Sports Page

The Death of Lebron James

Chad W. Lutz
(Steve Mitchell/USPresswire)
On Tuesday night, Akron’s former “Chosen One” died. You heard right, LeBron James is dead. The one we knew so fondly as “King James” is dead and gone passed unto the ethereal and vanished without so much as a trace of smoke with his epitaph written in the hopes and dreams of a city that once honored and admired and held him as one of their own. A small crowd of no one in Cleveland gathered to mourn his loss, but his presence, now like an exorcised demon, should haunt us no more. Should.

You see, the Lebron James we knew, loveable #23, has crossed over. Once a testament to the greatness of our city, turned antagonistic relic of an ancient and archaic becoming past; that LeBron James is no more. There now stands only a monument to everything the man known as LBJ ever set out to achieve. He is not our LeBron anymore. That LeBron is dead.

With a 104-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of the 2012 NBA Finals, LeBron James sealed his own fate. Battling cramps and succumbing to fatigue throughout the contest, LeBron, at one point, fell to the floor and died right then and there. As the ball made its way down court, a new LeBron, #6, stood up in his place and proceeded to sink clutch basket after clutch basket, grab offensive rebounds, and dish assists to teammates in the fourth quarter, a sight never beheld of #23, and further proof the man we knew so well and loved had finally laid to rest.

The following morning, Cavaliers fans across the United States could feel it. They could feel the loss, but they wouldn’t acknowledge it. They knew the man they once revered and loved was no more. It was like losing a brother, or perhaps even a father. Even in his most hated of moments, LeBron James gave Clevelanders hope. In his first return bout on December 2, 2010, LeBron doused us with 38 points and led the Miami Heat to a 20-point, plus, victory. Redemption, spelled C-A-V-S came to beautiful fruition three months later when the Cavaliers handed LeBron and Co. a 20-point, plus, victory. Redemption befell even sweeter as the Heat lost in six games to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. We watched a familiar #23 falter and fail when it mattered most, a sight Cleveland, and the world, grew accustomed to in the 9 years leading up to Tuesday night.

Call it humanitarian, and possibly a call for humane treatment for someone who may not rightly deserve it, but perhaps the death threats, the incessant cheers at the expense of another man’s failures, the cries of joy and hope for injury every time the man hits the deck will subside and a new breed of basketball fan will emerge. Perhaps one with integrity and respect for the game, even if the man in question never held any of these traits as self-evident. It goes without saying that two wrongs don’t make a right, and while it’s easy for us to sit around and point the crosshairs at #23, he doesn’t exist anymore. LeBron James is dead.

Now that the dust has settled; now that #23 rests peacefully on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, perhaps now Cleveland fans can begin the healing process. Perhaps now that LeBron James, #23, one of the most hated men in Cleveland, and possibly Ohio history, other than Art Modell maybe, is dead and gone, well, maybe, just maybe, the hurt will melt away and the next generation of Cleveland sports can rest easy knowing the man who ripped the heart out of an entire state can bother us no more.

R.I.P. #23