CLEVELAND – Before The Decision, there was the Boston series. You know the one. The one that birthed the terms LeQuit, LeChoke, and everything in between. The one where LeBron James walked off the floor in a Game 5 loss in Cleveland and looked as though he may never walk back into Quicken Loans Arena as a Cleveland Cavalier ever again. During that series, bothered, and flustered – even though he still had himself a terrific individual series when it was all said and done – James was not his typical calm self at the postgame podium.
One quote especially drew the ire of Cavs fans, who held onto that statement – among other perceived slights – for years after The Decision was made, and LeBron won his titles in Miami, and up until James returned home in one of the sport’s storybook moments.
“I spoil a lot of people with my play,” James said.
Cleveland never wanted to admit that was true. Cleveland has an inferiority complex that’s unrivaled by really anyone in professional sports, and it can be traced to any number of things. The weather. The losses the city has taken in both real life and the sports world. The national perception and the constant jokes hurled at their expense. The narratives they’re forced to swallow any time Cleveland is put on a broadcast in front of the whole world.
Spoiled? How could they be? This city hasn’t won anything since The Dick Van Dyke Show was on the air. Everybody hates Cleveland. And LeBron James hadn’t hand delivered them the championship they so desperately wanted.