Another superstar leaves Cleveland but this time it’s different.
by Kevin Berger
Cleveland sports fans should be used to this. A superstar packing up and leaving for a bigger market. Someone drafted and raised by a Cleveland franchise going to another team to play out the prime of his career. But this time it was Cleveland doing the dealing. And this time Cleveland has the championship banner hanging in the rafters.
Yes, Kryie Irving wanted out, but it was more than the historical efforts of searching for more money or just plain wanting out of Cleveland. Kyrie, fueled by ego, no longer wanted to live in the overbearing shadow of the greatest basketball player of all time.
Most of Cleveland’s history is riddled with prime time athletes leaving for greener pastures. All of them fleeing in the wake of failed championship runs. Manny Ramirez signing with the Boston Red Sox right after a magical 90s run with the Indians, Cleveland Indians all-time home run leader Jim Thome bolting for the Philadelphia Phillies, Hell, the entire Cleveland Browns team moved. Also, perhaps the most infamous, LeBron James fleeing Cleveland for sunny South Beach. All of them leaving behind a scarred city and fan base bristling with anger over what could have been.
But now as Kyrie Irving begins the next chapter of his career as a member of the Boston Celtics, Cleveland fans aren’t left feeling like the jilted lover. Memories of a championship run and one of the greatest shots in NBA history still permeate inside the minds of Cleveland fans everywhere. That shot hit by Kyrie in game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals sealing Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years erased years of broken dreams and gave Cleveland sports a new life force.
This is New Cleveland. Goodbye is the ‘woe is me’ attitude and hello to ‘don’t count us out.’
The Cleveland Indians continue their pursuit of a World Series after getting within one inning of winning their own championship in 2016 while the Cleveland Browns do the Browns thing (by Browns thing I mean, unprecedentedly screw up every single draft pick since 1999.) Although, there is renewed excitement with the picks of Myles Garrett and DeShone Kizer.
Winning its first championship since 1964 gave many Cleveland fans emotions they never felt before, and now with one of those championship contributors leaving, there are new feelings for Cleveland fans to confront. No longer do fans have to ponder what could have been, throw monopoly money like Indians fans did to Albert Belle, or burn once beloved players’ jerseys. Instead, we’ll think fondly of the biggest shot in NBA history going our way.
Just as Kyrie moves on, so do Cleveland fans. But this time, Cleveland gets to head toward a future with a championship past.
- Big thanks to Kevin for sending this in. Follow him on twitter @KevinBerger
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