Think back to October of 1997. Our beloved Indians were playing in the World Series and had a legitimate chance to bring the city of Cleveland its first championship in nearly 40 years. With manager Mike Hargrove at the helm, the Indians lit a fire under some of the greatest sports fans in the entire world: Cleveland sports fans.
My dad, in particular, was around to see The Fumble and The Drive haunt the dreams of sports fans in his home state. He spent much of those days running back and forth along our L-shaped couch, anxious for the next play. The next score. And the next heartbreak.
It takes a special kind of person to be a Cleveland sports fan. Our passion and fire is unmatched by nearly any other city in the nation. We live and breathe our teams. And we remain loyal, through the hills and valleys of any sports franchise. There is no doubt in my mind that we – you, me and every Cleveland sports fan in the world – are the best fans in the world. And we have a distinct reputation for being both fanatical and obsessive.
With that being said, I dislike LeBron James as much, if not more, than a majority of you. I spent seven years of my life marveled by his highlights and enthralled with every last word that came out of his mouth. But he lied to us. And he quit on us. However, I beg you – all of you – to refrain from making Cleveland, Ohio a national punch line. Boo him all the way out of the city and make him feel the wrath of Cleveland fans all over the world. But, please, do not put our city and our fans on the same level as Philadelphia fans – a group of people notorious for being hostile and violent.
The NBA is taking extreme precautions to ensure LeBron’s safety and seemingly fear for what may happen on TV. LeBron James, himself, has reportedly said how thankful he is that he and his teammates won’t be in Cleveland until after 3 a.m. on Thursday morning because it gives “malcontent fans” less of a chance to act.
Take the high road, ladies and gentlemen. Let him know how much we dislike him through chants and boos. And cheer our team to victory tomorrow night. But do not stain our reputation.
Tomorrow is a big one, Cavs fans. Come back and join me for a live chat during the game.
All together, Cleveland.
Cody G. Norman