Karsceal Turner – I Got Next!
Some four years ago I sat in disgust as Lebron James sat on stage with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in an epic unveiling of a trade, which sent James and Bosh to Miami to join the Heat. It was titled “The Decision.”
Call me overly emphatic but those words James uttered stayed with me…”I think I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.”
I was a little disgusted with the over-the-top television special for the announcement and was further disgusted with the boast about the number of championships the trio would help bring to Miami.
In reality, James’ boast yielded not six, not five, not four, not three but TWO championships.
I’m knowing that as I compose this piece, my Floridian friends, Masonic brothers, Kappa Alpha Psi brothers, O.E.S. sisters, former teammates, and acquaintances are still feeling the sting!
You’ll forgive me for my approving grin as I got the latest news this past Friday that James has decided to return to Cleveland, where it all started.
You see, I am from Oklahoma City. Born and raised with a straw in my mouth. You’ll further forgive me because it was the Heat, who bashed my hometown team, the Oklahoma City Thunder and won their first championship together.
I was salty about that crap. Even more-so because I have resided in the Sunshine State half of my 42 years on earth. Miami’s fans, many of which jumped on James’ bandwagon were totally unbearable and relentless in their boasting about winning the NBA championship.
I was salty and had to eat it because I consider myself a classy brother. I congratulated all my Floridian folks and kept it moving. Then, I got the news that James may possibly leave South Beach. I rubbed my hands together in anticipation. When I discussed the possibilities with my Florida pals, they tried to hide their evident fear with self assurances that King James would remain in the Sunshine state.
And now it’s all over. Who’s salty now Miami?
Again, you’ll forgive me for sort of rubbing it in…in print. I hope we can still be pals as you lick those wounds. Hey, take some comfort in the fact that Chris Bosh decided to stay on board and D-Wade still may make the same decision.
As for Cleveland, I certainly relate to the plight of the city because of the gaping hole James left when he departed. You saw the burning of the jersey, you saw the fans cursing and damning Bron Bronwith comparisons to traitors such as Benedict Arnold, and Napoleon.
I could dig the frustrations. You see, my home town never had an NBA franchise until hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and made it where the Hornets played home games in OKC. A solid fan-base was identified and the Seattle Super Sonics were moved to a new market. The Thunder proceeded to make noise through the Western Conference. Suddenly, my hometown had an identity aside from being a state known for Oklahoma Sooners football. However, I can relate to Cleveland because at one time, OKC was somewhat of a desolate place devoid of any big sports franchises. This was a burden I carried through my stint in the U.S. Navy, collegiate career, and a decent chunk of my professional career but I ate it with class.
Speaking again of class. I’ve noticed that Cleveland fans seem to have forgiven although they may never forget the void James left when he departed the city four years ago. I personally felt the joy and adulation heaped upon a young man who was once a hated man throughout Northeast Ohio. Now, his return has made the Cavaliers an instant championship contender and has provided more parity in the NBA Eastern conference.
I recall the immense power this brother wielded as we all sat on the edges of our seats, waiting for his decision. I watched Sports Center’s nonstop coverage of the new occasion. This time there was no large, public event but simply a statement to Sports Illustrated “I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.” I’m not sorry to say Heat fans have been handed their second slice of “humble pie”. First, at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs and recently at the hands of King James. Hey, don’t hate me, hate the situation. There is still time to show some class as you rebuild your team without “Bron Bron.”
Of course, fans of the Miami Heat have responded to James’ departure as I might have imagined. As the Cosby kids used to say every Saturday morning…”No Class”…. I’m hearing the talk about how the Heat can win without James. Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night homie. Still, perhaps Heat fans can now understand how Cleveland fans felt but I kind of doubt that because South Beach is ALWAYS jumping. This I know from experiencing it firsthand. Miami has hosted Super Bowls, NBA championships, NCAA sporting events, an Art Deco Weekend Festival, an annual Jazz Festival and a Labor Day weekend celebration which rivals all others and let us not forget it is the home of the “U.”
Still, I couldn’t help but ponder on the amount of power, we, the fanatical NBA fans freely hand over to a sports figure. Through all his athletic prowess, LeBron James is still simply a man. You do realize that “fan” is short for fanatic right? Websters defines it as: “marked by excessive and often intense uncritical devotion.” Headlines like those LeBron James commands are proof that there are other things perhaps more important. I would invite the readers of this piece to take another look at the amount of power they heap upon their favorite sports figures. I’m taking the lead with this commentary right here.