A Letter to the City of Cleveland

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Yesterday, I wrote an article. It was a big, huge, long project. It took a good 3 and a half hours. It documented everything that was right and wrong about LeBron, and why I disliked him so much.

I was ready to post it.

And all of the sudden, I watched Game 6, and everything changed.

As much as I said that others were missing the point, everything that I was missing came to fruition.

I can no longer hate LeBron James. Never again will I like LeBron James, nor will I hate him. I will simply treat him like every other superstar player in the NBA that isn’t on the Cleveland Cavaliers. This means I will pay no attention to him and root against his team during big games. I will not go out of my way to root against LeBron.

My revelation started with this simple question: Why? Why hate LeBron, still? What good is it doing me? Most importantly, what good is it doing Cleveland? Yes, he drove a stake through the heart of the city I love more than any other on this earth, but now, what does that mean? 

Last season, I think it was important for LeBron not to win a title. It would have been salt in the wound of Cleveland fans. Instead, it was a healing experience and allowed Cleveland to move along in the “breakup” process. Then came Kyrie. Finally, the Cavs had an electrifying athlete with superstar potential to rid their minds of that image of LeBron. Winning the Rookie of the Year and even playing Uncle Drew, Kyrie has put hope into the hearts of Clevelanders again. Now, we’re past LeBron. So why still hate him?

What made Clevelanders feel so bad when LeBron left, was that it wasn’t their fault. There’s nothing they could have done to have made LeBron stay. They couldn’t move the entire city. They couldn’t make the weather better. They couldn’t love LeBron anymore than they did. They were helpless. And usually when one is helpless, one becomes angry. I don’t know if that’s how it always is, but that’s how it usually is with me. When I am helpless, I get angry. Cleveland did all that they could for LeBron and it still wasn’t good enough. Dan Gilbert did all that he could to get LeBron the players he “needed” to win a championship. What NBA free agent is going to want to go to Cleveland? He tried to convince them that there was magic in Cleveland that they couldn’t see right away. They never listened, and why would they? They’re spoiled NBA players with a million different options. Options way better than the city of Cleveland.

Cleveland, it’s time to let go of LeBron. Let go of all that hate and that anger and that disgust. Let it all out. It feels so good once you just let it go trust me.

Cleveland is a city unlike any other. It houses the most beautiful people and the most beautiful spirit, but Cleveland is not known as an aesthetically beautiful place at all. It’s smoggy, gray, industrial landscape gives people the wrong idea about Cleveland. Clevelanders have to start to do all that they can to rid themselves of this image. It’s time to focus on Cleveland and what can be done to make the city better. The weather isn’t going to change, but maybe the culture will. This culture of “poor us, LeBron left” needs to be thrown out the window.

Here’s a list of things that can be done to make life better in Cleveland rather than hating LeBron:

  1. Become an even bigger Cavaliers fan. Go to every game possible. Make it hard to hear in The Q. Embrace Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Harrison Barnes. Show them how great this city is right away.
  2. Become an even bigger Indians fan. SHOW UP. It’s pathetic that a team that is competing for the AL Central Division title is second to last in the Major League in attendance. Let’s get Kipnis to the All Star Game! Make free agents want to come here and experience the fans and how amazing they are.
  3. Go downtown! There is a new casino, and the flats area is being renovated. Bring some revenue into the city and enjoy what Cleveland is beginning to offer. Help Cleveland become a “happening” place.
  4. Volunteer! Help clean up the streets. I understand we all have very little time on our hands as it is, but do as much as you can. Every little bit helps.

If hating LeBron made Cleveland the most amazing city in the world in terms of reputation, as well as making the Cleveland Cavaliers the NBA Finals champions, I would be all for it. But, sadly, it doesn’t.

From someone who lives outside of Cleveland, sadly, I can tell you what the LeBron hating looks like to others. It looks childish. It looks immature. It looks like we are incredibly jealous.

If we want people to respect Cleveland, we have to act in a way that would make Cleveland look, well, respectable. I think the sports fans of the United States know that Cleveland has some of the most passionate fans on the globe. The LeBron hating as well as the Browns, Indians, and Cavs loving has proved that. What people often don’t know is that the people of Cleveland are some of the best people this world has to offer.

LeBron James brought some of the best times some of the fans of Cleveland sports have ever been a part of. We went to the NBA Finals for crying out loud! When LeBron left, it was obvious that we would become upset, simply because those great times would be over. There are new times ahead, however. Kyrie has shown us that. Jason Kipnis has shown us that. Joe Haden has shown us that. They are here to lead the way for a new generation of Cleveland. It’s going to be a new city, with a new identity. The same passion, the same loyalty, the same love, but just in a different package. One man isn’t going to rule this city anymore. This is going to be a team effort. The people combined with the players to make Cleveland a winning town. The culture is beginning to change. You can see it. But in order for this new culture in Cleveland to set in, we need to let the old culture go. The jealousy, the hatred, and the missing of LeBron need to go.

Go ahead and root against the Heat, I don’t have a problem with that. Quite frankly, I will be doing just the same. Just don’t confuse your love for Cleveland with your hatred for LeBron.

Cleveland, I say all of this to you because I love you. I love you with all my heart and all my soul. I have defended you for years in the most hostile of environments and I have even stuck out my neck for you on many occasions. I just want the world to see in you what I do. Right now, the world sees a bunch of whiny, jealous babies who hate LeBron for leaving Cleveland. He left. There is nothing that is going to take that back. He left the way he left. It’s over. It’s done. It was a horrible, horrible time for Cleveland, but now it’s over. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s getting brighter and brighter.

It’s not doing anyone any good hating LeBron. It’s wasted energy and effort. Don’t like LeBron, but don’t dislike LeBron. Just stay indifferent. Instead, let’s focus on making Cleveland better. Let’s make Cleveland a place in which people want to go, so that they can see the true beauty of the people that live beneath those gray clouds.

Let’s make Cleveland a place that LeBron wished he never left to begin with.

I Love You Cleveland!

Love,

Hayden

Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove

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