And what did they do? They blew it. Big time. And not just on the scoreboard.
Everyone knew the Cavs were going down in this one, but that stopped no one from taking their side. When it was all said and done, the 28-point defeat will go down as a loss in the record books. But where the Cavs truly lost was during warmups, in front of thousands in the stands and millions at home, when members of the home team openly welcomed back Cleveland’s public enemy No. 1.
Nearly every Cavaliers player made it a point to cross the line (both midcourt and figuratively) and give James a welcome-back-to-Cleveland hug.
They embraced, slapped hands and laughed. Who knows — they may have even shared a quick cry.
Although the simple act of a hug can be meaningless to some, on Thursday night it killed Cavs fans by the thousands and whittled away at the already frugal competitive spirit of the lackluster NBA.
In front of a jam-packed Quickens Loan Arena, where James jerseys weren’t even allowed to be worn and where hordes of angered fans were chanting the unchantable, Cavs players turned their backs on their followers. And in doing so, they’ll turn their backs on you in due time.
It’s apparent that rivalries in sports today remain outside the lines and in the stands. Rivalries aren’t on the court, they’re in headlines and used to sell tickets or merchandise. In fact, I’m sure plenty of members of the Cavs are probably still very close with LBJ and consider him a dear friend — and rightfully so. But when a dilapidated city is counting on you for a little payback, and your team owner goes out of his way to publicly call out a foe, there comes a time when you need to put your relationships aside and show some team pride.
You want to give Bron-Bron a hug and shoot the breeze? Do it in the hallways before the game. Find a private area, away from the noise, and get the latest on his South Beach endeavors there. Don’t side with the enemy in front of your dying fan base.
The Cavs won’t get too many victories this season, and on Thursday night, they proved to be losers.
Do you think the Cavs acted appropriately? Leave your thoughts below.
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