Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James Wants His Jersey Retired by the Cavaliers: Not in Our Rafters

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16:  LeBron James #23  of the Cleveland Caveliers throws powder in the air before the start of the NBA basketball game against Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 16, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Leo FlorkowskiAnalyst IIIMarch 30, 2011

Before yesterday's game against the Cavaliers, LeBron James was asked about his jersey being retired by the Cavaliers in the future.

He responded by saying, "Anytime you get a jersey retired anywhere it is a tribute. I have my jersey in my high school and when that happened it was unbelievable. If that happens here, I'll be grateful."
 
My initial reaction? People in hell want ice water; we don't always get what we want. I am sure the vast majority of Cleveland Cavaliers fans feel the same way I do.
 
The relationship between LeBron James and the Cavaliers (and their fans) was like someone that married their high school sweetheart and saw that relationship continue to blossom over the course of seven years. You can read my breakdown of those seven years, as well as the year that preceded and followed those years, by clicking here
 
That relationship was forever changed by The Decision. What LeBron did that night was the equivalent of that high school sweetheart that you married emptying your bank account to pay for a commercial during the Super Bowl that shows her cheating on you with one of your friends. She says on national television that she is taking her talents to his house to embarrass you in the most public and unnecessary way possible.
 
Did LeBron James do more for the Cleveland Cavaliers than any player in the franchise's history while he was there? Absolutely. Was he the greatest player in franchise history? Without a doubt. However, his jersey should not be retired by the Cavaliers.
 
Some things go beyond an individual player's accomplishments on the court. A player should have his jersey retired due to a combination of greatness on the court and love from the fans. It is an honor and a privilege that you have to earn, not a right you come to expect by putting up big numbers.

By humiliating his hometown team and fans on national television, LeBron James chose his fate. The relationship with the franchise matters.
 
Some non-Cleveland sports fans will disagree with this stance. They will say LeBron needs to have his jersey retired by the Cavaliers since he was the best player in franchise history. They simply don't understand.

It reminds me of the South Park episode where Randy Marsh makes an inappropriate racial slur while on Wheel of Fortune. The next day at school Stan apologizes to Token and says that he understands why he is mad. Token's response is continued frustration with Stan. Only at the end of the episode, where Stan finally tells Token that he will never fully understand what it felt like for Token to hear those words, did Token embrace Stan.
 
The point is this: Until you have experienced what Cleveland sports fans have had to endure over the years, you have no right to tell us how to feel about things that pertain to our teams. No other city's fanbase even comes close to our level of pain and suffering over the years.
 
LeBron James has never once apologized for what he did, and yet he wants his No. 23 hanging from the rafters? To alter a tweet from owner Dan Gilbert after last night's win, not in our rafters!
 
If LeBron were to ever give a heartfelt apology, I would be willing to reconsider. The key word is heartfelt. I don't think he has it in him to do it. His ego is too large.

I am a forgiving enough person where I would actually welcome home the prodigal son if he made a tearful apology on national television. I would be fine with him donning the wine and gold again only under those circumstances. Just because I am forgiving does not make me a doormat.
 
If non-Clevelanders think that our feelings on LeBron are going to change over time, I implore you to check with Art Modell. The last time I checked he still hasn't set foot in the state of Ohio since The Move.

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