Random thoughts

Every once in a while, something like this comes down the pike. It brings to light one of the things that really, really irritate me: manufactured outrage. By that, I mean people getting upset over something that really isn't worth getting bent out of shape. In this case, the idea that LeBron James should automatically like every Cleveland team.

Let's set aside, for a moment, the fact that his favorite teams are his business and his choice. Let's focus on the outrage. Phillip Morris, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, wrote this: "Does Cavaliers superstar James really hate Cleveland that much? Does the anointed one really think we're all a bunch of losers?" No, James doesn't hate Cleveland. Nor does he think every Cleveland fan is a loser. Wearing a Yankees cap or rooting for the Cowboys does not indicate hate for Cleveland fans. It does indicate that he makes his own choices and he sticks by them. That means he's not pandering to Cleveland fans, or to you, Mr. Morris. And I'll take a superstar who sticks to his guns over a panderer any day of the week.

James has been labeled a front-runner or someone who's not hometown-loyal. The front runner argument is disposed of above. But the second notion, that you automatically have to root for your hometown teams, is up for debate. It's one of those Code of Being a Fan things that has been much discussed. Bill Simmons wrote a couple of years ago, "If you live in a city that has fielded a professional team since your formative years, you have to root for that team." To that, I say, why? Why does an accident of birth determine your sports loyalties? I suppose it's because they're the local teams; you should support your local team. But what if you moved around a lot? What if there is some reason you don't like the team? What if your local teams suck when you're growing up and you move on to another team? I feel like I should note that James isn't actually from Cleveland: he's from Akron. Having never been to Akron, I've no idea what the TV coverage is or was. Maybe James picked the teams on TV. Maybe he liked a particular player (which is probably why he - and a whole bunch of other people - chose the Bulls). Maybe he liked the uniforms. In any event, the choice was his. He chose his favorite teams and has, to my knowledge, stuck by them. He should be commended for that, as a fan, rather than being railroaded into rooting for Cleveland teams.

My point is that everything is hyper-analyzed now. Everybody needs something to write about (including me, obviously). To that end, people, like Mr. Morris of the Plain Dealer, manufacture outrade on behalf of Joe Fan. Believe it or not, but most fans understand James. They understand that he's being loyal. So get off your soapbox and accept it. He doesn't think Clevelanders are losers; he's simply loyal to his teams.



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