Tuesday morning, LeBron James offered a simple gesture toward the people of Ohio he'll be leaving behind next year. No, not those people; the people of Cleveland can suck it. LeBron thanked Akron, naturally, with a full-page newspaper ad that read as follows:
To My Family, Friends and Fans in Akron:
For all my life, I have lived in Akron -- and for that, I am truly a lucky man.
It was here where I first learned how to play basketball, and where I met the people who would become my lifelong friends and mentors. Their guidance, encouragement and support will always be with me.
Akron is my home, and the central focus of my life. It's where I started, and it's where I will always come back to. You can be sure that I will continue to do everything I can for this city, which is so important to my family and me.
Thank you for your love and support. You mean everything to me.
SB Nation's Cleveland Cavaliers blog, Fear The Sword, offers some explanation:
Many people who grew up in Akron do not look favorably upon Cleveland, for whatever reason. It was a secret fear of mine that when push came to shove, Cleveland was never considered 'home' by LeBron James, before or during his playing career.
Perhaps that is the reason James made no mention of City of Cleveland or the fans that supported him the past 7 years in the full-page ad he took out in the Akron Beacon Journal.
So, perhaps it stems from a territorial rivalry? Yes. Perhaps.
Or perhaps LeBron is still feeling jilted by the hundreds of people that burned his jerseys in the streets of Cleveland. Or the Cavaliers owner that questioned his ability, his character, and whether he deserved to go to heaven. Or the Cavs fans that offered to pay their owner's fine when he was punished for said letter.
Thanking Akron instead of Cleveland may seem like a classless move from LeBron, but let's not be naive. Thanking Cleveland--at this point, after all that's gone down between both sides--would be so obviously disingenuous, it'd probably be more of an insult to the city.
Lord knows, since this is LeBron James, we'll probably be treated to another cycle of back-and-forths between those defending LeBron and those bashing him for this latest move, but that won't happen here.
As Avon Barksdale once said, "There's rules to this here game." Cleveland, you can't burn a guy's jersey and then get pissed off that he doesn't thank you (through a contrived medium, anyway). And for the record, LeBron thanking Cleveland would have done absolutely nothing to console the legions of heartbroken Cavs fans in that city. At least in this case, he's NOT the villain, and Cleveland's NOT the victim.
Nothing to see here, folks. Move along, and perhaps, we can all stop talking about this f'ing guy.