If there's one thing that perfectly encapsulated the surreal atmosphere in downtown Cleveland the night that LeBron left the Cavs, it was Tom Green.
About 200 fans gathered around a projection screen to watch James' lubeless and unrestrained reaming of Cleveland Thursday evening in front of the Harry Buffalo one block from Quicken Loans Arena. Small groups of melancholy and sweaty teens wandered over from the Warped Tour's stop in Cleveland to watch and join in the fray too, presumably because they dig dark, moody, depressing shit and the Q was ground zero for dark, moody, depressing shit Thursday night.
This is where the television crews camped out, where photographers zoomed in on the forlorn faces, and cameramen grabbed anyone and everyone wearing Cavs gear for postmortems as soon as the words "South Beach" left the King's trap —sports tragedy porn worthy of Vivid.
And this is where the cops were lined up, providing the very dramatic impression that Cleveland just might erupt into violence at any moment. Drama! Flashing lights! Danger! A city on the verge of a breakdown!
And there was the talentless former MTV stunt machine, Tom Green, doing his shtick, which must be a newly updated kind of shtick these days because there were no cow utters involved this time, all while trying to assure people he wasn't just a homeless guy hanging around for free Vitamin Water.
The Bad Joke was there for the bad joke, the Sideshow had a sideshow, and it was all very strange. This is what my Cavs and LeBron allegiance had come down to? An utterly brutal announcement and Tom Fucking Green capitalizing off my agony? If that's not the best evidence of what a fantastical farce LeBron perpetrated upon Cleveland, I don't know what is.
Without "The Decision," there would have been no livestreaming from Cleveland bars capturing the mass, real-time heartbreak, no cavalcade of media lined up along E. 4th St. and Prospect, no CBS reporters camped out on Flannery's patio collecting drunken, rote quotes about Cleveland's sports torture.
Maybe Cleveland deserved to go through this in private, to get through those initial moments of wallowing sadness and onto righteous anger and vitriol or measured composure or whatever happens the day after. Instead, Cleveland was right there with LeBron from 9 to 10 p.m. on ESPN because he put us under a live-feed microscope. Watch Cleveland's live reaction to LeBron's less-than-gentle insertion!
It was a circus stunt with Cavs fans given the roles of the beaten-down, spiritless animals, and Tom Green, the king of all senseless, demented stunts, was there to capture it all. How appropriately surreal.