LeBron James Holds Key To Relevance Of Cleveland Ohio

Chris BurnhamContributor IJanuary 26, 2010

The Day of Reckoning is nigh. The one person who lifts a certain downtrodden lakeside metropolis could be on his way out of town.

It's the one thing that cannot happen.

For all of the jokes that the city of Cleveland has been on the receiving end of, LeBron James silences the noise. He is the icon that Jim Brown still is. The icons that Manny Ramirez or CC Sabathia could have become.

LeBron James is Ohio's identity.

Cleveland is a loyal sports town. But even the deepest-seeded loyalty will be tested if James is seen dominating while still growing into his craft elsewhere. What will they have then?

The jokes will return. The city may involuntarily jump off the map just to escape the embarrassment. Meltdown complete.

This is why the championship drought must end in 2010. It's likely the only way to all but guarantee that he'll re-sign. It's crucial for the psyche of sports landscape that has lost beloved franchises and superstar players, to keep one who is truly one of its' own.

All is well at the moment, but none of this matters until May.

And the Cavaliers need to win the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Or there will be nothing left for LeBron James to prove in The City By the Lake.