Cheer for who you want to cheer for

As much as I love my favorite childhood cartoon mashed up with my favorite NBA team, even I think this is a bit much.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really excited to watch tonight’s NBA Finals game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. Like many of you, I will be pulling for the Thunder.

Apparently this is somewhat controversial. Me, being a life long Cavalier fan, in cheering for the Thunder and against LeBron James, could mean anything from I just need to move on from the Decision, to the possibility I’m racist and/or ignorant or maybe that I’m just pathetic.

I find it weird that, during the most watched Finals since 2004 and ABC’s highest rated ever, that some folks take issue with Clevelanders having a rooting interest that isn’t “man, I hope that plucky LeBron fellow from Akron gets over the hump this year.”

This is the second straight Finals appearance for the Cavaliers’ franchise leader in points, the three-time MVP from Akron, Ohio who left the Cleveland franchise in one of the biggest debacles in sports television history.

Ya, Clevelanders might have an opinion on that.

I understand the desire for Cleveland fans to move past LeBron. The Indians are in contention for the Central Division crown, the Cavs have the reigning Rookie-of-the-Year and are in the midst of planning for their most important draft in years and the Browns… well, the Browns sucking up our airwaves with possibly the lamest QB controversy this city has ever seen (and considering we’ve lived through Couch vs Holcomb and Quinn vs Anderson, that’s saying something).

There’s stuff going on.

Yes, I’d rather we focus our energy at the bright spots of Cleveland sports, not continue to dwell on LeBron. But we’re in the midst of the most watched NBA finals in nearly a decade. People are, rightly, interested.

And it’s not like it’s just Cleveland that is rooting against LeBron.

two of these things are not like the others

I could be wrong, but I don’t think the entire nation is rooting against LeBron and the Heat because LeBron hurt Dan Gilbert’s feelings.

Brendan Bowers, at Stepien Rules:

I also spent some time thinking about the okCLEhoma and okCLE monikers. I thoroughly believe they’re lame, but I also think telling anybody how to cheer is even more lame.1. Cavs for Mavs was conveniently unforced. It made sense at the time. These two names, while clever to a degree, they just aren’t for me. Oklahoma City and their same shirt wearing diehard fans of five years don’t need my support either.

It’s not like the entire city of Cleveland wasn’t rooting for the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s just that no one made a shirt.

There have been some that have tried to tell that we should be rooting for Miami, because Oklahoma City’s owner is a giant jerk who screwed over the city of Seattle. And hey, Dan Gilbert is fairly jerkish too. I can agree with a lot of these points (I’m not a huge Gilbert guy myself) but when you start asking sports fans to choose their allegiance based on ownership… good luck. You’re not going to find many multi-billionaires without some skeletons in their closet.
I’m fine with the OKCle shirts and moniker. I find it 10000% natural that Cleveland is pulling for the Thunder. That makes perfect sense to me.  This is sports, it’s supposed to be escapist fun. If some guy makes an OKCle t-shirt, who cares? What?! Someone is selling a dumb shirt on the internet?! And casual sports fans are buying them and posting dumb things on Facebook and Twitter? The horror!2.

All that being said, I do get sick of the blatant LeBron hate. When I read tweets like this or this, I totally understand the folks who want Cleveland to “get over it”. Look, I’m pulling for the Thunder this series too, but some of the LeBron hate can be a bit much. When I caught our local sports talk stations discussing LeBron this past week, I felt like I was listening to Fox News discuss Obama.3.

It’s gotten so bad that Cleveland’s avatar for LeBron rage, Whore of Akron author Scott Raab, deemed it necessary to end his latest post with this (with tongue firmly in cheek):

A loving aside to my fellow Cleveland die-hards and LeBron haters who felt that my last post here lacked sufficient vitriol: James is by far the worst human being ever born. Evil with an elbow sleeve. His is the face of all that is foul that walks the earth, and his mama is a mattressback.

Feel better now? Me, too.

Just in case you thought I didn’t unreasonably hate LeBron anymore….

Every now and then I like to remind people that the reason we were so pissed off that LeBron skipped town was because he’s really, really, really, really good at playing basketball at the professional level. In addition, the way LeBron skipped town and subsequent celebration may have rubbed some people the wrong way (whether or not Dan Gilbert and Clay Bennett are also giant a-holes is immaterial).

Now, did LeBron quit in Game 5 against Boston? I sure think so. Did he choke in the Finals against Dallas? Yup. Is he the best basketball player to ever wear a Cavalier uniform? Undoubtedly.

So the city of Cleveland has a rooting interest in the NBA Finals featuring the three time MVP from Akron, the Cavaliers’ all-time leader in points scored, who stands at the center of the sports universe.


  1. I feel the same way about ripping people for their taste in music. YOU LIKE NICKLEBACK?! HARDY HAR HAR. Everyone likes what they like. I like stuff that you’d probably find weird, and vice versa []
  2. Although a twitter search for “OKCle” mostly yields results for people complaining about people liking “OKCle” []
  3. Apparently Michael Jordan never got tired and LeBron is a baby for not wanting to play the entire second half of every playoff game. Got it []