Cleveland: the City as Jilted Lover

I’ll admit it: I watched LeBron James’s “Decision” special last Thursday. I was home from work and, well, it was on. My main thought, upon seeing it, was that James had made a pretty good decision. He didn’t make it to get more money, because he could have gotten more by staying in Cleveland. He made it, by his own admission, to win championships. Like it or not, championships are the standard by which greatness is measured in the NBA, and James wants to be great. I couldn’t fault him for that. Only time will tell whether it will turn out to be a good decision in a few years’ time, but it seemed to me he had as good a reason as any other to make it.

Apparently, not everyone agrees. Some Cleveland Cavaliers fans burned his jerseys. Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavaliers, wrote an angry open letter. Jesse Jackson got a lot of press for accusing Gilbert of treating James like a runaway slave. I think that Jackson is wrong, though. From what I can tell, Gilbert, and the Cleveland fans who have been burning James’s jerseys, have been behaving like jilted lovers. And judging by the reaction to James’s decision, theirs was an unhealthy relationship and James is well rid of it.

When one human being idolizes another, that is an unhealthy relationship. When a city idolizes a human being, it is no less unhealthy. Not only is the end of this relationship good for James, but in the long run it is good for Cleveland.