As far as I’m concerned we already had this party. It was on March 29th, and the event was even more spectacular than that birthday bash Turtle threw Vinny Chase back in the day. The red carpet was rolled out for your Cleveland Cavaliers and we watched with awe as Ryan Hollins walked in dressed up like the baddest man on the court that night. And we cheered with a joyus amazement as he went on to play that way too. Cleveland’s favorite CB, Joe Haden, came in bearded up like Baron Davis and it was the real BDizzle who stood up and signaled it time for LeBron James and his Miami Heat to jump back on that plane and get outta here. It was over, and more than the fact that they lost, we won.
Cleveland fans had the opportunity to rock Quicken Loans Arena that night in celebration of a wire-to-wire win over a team and a fanbase that is as diametrically opposite to everything we represent here in this town, and we could point to the scoreboard with pride when it ended. Sure we’re still mad, and we’ll probably never forget his decision, and as such he’ll get booed like he did on that Tuesday in March for as many times as he tries to sneak into our garage for the rest of his career. But we can continue to be civil about it. Weren’t ugly that night, nobody can say we were. A hate party of any kind would be ugly though, I don’t care how you try selling the concept.
The one kid from Parma who burned his LeBron jersey in a Harry Buffalo parking lot this past summer is sorry about all that. The eager ESPN producer who got a hold of that tape and probably got promoted for selling the sensationalized idea that “everybody in Cleveland was burning clothing when he left” should be sorry too. Dude is probably not though. Just as we definetely weren’t out in mass numbers burning shirts with LeBron’s last name on it that we paid fifty bucks for after he got done talking to Jim Gray. That damage is done though, past is the past, but March 29th to me represented a big step in the healing process. The future. We force-fed a highlight to TMZ SportsESPN of Cleveland fans walking out on top that night. Cleveland fans moving on amidst a victory - albeit a small one - over that guy and his new team. Throwing a party like this takes as many steps backwards as that night helped us forward, and only dumps fuel on the “haha look at bitter Cleveland fan” fire that ESPN and their brethren are dying to re-ignite.
I’m talking any form of this party too by the way. I know Dan Gilbert was the first to float this idea out there and if he acted on that plan it would have been the worst move he ever made as owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers in my humble opinion. Sure he might be able to get between five and ten thousand people to come down and buy $7 beers from him and eat over priced soft pretzels with cheese as they rooted against LeBron, but at what cost? To fill an arena of Cleveland sports fans and have them openly root and cheer for the New York Knicks or the Boston Celtics??? Really? That would be uncharted territories of low. Now after responding to Bill Simmons “joke” about throwing such a party on twitter Gilbert said he was kidding. I will give him the benefit of the doubt on that too. I don’t think he would go so far as pimping Cleveland fans in that fashion, because that’s exactly what this type of party would be. He knows that, he’s better than that, and that was part of the joke. No way he would even entertain it, and while he shouldn’t have probably responded to Bill Simmons a few days back at all, that might be why he did so. Because he found it as outrageous a concept as I do. Hopefully.
However while a radio station like WKNR is not obviously affiliated with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the way a Dan Gilbert is, it’s a bad idea for them too. I understand it’s their business and right to make money, but I think Aaron Goldhammer and the crew would be doing Cleveland a massive disservice by staging and promoting this type of cash-grab themselves as well - as they talked about doing today on the Tony Rizzo show. According to “ESPN” 850 WKNR, they are kicking around the idea of throwing their own Hate the Heat party inside the boardrooms of the marketing juggernaut that fuels the Cleveland sports talk radio station at the moment, and I really hope they don’t do it either for all the same reasons mentioned above. Beyond that though, logistically how would something like this work anyways? When would you throw it? For the third game of the first round with the series knotted at 1-1? For the first game of a seven game series? Game 7′s only if they occur? Possible Heat elimination games? What if the Heat win?
All this isn’t to say we can’t root against the Heat for every second of every playoff game, because we can. There just doesn’t need to be an Arena or a Radio Station that sells out the Cleveland fan by capitalizing on these games, because we will look awful for something like this. And by we I mean Cleveland and people like you and me who take pride in the way we’re represented nationally. So my advice is just watch these games like I will by cheering for Rondo, Derrick Rose, and Dwight Howard in the privacy of your own living room. As a die-hard Cleveland sports fan it’s embarrassing enough as it is rooting for somebody else’s team, we don’t need to make a big show about it.
Photo Credit: StepienRules / BB