Sometimes the hardest part of writing an introductory piece is...well, writing the introduction. I'm bad at introductions, so we'll just wing it shall we?
First and foremost, my name is Ryan. Some of you obviously know me as Mr.Salty. Others on twitter know me only as Ryan M. Salty. I'm a 23 year old commercial truck driver that's grown up in the northeastern part of Ohio my entire life. I live and breathe Cleveland sports. We will argue sometime soon, and it will be very constructive. ( I hope. )
I've decided to take a good chunk of time out of my day to day activities to dedicate it to writing these articles. They will be my children. They will be ugly at first. Twisted, horrible to look at. Very loud. But one of these days, it's going to buy me a house. So in a nutshell...my children. I don't have much going for me in the "Professional blogger/writer" sense, but I can be pretty damn articulate at times. Writing is a release for me, and I'm going to release it all over you. So please, negative, positive. I want to hear your feedback. These will be 2-3 times a week, and I promise you that you won't hurt my feelings. If my Senior Drill Sgt. and Fleet manager couldn't, and can't get into my head, I should be just fine here.
Well that's enough of that! My silly introduction is out of the way, and I can bring you the thunder. Sit back, relax, and let me know what you think.
How does that name make you feel? Angry? Hopeful? Nothing at all?
Now after you answer that question, I want you to take a good hard look at WHY you feel the way you feel. No idea?
How about this? Will this get your attention?
To some, seeing LeBron James performing his usual pregame ritual arouses feelings of subdued anger. Happened in Cleveland, happened in Miami, will happen again wherever he goes. Some will say that they were there when the stars aligned and the lottery balls fell into place. Most will say they rode with this team to every playoff appearance, every game, every missed shot, every game winner that was and wasn't. Every press conference where a dejected looking Mike Brown would sign and just hand the microphone to LeBron, because he knew damn well the media didn't care what he had to say. Because they knew that in reality? LeBron was running the show. They were there when he tore his jersey off in the tunnel, marking an end to his career as a Cavalier. And the way he handled it? Despicable. Shaming Cleveland on national television under the guise of helping out a small Boys and Girls club. He became dead to them. LeBron who? LeQuitter? LeFlop? Queen James? Quitness?! Dan Gilbert jumped the shark early, sending out a "Scathing" letter penned in Comic Sans that will rest in the annuals of basketball lore for all time.
He was hurt. We all were. We cheered him on that night, every single one of us. He stuck up for the little guy. The common fan. Jerseys were burned. Death threats, unfortunately, were penned. High school aged girls cried in bars across the state of Ohio in solitude. The outrage died out and the world kept on turning.
Now, from what I've noticed these past couple of days on Twitter is that the Cavaliers fan base is largely divided on this issue: You either would be willing to welcome him back, or you hate his stupid face and wish nothing but snakes and spiders on him for as long as he lives. There is no in-between. I've been thinking about that, and would like to know simply...why?
To some people, that picture up there brings back strong feelings of nostalgia. Great memories of games they've been to, the great people they've met there. Memories of knowing that the Cleveland Cavaliers were a Triple-A basketball team, and that we, Cleveland, finally had something that everyone else wanted: A superstar. The eastern conference final's appearances. The ECF Championship. Hell, I still wear that shirt. I still wear it with pride, not because LeBron James personally gave us that championship, but because my Cleveland Cavaliers did.
Why wouldn't any of us be willing to take back in one of the best athletes our generation will ever see? Over something as simply and silly and spiteful hate because of the way he handled a free agency decision? It was bad, I get that. But he's no Art Modell. If he wants to make it right, let the man make it right. He IS only human.
So that brings me to the final part of my little column here, and one I hope will be popular: I'd like for each of you that reads this, yes you too! To comment down below and let me know exactly why you dislike/like LeBron James so much. It's been four years. I almost married an ex of mine after 4 years, and she's lit me on fire. Several times. Intentionally. It can't be all that bad, now can it?
Thanks again for reading and be sure to look forward to Episode Two of Cautiously Optimistic! Where I tackle some of the concerns over how many commas I use in an article, and whether or not Coach David Blatt has "The Right Stuff" when it comes to leading this team with or without LeBron on it.