LeBron James' Betrayal: A Cavaliers Fan's Five Stages of Grief, Pt. 1

Aaron GreenCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2010

CLEVELAND - JULY 8:  A parking attendant stands near a larger than life photograph of LeBron James July 8, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. The two-time Most Valuable Player has the choice of remaining with the Cleveland Cavaliers or signing with a new team. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)
J.D. Pooley/Getty Images

It took me a while, but I think I’ve collected my thoughts and got my head on straight following the several-day, narcissistic, self-promotional build up culminating with a national TV special of Queen James' "decision” (thanks Dan Gilbert, I could not have said it better myself).

I realize I’m a little delayed regarding a response to LeBron James’ epic betrayal. It just took me a bit longer than others to grasp the entire situation and come out of my funk.

As a Cavs fan myself, and since my healing process took so long, I thought I’d describe it—step by step—hoping to connect with at least a few fellow Cavs fans who went through a similar process following James’ departure.

I’m not trying to pick the scab and start the bleeding all over again, just trying to show Cavaliers fans they were not alone in their heartache.

Including this one, my next five pieces will explain the five stages of grief that I went through:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Be sure to check back in and check out the four other stages.

The first step I went through during my grieving period was the same as any other break up after a long-term relationship—denial .

For months, I had anticipated an emotional press conference where James would say how much he loved Cleveland and the Cavaliers organization.

He would tell Cavs fans everywhere that he came to Cleveland intending to bring the city its highly sought after title, and he’s not going anywhere until that’s accomplished.

I got my press conference. It just didn’t go as I had planned.

Decision day came and I had butterflies in my stomach all day in anticipation of “The Decision.” It was as if the Cavs were playing in Game Seven of the NBA Finals—there was no tomorrow.

I may have been nervous, but I was optimistic.

All day, I went around telling everyone I talked to—friends, family, co-workers, pets, and even the homeless guy I passed in a Cleveland Indians t-shirt—that LeBron is coming back; he has to.

The time came, and as I watched Jim Gray and James delay the announcement with small talk that few people cared about at this point, I got even antsier.

I tried to analyze James’ every move and word hoping to find something that indicated he would be re-signing with Cleveland.

Then, after months and months of speculation and numerous predictions about where James would play, James let the entire sports world in on a secret that he had probably known for a while.

“I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and I’m going to the Miami Heat,” James said.

I simply stared at the TV.

I went numb.

It didn’t make sense.

“This can’t be happening to the city of Cleveland,” I told myself. “After all the heartbreak and disappointment, is he really going to turn his back on us (Cleveland fans) and his hometown team?”

I didn’t want to believe that after seven years of basically worshiping someone he turned out to be such an egotistical, evil backstabber.

Who goes on national TV and rips the hearts out of an entire state’s population? A population of “Witnesses” who treated the person like they were a spiritual leader.

Apparently LeBron James.

As much as I didn’t want to believe what I had heard and saw, it was true.

It was reality.

James turned his back on the city of Cleveland and the Cavaliers.

He left the Cavs to win an NBA Championship with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, instead of bringing a title to Cleveland and ending the city’s 46-year championship drought.

As I began to realize what occurred, my denial instantaneously turned to anger.

To Be Continued...


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