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Lebron, Dear, We Need to Talk
July 14, 2014 - Diane Laney Fitzpatrick
Lebron, hon. You don't know me so let me introduce myself. I'm a middle-aged white lady who doesn't know much about sports, but I'm a typical American sports fan in that I'm a middle-aged white lady who doesn't know much about sports.
I don't know a run-and-gun from a Hail Mary (oh, wait, that's football, right?) but I love to watch the Cavs, not because I love the sport of basketball, but because I love to watch my team play basketball.
For me, it's all about the team. It helps that in basketball you can see the players' faces and body art, expressions of anguish and sweat being flung from their bodies like holy water on a whisk at Easter mass. It's the most personal sport I know and that's why I love it.
So on Friday when you announced your decision (notice that's a lower case d there, son) to leave The Heat and return to Cleveland, I was not one of the people who said, "It's a business decision" or "This is about his career." From my vantage point, you're changing the makeup of my team, so I get to have an opinion.
And I expressed it, badly, by shooting off my mouth before the announcement was even made. The rumors were flying, remember, and all I saw was your face next to the words What will he do? and I let my emotions run wild. I called your potential return to the Cavs a "dick move" on Facebook in a post that I fired off in anger. This is something I'm old enough to know not to do, so the post itself was in actuality a dick move on my part. But let's not focus on my shortcomings in this whole affair. Let's talk more about yours.
I read your explanation in Sports Illustrated and my sisters are right. You are acting very maturely and you seem to have grown up a lot. But understand that when you left Cleveland four years ago, I was extremely pissed off at you. Not because you didn't have the right to go to another team. (I left Cleveland, too. In 1990. No one seemed to care.) I was angry because of what a hot-shot you were being. I'm fine with you being a hot-shot. But only if you're our hot-shot.
I was in Paris when you made your capital-D-Decision. (And I'm not talking about Paris, Kentucky, although now that we're here Go Cats!) The previous day, I was in The Louvre and saw a big gold tureen with King James engraved on it and I snapped a photo of it, sure it was a sign that you'd announce you were staying with the Cavs. Although, looking back, that was kind of a stretch. I'm sure someone from Miami was in the museum that day, too. The Decision came in the middle of the night Paris time, so bright and early the next morning I knocked on my son's hotel room door, knowing he would have stayed up to get the news. He hadn't even finished opening the door when I caught a glimpse of his face, and I knew.
I won't say it ruined my vacation, but it stained France for me forever.
I know I'm old enough to be your mother's publicist, but we need to sit down with a glass of wine this week. It just so happens that I'm going to be in Akron and Cleveland on Thursday, and although my schedule is tight, I might be able to fit you in late in the day. Leave your posse or whoever's giving you career advice at home. I might bring my sisters, but one of them might have to work, so it might be just you and me.
I'd like to get to some kind of understanding where you say you're very sorry and I say that I forgive you and you say you never should have left and I say I never should have said I wouldn't watch the Cavs anymore if you came back. And then you go, well, we all make mistakes. And then I go, yes, but some mistakes impact other people's lives and TV watching habits in the winter months, which are kind of important. And then you're all, But I'm just a young kid. Didn't you make mistakes when you were in your "college?" And I'm like, Yes, but mine was a real college and it was the '70s. And then we can hug and shake hands or whatever and go back to doing what we do best. Kicking the Marlins' asses. Wait, that's baseball, isn't it?
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Diane Laney Fitzpatrick is the author of Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves. Her Just Humor Me column runs here on her website at www.DianeLaneyFitzpatrick.com.
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