A discussion about the Cavs slow start led to an analysis of how social media has positively affected all the major sports except for football. The guys talked about why social media has elevated the bad things in football but largely allowed NBA players to publicly repair their image after incidents.
“No, I didn’t consult LeBron, or any of my Cavs teammates before I made the decision to ask for a trade. I thought about my future, and decided I needed to make that decision on my own. It isn’t because I have a bad relationship with anyone on the team or in the organization, I’ll always remember Cleveland for the great team, fans, and my first championship. But it was time for me to move on, and I couldn’t be happier than I am to start the next chapter of my career in Boston, playing with great teammates, under a great coach, and in a city where legends were made.”
I have been treating NASCAR and professional wrestling as mirror images of fanhood for decades. I watched them the same way; it was fun when the two sports were shiny and evolving, dominated by stars I recognized telling stories I cared about, but when those two sports started to settle into their identities, I drifted away. Suddenly I realized I didn’t know the young talent so well, and it felt like I had seen every kind of match, and every outcome possible. Like the memory of an old flame, the need to dial into the race slowly faded into nothing, until it was nothing more than a thing you vaguely remembered when a friend mentioned a keyword in conversation.
Only the most stubborn fans and writers refuse to acknowledge LeBron James’ place in NBA history. They cling to greatness past with their eyes pressed shut, it’s the only way to avoid seeing what’s become of their beloved record books, to not see what’s happened to very definition of greatness. Shut eyes can’t see efficiency statistics or defensive ratings. Shut eyes don’t have to acknowledge 3-1 leads or switch flips. You can’t see a man defending five positions, chasing down lay-ups, or even eight years of *uninterrupted* dominance blindly clinging to Michael Jordan like Jeff van Gundy under a fist fight.
Cleveland had just won its first championship in 52 years. LeBron James, exhausted after three games of cementing his legacy, of chiseling away at the foundation of Michael Jordan’s mythology, slumped on the floor at Oracle Arena. The room I was in was dark, but I could hear my neighbors screaming, I didn’t move, but my heart was jumping in my chest.
I was thinking about everything and nothing. I didn’t know what to do. At some point, in this euphoric stupor, I got a text from a friend.