How’s this gonna fly in Northeast Ohio? – Part 1

I’ve become a fan of LeBron James and (dare I say it?) the Miami Heat.

I’ve tried to stay aloof, since his move from Cleveland to Miami. I’ve tried to remain calloused and cool to the three-time MVP’s performances — more committed to the Cavaliers team than the superstar who cast them off. I’ve tried to not care about LeBron James and the Miami Heat… But I do care. I’m a fan of LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Elliot’s unbridled affection for LeBron James has no doubt had its effect. I read a great article yesterday evening about sports and kids and culture called The Consequences of Caring, by Bill Simmons… Much of it rings true for my own experiences. It’s funny to see the way that our emotions are affected by the morning sports pages. It’s funny that we care as much as we do. But it happens, and I’m not so sure that it’s really such a bad thing.

My only real question is this: How’s this gonna fly in Northeast Ohio? I’m starting to wonder more about this, among other things, as our transition to that part of the world is quickly approaching (only four and a half weeks from now). Many people in Ohio seem to hate the Heat. They still feel personally betrayed by LeBron James (a native of Northeast Ohio). They hope against hope that the hometown Cavs might still win a championship before LeBron James and the Miami Heat. But even though I’ve lost no love for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I would be thrilled to see them bring a championship trophy to Northeast Ohio — I don’t actually have a problem with LeBron James and the Heat getting one in the meantime. In fact, I kind of hope they do.

I know that LeBron James is not a perfect person; still, I admire him as a public figure (another great article that I’ve recently read on this is Rick Reilly’s LeBron Being LeBron). I know that a good American is supposed to be true to his team and not jump on bandwagons.. But why shouldn’t we cheer for the kid from Akron? Why does he become any less of an Ohioan because he’s taken his talents to South Beach? We pride ourselves on being the birthplace of 8 American presidents, even though the pinacle of their careers was naturally in Washington D.C. We still feel a sense of ownership with regards to the Wright brothers, even after they took their crazy flying machine to North Carolina for its historic first flight. We celebrate Neal Armstrong as a native son, even though his most famous achievements happened on the moon! So why can’t we cheer for LeBron James? Ohioans, please help me understand this, if you can.

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