Apparently it is fashionable right now to feel good for Cleveland – especially the sports landscape in the town not far to the North and West of us here in Pittsburgh.
Seems as if the return of native and prodigal son LeBron James to Northeast Ohio has everyone washed over with Cleveland mania.
I’m from Pittsburgh.
I don’t like Cleveland, never will and don’t need to apologize for it. I hope the Cavs, Browns, Indians and whatever other team represents that city loses each and every game they play in. And I don’t say that with one millimeter of my tongue in my cheek.
There, I said it. Don’t agree? I’m really not all that concerned. Again, I’m from Pittsburgh.
You see, you seemingly can’t click onto any area of the Internet now without being inundated by LeBronmania and, more to the point, how the man who scrambled from his hometown for Miami for four years — only to now come crawling back — could be a $500 million boon to that area’s economy.
Great for them, I guess. But again, nothing says I need to feel good for that city — a city so willing to take back a man who ran away from them in July of 2010 on that farce of a television special entitled “The Decision” wherein on ESPN he opened his heart up in phony form to Jim Gray.
At that time, James’ so-called allegiance to Northeast Ohio couldn’t even allow him to face those people, as “The Decision” was broadcast with James sitting safely in a chair in Greenwich, Conn.
Some hometown pride, huh? Cleveland must have rocked so much for James that night he couldn’t even face those people, huh?
But now I’m supposed to feel good for James? Now I’m supposed to feel good for Cleveland?
Sorry. That’s not going to happen.
How can I feel good for a fanbase that burned their jerseys and used unconscionable words toward James when he bolted for South Beach, only now to do a 180 and take him back?
Talk about having no pride, having no shame — the Cleveland sports fan has proven that they are willing to backtrack on hating someone for the sake of strengthening their club and bringing financial gains to their region. And that’s only a few years removed from demonizing and disparaging James to a point few in recent sports history have.
I’d like to think if someone in Pittsburgh did that here, we’d hold our grudge — in this instance, it would seem nobler to hold a grudge and not welcome someone back than glorify him when he decided to return.
LeRoy Brooks, professor of finance at John Carroll University in suburban Cleveland recently told “Time Magazine”: “The Cleveland fan can expect the LeBron Effect to provide a lot more positive and less negative experiences then most of them have had in any prior year, or imagined that they would ever see in the future prior to LeBron’s announcement. Many would view this as priceless.”
I guess, in a way, it is.
A priceless example of how comical of a sports landscape Cleveland really is — willing to forego their backbone, integrity and uprightness as sports fans and welcome a man back who left them not long ago forcing great shame.
You see why I don’t like Cleveland and never will?
By the way, don’t wait for me to apologize for it.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weeknights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at email@example.com. Check out his bio here.