Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lebron James: Public Enemy #1?

Ever since “The Decision,” Clevelanders have been waiting for the day the “Chosen One” makes his return to Quicken Loans Arena. Well tonight, the only 11-8 Miami Heat face off against the Cavaliers on TNT. In his Nike commercial, Lebron asks what he would do, but now it is time to ask what will the fans he stabbed in the back do? Will they boo the entire game or just when he is introduced? Will they cheer when he is introduced, but boo during the game, like when McNabb returned to Phily? Will they throw stuff, like at the Browns game? Will Lebron do his chalk warm-up routine he stole form Garnett? Will James cry when 20,000 people who used to cheer his every move now despise his every step? What about Big Z? Will he be cheered even though he left as well? We will see tonight.

Is Lebron even the most hated sports figure in Cleveland though? Tonight he will be, but once the dust settles, where will he rank in the hall of Cleveland villains? Art Modell moved the most beloved team and left the town without football for three seasons. Bill Belichick cut one of the most beloved football players and somehow saved his best coaching for the Pats. Those two actively ripped Cleveland’s hearts out. Meanwhile Tim Couch, Braylon Edwards, and Courtney Brown are hated for being busts for the Browns, not necessarily deliberate actions. Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, CC Sabathia, and Cliff Lee were loved in Cleveland, but left to chase championships, but are not hated like Lebron. Meanwhile players who choked under pressure like Ernest “The Fumble” Byner and Jose “Blown Save” Mesa were reviled, but how much can you fault a guy for one bad play or a couple bad pitches? Cleveland has it's fair share of enemies outside of the city too, like John Elway and Michael Jordan, but is the hatred deeper from your own team or their opponents? Will be fans’ hatred of Lebron last for the failed expectations, the betrayal of leaving your home team, or the ill advised ESPN show? Only time will tell.

All this for the 20th game of an 82 game regular season between two third place teams.

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