It’s a Family Thing

Nearly 24 hours after the “return of the king” to Cleveland, I’ve been noodling on my thoughts all day. From the outset, I looked at yesterday as a ridiculous spectacle driven by the media to once again frame Cleveland in a foolish position. I’m proud of Cleveland, the city, last night. The Cavaliers team…not so much. Look, Lebron is going to be Lebron. If you thought he was going to walk into “the Q” last night and break down in tears, you haven’t seen him the last few years. Lebron is a talent and talents rise to the occasion. They feed off of the moment (negative or positive). Which raises all of the questions about the Celtics playoff series last year, but that is an entirely different post…

What I am still a little unsettled about was the reaction of the team. There were hugs at mid-court, laughs off to the side, playful gestures with his headband and I’m sure other things the camera never caught. It was as if the team rolled out the red carpet and invited Lebron to get comfortable…so he did. His new team spoke after the game about “family” and how “their brother” was going into a hostile environment. While they haven’t played to expectation this year, for this night, they played as a unit and a family.

This is where I struggle with last nights display in Cleveland. If I am a Cavalier (which I am not), Lebron doesn’t stand in front of the bench and get comfortable. I’m going to stand up and let him know there’s a whole lot of other places on the court he can go stand. I might even throw in a “why don’t you take your talents over to the south beach bench too”.

If I’m Byron Scott, I’m going to take a few steps outside the coaching box to remind Lebron that he dressed in the visitors locker room and apparently he’s forgotten which team he plays for. Fines might come later but A) these guys can afford it and B) that didn’t stop Scott from ripping refs last week.

Last night will prove to have solidified the Miami Heat and derailed the Cleveland Cavaliers. It will be interesting to chart the course of the teams over the next few months. Safe money would say they go in opposite directions….which is what a Cavalier or two should have told Lebron to do last night too.

2 thoughts on “It’s a Family Thing

  1. Preface: I’m not a Clevelander and am not hurt by his decision. “The decision” was a poor choice that I don’t think he would do again, but I’m over it. But a couple of thoughts on how I see it.

    1). It’s a new NBA. On the broadcast Reggie Miller (king of most-hated-player) noted this. In his day no one would think ‘dats’ and smiles with opponents during games are appropriate but it’s a new NBA. Heck these kids have probably been competing with and against each in summer leagues and AAU tournaments for years. They seem to get something about Lebron that outsiders like fans don’t.

    2) They like and look-up to him: He was their leader and was a likeable dude. While they are dumbfounded, dissappointed and hurt by his leaving. At the end of the day, it seems like they still like him. I’m guessing he has had little to no contact with “his old boys” and the natural thing for him to do would be to go and break the ice and “say” guys “We’re still good right?”. They miss him but certainly don’t hate him and might even respect him for how he’s handled the fan reaction (“the decision” aside).

    3) Players and fans are in two different worlds: It seems to meet that players are closer to each other within the league than to their own fans. These players are journeyman and have more in common with other players than with their own local fans. So it seems natural that they would not react the same as their fans. They know that in a few fickle turns the same crowd jeers could be pointed at them. Basketball is sort of like baseball. More social in-between-plays and less vicious-i’m-gonna-punch-you-in-the-face.

    thoughts?

  2. Note: I did not watch the game, and your description of the players actions and reactions are my only source of info on that. That being said…

    My gut reaction (a.k.a. “old man” reaction) totally agrees with you. However, the “new man” in me applauds the players and coaches. Whether it was their intent or not they were an example of turning the other cheek. What Lebron James did to them most likely hurt. But they put that aside and welcomed an old friend back home. After all, it is just a game, right?

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