>"IT WAS THE TASTE OF BETRAYAL, YOU FUCKING WHORE": LeBRON RETURNS TO CLEVELAND

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JOHN HATHWELL:  So yeah, I change my mind on this daily, but today I’m enjoying this wacky fucking circus for what it is. All of it. The breathless headlines about how Miami’s charter plane had trouble on the flight into Cleveland last night. The uproar over LeBron BUMPING INTO HIS COACH. All the hand-wringing and “I-told-you-so’s” over the Heat’s slow start. Fuck, I hate myself a little for enjoying all of this, but I’ll make no apologies. 

Granted, that’s today. Tomorrow I might be back to rolling my eyes at ESPN’s “Heat Index” and all the completely useless minutiae I’m forced to wade (heyyyy) through when i want to actually read about, you know, basketball and whatnot.

Really though, the crazy shit that’s likely going down tonight has my attention. How could it not? You think I don’t want to see if the Cavs fans can get their  choreographed chants straight?. Jesus, isn’t there a little part of you that wants to see Dan Gilbert run out on the court, slap LeBron in the face, and then run off the like Red in “Friday” after Deebo snatched his chain (“he gonna cry in the car”), arms all flailing and shit? 






Fuck it, I’m willing to settle for a Cavs win. I don’t give damn if it’s by one point or thirty, I’d just like to see the collective glee of 20,000 spurned lovers, if only for one night, so i (and they) can move on with my fucking life already.

Of course, the level of expectation is such that it’s almost guaranteed to fall short, but fuck if that is going to deter one single person from watching or anything.

All it really means is don’t go getting your hopes up for an assassination or some other wacky occurrence. Be happy with what you are getting: the most dramatic NBA game ever played in December.

Works for me.


WES LILLIMAN: So here we are. Mere hours away from the highly-anticipated return of Zydrunus Ilgauskus to Cleveland…


… alright, we’re not going  that route again.



Seriously though, Lebron returns to the Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland’s place) for the first time since all that summertime mess where he slapped the city across the face on national television, which resulted in a bunch of idiots from Cleveland saying and doing a bunch of dumb stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be pissed, too…

… wait a second, I’m from Seattle. So Cavs fans lost their franchise guy in humiliating fashion. Big deal. Be thankful for what you have. You could be sitting at home… longing for the ghosts of days gone by… still a fan of the NBA but with the complete inability to put your heart and soul into it. You could be watching your former team play exciting basketball with the future face of the entire league leading the way. In other words, hey, Cleveland: chill out, bitch.

Truth be told, who would want to play in a place where the owner unleashes an unintentionally comical tirade on you the moment that you leave? Yeah, “The Decision” was completely ridiculous and James has done nothing but damage every time he’s opened his mouth since, but sweet Jesus… you can’t blame the guy for getting the hell out. Where he went wasn’t ideal in most people’s eyes, but I’m gonna take a wild guess and say it’s more satisfying than OHIO.

(For the record, I hoped he would stay but said that if he was leaving Cleveland, I wanted him to go anywhere BUT Miami. So, that part still bothers me, as well)

Cavs supporters are on him because “betrayed” them. “YOU SAID YOU’D STAY HERE UNTIL WE WON A RING.” Who cares? The dude got some perspective and decided he’d rather be elsewhere. You mean to tell me that the folks burning his jerseys haven’t ever changed their mind on something? The only thing he should’ve done differently regarding Cleveland has to do with announcing his exit in a more gracious manner. He didn’t owe them a thing. If anything, they still owe him for making the Cleveland Cavaliers relevant for 7 years for the first time since EVER.

Enough with that, though. Let’s get down to it.

Miami comes in to the place in their own state of disarray. Basically, they’re a .500 team with internal turmoil spilling over like it was gravy on Rosie O’Donnell’s Thanksgiving dinner plate. Thursday night isn’t really even about that, though. It’s not Heat/Cavs – it’s James vs. the rabid dogs known as Cavaliers fans. They’ve had this day marked on their calendars for so long now. It trumps Christmas. It’s bigger than New Year’s Eve. They’ve just sat there and looked at “DECEMBER 2nd” with a sort of creepiness only paralle
led by how I would imagine Jeff Dahmer looked at his fridge while the parts of his victims cooled inside. You think I’m blowing that out of proportion? Look at these maniacs:





… my sources tell me that this was right before the Kid Rock concert and the subsequent incest parties began.

Some things to watch:

1) The general reaction of the fans. Obviously. Will they do something clever? Like COMPLETE SILENCE every time James touches the ball or turning their backs on the ENTIRE GAME? Something that might actually be memorable? It’s Cleveland… of course not. If their reaction to his departure is any indication, then they’ll probably just yell and scream obscenities and a few people might throw small objects at him. You might see a few signs, rampant with misspellings and poor handwriting. They’ll cheer like mad-people everytime he misses a shot, of course.

2) Will James “throw the powder?” You know, that thing he stole from Jordan where he throws the chalk in the air. Last I heard, he said he would, but we’ll have to wait and see.

3) How will he play? It would be monumental James dropped 60 on the Cavs. It would be even more tremendous if he hit a game-winner. My guess, though, is that he has a typical night (stat-wise) and looks sort of flustered and maybe even a little sad. This stuff gets to him, whether he admits it or not.

At this point, I say he goes full-on heel with this game. Get out there, throw the powder, play the first 15 seconds and then walk off the court with an “injury” that clearly isn’t an injury at all. Disappear for the rest of the night. That’s how you do it. Don’t give the people who will always hate you any satisfaction whatsoever.

If would at least be humorous if they chanted “DE-LON-TE” at him. I don’t know that they’re organized enough as a collective unit to come up with something like that. It’s like the boxer who comes out so full of rage that he has no control or discipline whatsoever. My guess is that it will be a bunch of “ARGGHGHHGHGHHG!” for the 1st quarter, and then it’ll be time for booze and hideously-topped nachos.

I want this to be a spectacle. I really do. But, if there’s one thing I know about Cleveland, it’s that, eventually, they always let you down.

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