isn't going to prom with you. He is going chill with his boys instead."

Clouds started to swirl in the sky as it turned dark and started to rain. We had to walk home through the downpour in our uncomfortable, yet stylish shoes, as everyone laughed and pointed at us. "What a fool!" people yelled.

My question is who is the fool now?

Cleveland loved LeBron in a way no other city ever will. Had he stayed, ring or no ring, one day he would have had a statue in front of the Q and his jersey would have hung from the rafters.

LeBron made his decision and if he doesn't like the consequences of his decision, all I have to say is "tough." 

Welcome to the real world LeBron.

Getty images.

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