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Cleveland Rocks Without LeBron

Written by Judd Cohen
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On July 8th, 2010, the City of Cleveland died.  The "King" abandoned his reign atop the throne of the desolate city for the warm breeze of Miami, spewing promises of hordes of titles.  In the blink of an eye, seven years of loyal devotion were forgotten.  Riots erupted in the streets.  Dreams were crushed.  Jerseys were burned.  Bars emptied.   Tumbleweeds blew through the streets.  Cleveland would never be the same.

But then something funny happened.

On July 8th, 2010, Cleveland was reborn.  The ruler holding his disciples hostage, took his talents to South Beach.  Clevelanders were able to unknowingly rejoice in the departure of their ungrateful savior.  So much hatred for one man was able to be turned into something spectacular – an overwhelming joy for some other city’s team winning a championship.  A championship which most fans might never have experienced, despite dedicating themselves heart and soul to a team based in Northeast Ohio. A championship often promised, but never delivered, by their former self-proclaimed “King.”

LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers may actually have turned out to be the best possible thing for Cleveland fans.  He took over the focus of the city. What other city boasted an attention-hogging ten story mural of its best athlete right in the heart of its downtown area? He was the main attraction, the royal presence, the lifeblood that pulsed through its veins.  LeBron was larger than life and, sports fan or not, we were all witness. If LeBron were still running the show for the Cavs, people would never have focused on the Indians’ impressive start to the season , the once promising franchise that often took a backseat to LeBron and Co. Instead, Cleveland would have undoubtedly been mulling over yet another playoff meltdown by the Cavs, wondering if they would ever be able to get over the hump and win a title.

Without LeBron hogging all of the attention, we are starting to see some of the other Cleveland teams showing signs of life.  As previously mentioned, the Indians are tied for first in the AL Central, after being picked by most to finish in the cellar this season.  The Browns have some good, young players (for once), and are showing signs of improvement now that they are being run by a legendary football mind in Mike Holmgren.  Even the Cavs, the team “King” James devastated with his departure, are looking more and more hopeful for the upcoming season.  After finishing last in the Eastern Conference this season they are armed with the number one and number four overall picks in the upcoming draft.  The Cavs will now be allowed to build a team the right way – a la the Oklahoma City Thunder – instead of living in constant fear that if they weren’t a championship contender, LeBron would leave, giving even the most heartbroken fans some sort of hope for life after LeBron.

“The Decision” may have been the worst thing in the long line of tragedies to occur in the history of Cleveland sports.  However, it might have been a blessing in disguise.  Cavs fans will not have to suffer through heartbreak after heartbreak, watching their prized possession fail again and again in search of his royal jewelry each spring.  From now on, Clevelanders can laugh with the rest of us, at the bevy of rumors that float around the internet about why LeBron has failed again.  There will not be seven or more years of torment ravaging an already championship starved city.

In retrospect, Clevelanders should have thanked LeBron for letting go of his grip around their necks, allowing them to live again without fear of what might not be achieved, but in hope of what might become of the blossoming city.  The clouds of desolation have finally cleared over the city of Cleveland, giving fans hope for possible life after LeBron.


+2 Benjamin Dial 2011-06-18 00:09 #3
Peyton Hillis is the perfect star athlete for Cleveland. Cleveland is a rust belt, roll up your sleeves city and Hillis is exactly that type of hardnosed player. I think it is his tough, bareknuckle style of running really resonates with the city of Cleveland.
+3 Boris Osipchuk 2011-06-15 15:02 #2
Judd, great article, as always! Even more than that, right on the money. Cleveland definitely won with "He, you know who" leaving. Basketball is a team sport. If he wanted to be the "King", he should have become a golfer or a tennis player.
+1 Sharon Mark Cohen 2011-06-15 12:59 #1
Judd Cohen paints a welcoming picture for athletes to soar to Cleveland and achieve their dreams. With so much to offer on the banks of Lake Erie, LeBron's loss is sure to be Cleveland's gain. You heard it here first.
Enjoyable reading combined with great insight.

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