Was it my imagination, or did the over-saturation of suggesting that LeBron would be better off elsewhere start as soon as Eva Longoria ran onto the court to help soon-to-be husband Tony Parker celebrate the Spurs championship in 2007?
As soon as the Knicks began clearing cap room, the suggestions began. The photoshopping of unis on him. In 2008, the possibility of him leaving was on the cover of ESPN magazine. For months, it loomed over our heads. And even before the Cavs' series with the Celtics was done, it was "Is this going to be the final game for LBJ in a Cavs uniform?"
As the discussion ensued and commentoators asked where he could go, the idea of him staying in Cleveland was literally joked about as an afterthought by many national voices, who fittingly were based in New York, Chicago, and other places who had a vested interest in where he went.
Then the suggestions that staying in Cleveland was bad business for him off the court - something else I've never seen.
And who's going to buy into that first? Vultures like "World Wide Wes" and national marketing "experts" that are in his grill, telling him that his talent is "wasted" in Cleveland. They really didn't campaign against the Cavs as much as they campaigned against Cleveland - the city. We don't have the media exposure New York has. We don't have the nice party atmosphere like Miami. We don't have our act together like Chicago.
They highlighted that Chris Bosh wouldn't play here - and somehow never portrayed that as arrogant, smug or elitist. The message was clear through the entire ordeal: We suck as a city. There was no debate about it.
All we had was a rabid, loyal fanbase and the best record in the NBA regular season.
But oh, yeah, we're Cleveland. Like Emile Hisch in "The Girl Next Door," we're not supposed to bring Elisha Cuthbert to a party and be expected to actually leave with her.
The hour-long debacle in Connecticut was just the climax of it, but never before had I seen such one-sided coverage against a city for so long as what eventually led to "The Decision."