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Posts Tagged ‘Kyrie Irving’

Lebron Nike Witness Poster

Sometimes a sporting event transcends the game itself.  Ask the people of Cleveland.  BelieveLand

I know quite a few people from Cleveland and northeast Ohio, mainly through my longtime affiliation with the Kada Gallery in nearby Erie, PA.  Being a native of the area hasn’t always been an easy thing to own.  It has been the butt of jokes for years and years.  My own earliest memories of Cleveland were in driving through the area in the late 60’s and being overwhelmed by the incredible pollution spewing from the factories that once lined the shores of Lake Erie there that gave the sky this awful apocalyptic, yellow-brown color.  It looked nightmarish to me as a kid.  Thankfully, Cleveland now is nothing like that.

And for the sports fans of the region, it has been even worse for the last 52 years.  Their sports teams have went year after years mired in mediocrity, every so often getting close to winning it all only to be denied in heartbreaking fashion.  They even had their greatest hope, the native Lebron James, up and leave at one point, leaving them angry and betrayed.  It looked as though it might be another 50 years before they might see a sports championship return to northeast Ohio.

Today, I am really, really pleased for them because last night the Cleveland Cavaliers defied all odds in defeating the Golden State Warriors for the NBA Championship.

The cloud has been lifted.

I have followed Lebron James since first reading about him as a seventh grader with great promise.  The Next Big Thing.  They come along every year or two and seldom do they ever come close to the potential that has been granted them.  It turns out that it takes more than just great physical gifts to move into the rarefied air of  legends.  It takes maturity, intelligence, determination and oh so much more.  And these were evident in seeing Lebron in interviews even when he was 17 or 18.  He had the physique and face of a grown man and spoke in thoughtful, mature terms.  What was not to like about this guy?

But people find a way.  Lebron sometimes seems like a character out of a Shakespearean tragedy.  He is the king whose legitimacy and ambitions are always questioned. Things that start with good intentions are often turned against him.  His every word and action is parsed and dissected and the weight of history is always on his shoulders.  It’s more than a mere athlete is normally asked to bear and he bears it with steadfast determination.

When he returned home from his controversial, self-imposed exile in Miami, he put the region on his shoulders, a heavy responsibility that goes beyond the basketball court.  His foundation is mentoring hundreds and hundreds of at-risk each year and putting them through college through a partnership with the University of Akron.  He is acting as a sort of surrogate father to legions of kids who are not that unlike himself  when he was a kid.  He truly cares for his home and wears it proudly.

But the court is where his power arises.  I still don’t understand the hatred towards Lebron.  He is a physical marvel, a brilliant playmaker with court vision that is second to none and a determined competitor.  He has done things on a regular basis that seem inconceivable to most high level NBA players yet he is still denigrated and sniped at.

Well, the performance he treated us to in this last series was a thing out of legend. He did everything — and I mean everything– in taking down the reigning champs.  If someone can’t see the beauty of his game and the display of it he put on in this series, even if  they somehow find a reason to dislike him personally, there is something missing in that person.

Count me in as a witness to his greatness.

My friends in Cleveland, I am so, so happy for you.  It’s been a long time coming and your loyalty and belief has been rewarded by your native son and the great group of players– Kyrie Irving was magnificent!–around him.  I hope you’ll bask in it for some time to come.  Be proud, Cleveland.  Or is it really BelieveLand now?

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