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Lebron James has bid adieu to Cleveland and the Cavaliers, choosing to take his quest for an NBA championship to Miami and the Heat. The tales in the leading newspapers of the two cities are as expected. There’s joy in Miami, where the Herald’s lead sentence tonight is “Size up the rings.” Meanwhile in Cleveland, The Plain Dealer cries “Heartbreak” on its homepage and on its Cavs section.
As a native Clevelander, I have standing to comment. And I’m not broken up, except perhaps for a transitory feeling of pity for the fans in Cleveland, Akron and elsewhere in Ohio and environs who live and breathe NBA basketball.
I started life as a television-bred New York Knicks fan, as we had no NBA franchise in Cleveland until the Cavaliers joined the league as an expansion team in 1970. Several woeful years begat several more woeful years, with a mediocre or even decent year here and there .
When the Cavs won the lottery for the right to pick Akron-raised James, the franchise suddenly became a blooming powerhouse. The Cavs never quite made it to the championship, and it’s going to be more difficult now, no matter what kind of ridiculous promises owner Dan Gilbert makes.
Cleveland fans, who know and more or less expect and accept heartbreak from their teams, will talk themselves silly about Lebron over the next few days.
My unsolicited advice to them is to mope for a day, maybe two. Then turn the radio on and listen to the Tribe, and maybe start thinking about the Browns’ season ahead. Dream about the championship that some day, as sure as the cold winter wind blows off Lake Erie, will come to town.