The Break Up: Is LeBron James about To Dump Cleveland?

Rich CastoContributor IIIMay 14, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 16:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers peeks out from under his warmup shirt as he sits on the bench during pregame festivities against the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs on May 16, 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

Remember the good ole days, back during the 2009 season?

The Cavaliers were on their way to a second straight year as owners of the best record in the NBA, No. 1 seed, and home court throughout.

Remember the team/family photos before games? Remember players dancing in the middle of the fourth quarter with the game in hand?

Remember the FUN? Remember?

Are those days gone, along with "The LeBron's," the puppets, the chemistry, the confidence, the execution, the love of the game, The Chosen One?

Is this the next chapter in the book of Cleveland Sports Tragedies?

I sure hope not...but you have to wonder.

What happened?

Is it the Elbow? The impending free agency? The pressure of winning a championship—or bust?

How about this?

I've won my second MVP award. I've been an annual All-Star and an Olympic champion. I've been to the NBA Finals. We've added players to help us win it all. I've been spoken about in the same breath as the greatest players of all time. I have to get it done this season.

How's that for pressure?

It comes with the territory, and everything he's played for, set himself up for, and promoted.

He's succeeded at a lot of things—but he's still missing a championship.

Was it the perfect setup for failure?

Nothing seemed more guaranteed than the Cavaliers winning it all this season—but it wasn't.

Maybe it was the Elbow. His jump shot has been missing since Game Three. This is the guy who shot from anywhere he wanted, anytime, and it went in, EVERY TIME. He couldn't miss—even from half court, at the buzzer, whenever he wanted.

The most historic free agency period ever! Look at all the talent. You can literally pick and choose where you want to go, team up with another, make a pact, go. All are very tempting opportunities.

This is where money, pride, and business go hand-in-hand.

Loyalty is gone.

Championship or bust: The ultimate feeling of disappointment and failure. It happened.

Now what? If LBJ leaves Cleveland, is he a failure? People now second-guess him. He can't win on his own. He's not on the level of MJ, Kobe, or Magic. Heck, Shaq can't even help his cause. He'll be vilified in C-Town and not adored.

Can his ego handle that, especially in his hometown?

Kevin Garnett made a comment that, "Loyalty can hurt you. Had he known what he knows now, he would have done it a long time ago."

I don't remember there ever being this much buzz about Garnett or the Minnesota T'Wolves, ever. I don't remember the T'Wolves dominating the headlines when he was there, or being picked as a favorite to win it all, etc.

It is a completely different situation.

LeBron is like the girlfriend you had in high school that you (Cavs fans and Cleveland) were really, really into—in love with even.

All of a sudden, she starts acting differently, but claims nothing is wrong; she's just having a bad day.

But then, you start wondering, what's really going on?

I've bought her nice things (Shaq, Jamison), shown her love (ticket sales, jersey sales), put her on a pedestal (big Witness billboard across from the Q), but something is different. 

And then...she dumps you.