It was never a question of whether or not I would go. And, despite the epic hard-coreness that is my fandom, it was never really a question of whether or not the Cavs would win the championship. I would go, and they would lose. Not that the outcome of the game, or the series, really mattered to me, in that I would go regardless. I would cheer regardless. I would believe regardless. I would wear Cavs gear throughout April, May, and June regardless. And I would very nearly end up in the poor house due to the way the airlines jack up prices in cities hosting major events regardless. Yet, I digress.
The fact is, as a Cavaliers fan, watching Lebron make it to the finals this year was nothing short of magic. It was also torturous, but magic trumps torture. A seven-game first round they almost didn’t make it past, a second-round sweep that made a commanding statement, another seven-game series in the third round that took more than it should have, and then the ugly championship sweep full of so many injustices I can’t even think about it. But through it all there was Lebron, and the near-constant reminder that he is still the greatest—not just in The Land, but in the world. Still. After 15 seasons.
I lived in Cleveland once. I lived there when he played as a Cavalier the first time around. I lived there when he left. I lived there when he came back. And now I’m the lone Californian who flies to Cleveland every year to see him play in the finals. And I love him the way the entire city of Cleveland loves him. I want him to stay the way the entire city of Cleveland wants him to stay. I doubt there’s a path to another championship there, and so I doubt he’ll stay, but I wish it didn’t have to be about that. I wish it was simply about playing basketball where you want to play basketball, raising your family in the place where you grew up, being content in the knowledge that you will always be known as one of the greatest to ever play the game regardless of if there are 3 or 4 or 5 rings. He deserves to still be winning championships, he’s that good, but isn’t the legend stronger when you stay in the city that’s yours?