I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, mostly in a little town called Geneva, about 50 miles east of Cleveland. I went to college in Cleveland. I lived in Cleveland, Geneva, and Ashtabula (10 miles east of Geneva) until 1980. I am now 61. Do the math: it means I lived there a long time.
I was in high school the last time a Cleveland sports team won a championship. That was in 1964 when the original Cleveland Browns knocked off the Baltimore Colts 27-0.
Even though I left a long time ago, I still rooted for the old teams. Well, until Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore (to replace the team moved in the middle of the night to Indianapolis by the Irsays). I tried rooting for the new Browns, but frankly the team is so badly run that it isn't much fun. As for the thugs in Baltimore, well, the less said the better.
But I still hang in there for the Indians (I don't know why, but I do). And I followed the Cavaliers because I was there with them in the days of Bill Fitch, the shrunken head, the wrong-way basket, and the losing..
My point is that when it comes to angst about Cleveland sports, I got cred.
So, just like current Clevelanders, I think LeBron James is the biggest jerk in the history of sports, which is really saying something in a world that has brought us A-Rod, Chad Eight Five, Beckham, Favre, and a host of other self-centered athletes who are juiced, stoned, or otherwise destroying themselves.
Therefore, I would like to offer a message to my fellow suffers in Cleveland in this, their time of sorrow:
Get over it.
That's right. Forget him. Your city, like most cities, has real problems. Instead of wailing over a multi-millionaire who appeared to have tanked it in the playoffs, get on with real life and make Cleveland a better place to live. Sports is for escape, not losing sleep (unless it's to stay up to watch a West Coast game). I mean LeBron made it clear Cleveland didn't mean much to him the first time he showed up wearing a Yankees cap at an Indians playoff game.
Look: Superstars leave teams every year. I mean the Indians traded not one, but two Cy Young winners (CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee) in consecutive seasons because they (and everyone else in Cleveland) knew they team couldn't re-sign them. I don't recall hearing all this anguish then.
It is universally agreed that LeBron's egomaniacal display, aided and abetted by ESPN, of having a 60 minute television show to announce that he was spitting in Cleveland's collective face was classless. Either James is a complete idiot on his own, or he's a complete idiot who trusts other idiots to advise him.
Fine. The city is better off without him. I'm sure there are plenty of wealthy idiots still in town. There's never a shortage.
And, when it comes to athletes, the number that care about the fans is shrinking all the time. They know that it's sponsors and television that pays them the big money, not the fans in the seats. The fact that it's those same fans who cause sponsors and television to pony up the big bucks is lost on these guys.
What Cleveland Cavalier fans should do is to support the team completely next season. Sell out all the games so owner Dan Gilbert can afford to build a good team that can challenge for a title. Support the TEAM, not an individual egotistical spoiled brat (hard to do in the NBA, I know). Show up and cheer them on. When they lose, give them a good hand at the end of the game.
Supporting the team would also show the rest of the world that's sobbing along with Cleveland that the city is made of sterner stuff. After all, they've survived Frank Lane, Art Modell, Butch Davis -- even Dennis Kucinich. Sell out the home season.
Well, sell out the season except for any games against Miami. For those games, no one should show up. Oh, the desire to come and boo and jeer at James is strong, but a collective turning of the back on him by presenting King James with an empty throne room would hit him where he lives.
Right in his big fat ego.