Jordan Zirm is another new intern here at Scene. He's been following the LeBron rumors column every morning in the Plain Dealer. This created some thoughts in his young, impressionable head.
I have been in denial. I used to think that here in Cleveland, we shielded ourselves from the groveling and begging that cities like New York and Chicago are currently showcasing in their effort to woo LeBron. We didn’t have beat writers openly pleading for LeBron to come play for the team that they cover like the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola has been doing for the past month or so. We weren’t forcing the minimal celebrities we have in this town to court LeBron and to take him on a tour like Cleveland was the equivalent of Disneyland. No, us Clevelanders were going to stand pat and watch these other basketball-starved cities throw themselves at LeBron like groupies after a Drake concert.
But this morning, I had a revelation. As I glanced over the Plain Dealer’s “LeBron Rumor Mill” section as I sipped my pulp-free orange juice, a single sentence caught my eye. After recapping a blog written by Isola questioning LeBron’s legacy, Plain Dealer reporter Jodie Valade’s final words read “Just further evidence the Big Apple can’t stop thinking about the King.” The sentence read with a great deal of spite attached to it, and a barrel-full of judgment. Look at New York, even as the NBA finals geared up for Game 7 between two bitter rivals, they still have to talk about LeBron. We sat on our high horse, like Cleveland was exempt from the LeBron worshiping that was going on around the rest of the country. How hypocritical we have become.
Yesterday, a flash mob broke out in tower city, put on by an organization dedicated to keeping LeBron. Was LeBron anywhere in Tower City? No. The video of kids dressed in black shirts with the words “commitment” or “loyalty” scribbled across them and running through impressive choreography is something LeBron hasn’t, and probably never will see. Akron is throwing a “LeBron Appreciation Day” bash, an event which LeBron will probably not even be in attendance for. The Lake County Captains will change their team name to the LeLake LeCounty LeCaptians on July 1st, the first day of free agency. The “We Are LeBron” video has made decent human beings punch small children.
There has got to be a point here when we look at each other and say, “No, I will not crush grapes for LeBron. I have too much pride.” The love we are showering LeBron in has become so exaggerated that it is embarrassing. And for what? No person deserves this amount of attention, even if half of this city thinks LeBron is the savior of professional sports in Cleveland. The tables have turned. Citizens of New York and Chicago are laughing at us, just as we laughed at them when their media members superimposed LeBron in a Bulls or Knicks jersey. We have given LeBron enough, Cleveland. It’s time to sit back and just wait, and stop with incessant babying of a 26-year-old. Because if New York can’t keep its mind off the King, then we must have an obsession.— Jordan Zirm