Friday, December 3, 2010

LeBron James and Cleveland

In my ways LeBron James and Cleveland made perfect sense. A somewhat local guy (Akron) played a sport so well that he inspired a football city to become a basketball city. He promised to bring a championship to a city that doesn't win championships. He made basketball fun and the city embrace him.

However, even before the decision one thing never quite worked between LeBron and Cleveland. One thing that was made especially clear last night while watching the Heat-Cavs. Cleveland fans might be a lot of things including irrational and mean, but the one thing that trumps all of that though is that Cleveland fans are passionate. Quite simply they care. They care more than they probably should, but they care. LeBron James doesn't care. And I write this as a fan of LeBron.

Since LeBron was a junior in high school he has been getting national attention thanks to the Sports Illustrated cover. Since then he hasn't had a life without national media attention. My theory is that he just basically blocks it out. The media attention isn't anything but white noise in the background of his life. He has his friends, his teammates and enough people to like him that it really doesn't matter what other people think. I could see that clearly last night when he was joking around near the Cavs bench and Cleveland fans were standing up shooting at him in a visibly upset manner. LeBron wasn't happy, upset or even affected by the shouts because I just don't think he gives a damn.

In some ways the fact that Cleveland fans care so much defines them as fans. It isn't that surprising when you read stories of Cleveland fans lamenting their title drought or talking about The Drive, The Shot, The Decision, etc. The fact that Cleveland cares is what made everyone know that LeBron was going to be treated with a lot of hostility last night. LeBron doesn't care and hasn't cared for awhile. He can wear Yankees hats to Indians games. He can do funny dances on the sidelines during games. He can even do interesting Nike commercials. He can pick a team like Miami and not be upset about the media's critique of him being a sidekick on a team with no fans and little chance of affecting his legacy. He can do all of this because he doesn't care. Michael Jordan has always cared even to this day. Kobe is the same way. LeBron is different. LeBron is a great player, who doesn't care and is hated because of that.

1 comment:

Eric said...

OK Go sings a wonderful song that Cleveland fans should listen to...

"Get, get, get, get, get over it..."