LeBron James Has Hopes High in Cleveland: OMG Not Again!

Jim BertschContributor IMarch 12, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 10:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers does his pregame ritual of applying powder to his hands and tossing it in the air prior to the start of their game against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the 2008 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 10, 2008 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As a lifelong tortured Cleveland sports fan, I have many soft and tender sports wounds.  

Cleveland sports teams have time and again, spent years developing and growing powerful, great franchises.

The Browns for more than a generation, had Paul Brown/Blanton Collier at the helm. We could count on them being in an NFL championship nearly every season. Paul Brown was the last Northeast Ohioan, who was born, raised and achieved legendary status in our little corner of the world. Sorry, Bernie, but you never won us a Super Bowl.

The old Browns, despite having one of the best two-or-three NFL franchise records, never won the NFL championship in the Super Bowl era—Ouch!

A bittersweet  tear or two drips down my face whenever I recall all of the great moments gone wrong. The Catch, the Interception, the Drive, the Fumble...in Cleveland, every failure has a name.

Now, with the Cavaliers, there is so much to hope for. Good things are happening everywhere. With the addition of Antawn Jamison, a great player, who smiled when he was traded to Cleveland. Joe Johnson, another great player, who simply wants to play with LeBron and will sacrifice cash to do it! Zyrdrunas Ilgauskas, a career long Clevelander, turned down offers from some of the best teams in the NBA to remain in Cleveland.

Even the national (New York and LA fan based) media has slowed down their, "LeBron James and (by the way) the Cleveland Cavaliers” comments. We can now hear them say, "Cleveland" or "Cavaliers" in almost reverent tones. Cleveland has been making trade moves previously reserved for the likes of Boston and LA.

With the 15 percent Chinese minority ownership, there are probably hundreds-of-millions of Chinese sports fans who actually care that the Cavaliers win the NBA title. There is a mood, a sense that this is the year, maybe even the decade, when Cleveland takes its rightful place atop the NBA.

But we know better than to get our hopes up!

We have been here before. Every time we get close. Every time its starts to matter, our hopes and dreams are ceremoniously crushed on the biggest of stages. Our souls are left on the field-of-play, battered and bloodied.

The warning signs are up!

Caution! All the good things happening, stem from one source, "LeBron James—The King."

Caution! LeBron is a free agent at the end of the season.

Caution! New York has trashed their team so they can steal him.

Caution! An injury to LeBron, probably dashes all title hopes.

Caution! The big-three, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all share the same sports agency.

Caution! It is a foregone conclusion the big-three will collude at the end of the season.

Are Clevelanders, yet again being set up for a big time fall?

The threat is real! New York covets another Cleveland superstar. It has become standard practice for them to plunder Cleveland teams.

But, this time we have hope! LeBron cares too much about our city and our team. He knows, if he betrays Cleveland and leaves us for New York, he will crush our future hopes and dreams and Cleveland will be a laughing stock. The national media will savor every sweet Cleveland ridicule for at least a decade.

We've been through this before. It was a New Yorker who fired Paul Brown and yanked the once proud Cleveland Browns, who stood atop the NFL for more than a generation, out of town, slapping the city in the face and devastating the team, leaving it in a shambles for more than a decade.

Do we dare to hope?

The higher the hopes, the further the fall. A betrayal on such a level from an indigenous superstar, one of our own, would be far worse than anything a New Yorker could manage. The other travesties in Cleveland sports were deep cutting wounds, which in-time heal. This will be a permanent injury and maybe even the death of Cleveland sports!