Kevin Love, picking up the offensive slack with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving out, scored 25 points and Dion Waiters added 23, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 106-100 exhibition win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
CLEVELAND - It has been more than a week since northeast Ohio native LeBron James won a title with the Miami Heat. This question is just for you Cavs fans, where do you stand now?
We often hear get "over it"? It would be easier to do if Nike didn't throw it right back in your face less than five minutes after Miami won the title. The jewelry shop commercial right after the finals, was proof that the marketing machine is also not ready to get "over it." It was easy to put his Cavs career in a one minute spot. It was like Nike saying to Clevelanders 'in your face."
But, it is a marketing machine that started right after Miami lost to Dallas last year. It was also the missing element in LeBron's quest to win a championship.
It started right after LeBron's response to "The Haters." Remember "The Haters" needed to go back to their miserable lives, after Dallas won. Now, for the average national basketball fan, LeBron got his ring. They might think he did things the wrong way by leaving Cleveland, "The Decision," and the way Pat Riley looks like the dirtiest of used car dealers assembling his championship team. But, the national dislike of LeBron will go from super atomic hot to mild at best.
Nationally, It's not going to be trendy to dislike LeBron anymore.
The feel-good image about LeBron that made him a superhero in Cleveland will never come back 100 percent. But, outside of our championship starved area it will be lukewarm at best.
He's on Oprah, Letterman and The View -- the feel-good tour is not going to stop. While David Letterman disagrees with what LeBron did, the bottom line is Letterman gave LeBron a chance to fix his image on his show. ABC's Nightline just stopped short of making LeBron a saint. The show took a goodwill story that happens everyday at NBA practices across the league and made LeBron look like he saved a small third world country. What LeBron did was admirable but it just feeds into the public relations machine.
I know that we all have emotions on LeBron's quest to capture a title. Good or bad it has engaged us to watch the game. Do you really think you would have the passion to care if Oklahoma City won a title if they played Boston?
I know northeast Ohio does not want to read this, but watching him as basketball player the missing element was his maturity. I'm not sure if it is him or the folks advising him, but I think LeBron finally gets it. He had to go back to taking over the game by himself to win a championship. It's not Dwayne Wade's team, it's LeBron's team. Just like in Cleveland.
I just wish we could have all experienced it here.
The hard part to swallow is that if LeBron wanted to commit to Cleveland rather than play games with his future with the Cavs, it could have happened. He was a free agent and had every right to leave northeast Ohio. But, trying to convince me that he made up his mind the night of the decision that he was going to Miami, still makes my head spin.
I'm not going to rehash "The Decision." It's not time to move on, it's time to move in a different direction.
LeBron James gave Cleveland seven amazing years. In those seven years, Cleveland fans gave him amazing support and loyalty.
Sometimes when you work hard at something like a relationship for seven years, it might take seven years to get over it. I don't blame anybody for the way they feel.
LeBron got a ring. Now, the Cavs need to show they are ready to prove it on the floor. Fans have still supported the Cavs in the post-LeBron era. They are now four first round picks into the new era, with a chance to have three more first round picks next year.
Where do I stand now? In front of the "Q," watching to see if the Cavs are tough enough to build a team that can win a championship, so I don't have to watch Miami in the finals.
What do you think? Chime in via the comment box below.
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