NBA Free Agency: An Open Letter From One Cavs Fan To LeBron James
You don't know me. I'm just one of the faces in the seemingly never-ending pool of Cavalier fans that stretch across northeast Ohio, through the desolate and bare surroundings of I-71 all the way down to the banks of the Ohio River.
We've never met, so I really don't know you either. I don't know what motivates you, what goes on in your head, what you're thinking about, or any other intimate detail in your life.
I'm writing because I wanted to reach out to you. I wanted to make one more plea to you before you meet with teams on Thursday and Friday and inevitably make your decision—one that will forever alter the landscape of professional basketball in Cleveland.
Everyday I wake up and read some more outlandish rumors about you. In the last week, I've heard about you wanting to play with Chris Paul .
Then you were leaning towards the Knicks.
Zero percent of the blame for these preposterous rumors and breaking news "reports" deserves to fall on you.
Please don't think that's what I'm insinuating. I blame the media for their irresponsible coverage of this saga. It's one thing for a few bloggers here and there to write articles about where they think the best fit for you is, or why you teaming up with Player X is a good idea.
It's another for professional writers to draw inferences from rumors and break "news" when everyone knows you haven't decided on anything yet.
I know that you're still weighing all your options. What many don't realize is what an articulate person you are—you think things through; you can see two or three moves ahead of most others.
Sure, the thought of teaming up with someone like Bosh has to be tantalizing. Maybe the allure of New York does something for you as well.
But I implore you: please don't forget your hometown Cavs.
We've been together for seven years. Maybe it's a sick and somewhat twisted analogy, but I can compare our relationship to that of a romantic couple.
At first it was exciting and new. We were so unhappy with our previous relationships that landing a knockout like you was almost unfathomable. We were beyond overjoyed.
Sure things were bumpy at first, but we smoothed things out.
Then when you took us to the Finals in 2007, it was our moment of ecstasy—at that moment, it seemed like we would be together forever.
But everyone assumed after the Boston series (and Orlando last year, to some extent) that you needed a fresh start. You needed to get away from us because of our constant "expect the worst" attitude, and the fact that Cleveland is seemingly the place where Murphy's Law is the most applicable.
However, there are a few things that we can promise that you might find difficult to get elsewhere.
We're getting a new coach. We're getting someone that will, you know, actually run an offensive set or two.
We're getting someone that will play to your strengths. We won't take a former All-Star power forward and make him stand at the three-point line all game.
We won't take a 38-year-old center that clogs up the lane and doesn't command a double-team and try to play him 30 minutes a game.
We might actually push the tempo occasionally. We might take that small ball lineup that absolutely thrived last season and use it to our advantage every now and then.
We're going to constantly make moves. We're going to do whatever possible to surround you with the right amount of talent at the most appropriate positions.
As a fan base, we revere you more than any other city in the world. You're our idol. If it weren't for you, we wouldn't have the one thing that keeps Cleveland afloat in tough economic times, through arduous and soul-crushing losses: hope.
In Chicago, you're just another great player to follow in Michael Jordan's footsteps.
In New York, you're glorified as well, but not for the same reasons. You're celebrated because you made New York popular again—you reminded everyone of the "greatness" that is Gotham City.
But in Cleveland, we don't care how much attention you bring to our city. We love that a kid like you, someone who grew up in Ohio and understands all of the pain, heartbreak, and suffering we've experienced, represents us on a national stage.
And like I said, you give us hope. The unwritten motto for all Cleveland sports is, "there's always next year." 99 percent of the time we say it, we don't believe it.
But with you, I do believe it. I believe in next year, because you're too good and too faithful for bad things to keep happening.
John Milton once wrote, "long is the way, and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light." I could throw out more clichés at you, but this one is most appropriate.
I realize your decision is not an easy one. You have to do what's best for you, what's best for your future, what's best for your family, what's best for your legacy.
But no success is easily acquired. We're so close to fulfilling our dream in Cleveland; not just my dream, but yours as well.
Everyone thinks that the Cavs will take a step back next year. To me, this is inexplicable; we're going to continue to build around you and make the pieces fit. We won 141 regular season and playoff games over the last two years—I refuse to belie we're not even close to competing for a championship. We're on the cusp, and you have the heart, determination, and will to get it done.
Perhaps more than wanting a championship for me and my city, I want one for you. I'm tired of hearing people criticize and nitpick your game and say you'll never win a ring.
It's an absolute farce.
Wherever you are next year, I'll always appreciate what you've done for the city of Cleveland and for the game of basketball. For seven years I've had the opportunity to watch one of the most tremendous players in the league on a night-in, night-out basis. In some ways we're spoiled, even if we haven't ever won anything.
Every marriage goes through some rocky moments. The grass always looks greener on the other side, even if most of the time it isn't actually any better.
I know you're an extremely loyal guy, so please don't think I'm trying to guilt you into staying.
As Tom Izzo said in his press conference after he turned down the Cavaliers job, "I think there's still opportunities that everybody deserves to look at...The good thing is when you have people strong enough to give you that opportunity, when you make a decision, I think you feel better about it."
I want you to evaluate all your opportunities and chances. I don't want you to feel trapped here.
You are the Chosen One, there's no doubt in my mind. I just hope that you fulfill your destiny at home, with those who have an undying and unwavering support of you.
One Desperate Cavs Fan
P.S. Whatever you do, please don't break the news to Stephen A. Smith before anyone else.
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