And my heart is torn. Part of me wants to let go. Part of me wants to forgive him. Part of me wants to be able to forget about the past and what could have been and just be a witness again his brilliance on the court. Part of me wants to accept the fact that he made the best decision for himself to get a ring, and cement his legacy as a champion.
It was impossible not to appreciate what he's done in these playoffs. He's kept his goal always in front of him. and fought through adversity and unexpected challenges from the Pacers and Celtics. He thwarted the rapid ascent of the young Thunder, as he kept his foot on the gas pedal and drove them into submission. His demeanor on and off the court has visibly changed, an he's become a much more mature, driven player. I couldn't help but smile as he encouraged his team to keep cranking away in game five, and called out his point guard for celebrating too early. When it was all said and done I wanted to celebrate with him for growing up as a man and a player and accomplishing his lifelong dream, and I almost did.
At least until Doris Burke immediately brought up "the decision" in his post game interview. Nike aired a commercial chronicling all the times he fell short trying to win a title for us. I was reminded of all the times his dominance on the court just wasn't enough. I was also reminded of that fatal series with Boston, when he just gave up. I was reminded of that painful summer when he held us in fearful anticipation, and finally announced his damning decision.
Watching this series made me think of what could have been, but wasn't. He was the chosen one, but he turned his back on us. It wasn't "the big three" that won this title. It was primarily a result of his all around dominance, second to the role players stepping up and playing out of their minds, and third to team defense. If Mike Brown's defense had ever worked, and if Donyell, Larry, Boobie, Delonte, or Mo had ever stepped up and hit shots the way Miller, Battier, Chalmers, and Cole did then he would have been able to win here. Sadly, it never happened and never will. He'll never again be the king of our hearts. I could go on with what ifs forever, but what's the point? It's all over. We've moved on.
So go ahead and celebrate, Lebron. I can't bring myself to be happy for you yet, and I'm not sure I ever will. Win a few more titles if you want, but no matter how many rings you get they'll never mean nearly as much as one would have meant here. They will always be tainted. You will always be remembered in Cleveland for the time you quit on us and betrayed us.
So be it. We have Kyrie now, and he's going to bring a trophy to Cleveland one day.