Since last Thursday, I’ve been oddly numb to the suffering of the Cleveland fans. In fact, I couldn’t even muster genuine contempt for the manner in which King James took his leave.
Many commentators and friends of mine have been moaning and sympathetically offering their support and rage to Clevelanders and all others who believed in the legend of the Cleveland Conqueror, the chosen one who would drive out the scourge of losing from the Mistake by the Lake.
Meanwhile, my mind immediately focused on what I believe is a far more significant result of his departure.
Maybe because I am a NBA eunuch, my fan-balls removed by the divine, unremorseful blade of “franchise relocation,” I did not flinch for my own testes when loyal Cleveland fans received a metal-toed boot to the collective nards.
Cleveland, I know it hurts. You’re rolling around on the ground clutching your groin and swearing furiously.
Yet as a Sonics widower I no longer have the capacity to feel such pain. And as a teamless fan I can say, with absolute certainty, that I would trade my position for yours in a heartbeat.
You will make He Who Shall Not Be Named a symbol of your despair– hatred and frustration naturally finding a collective symbol– but Seattle fans have been robbed of even this emotion. For us there is a hollow aching and a grayness in the pit of our stomachs when we watch Kevin Durant rain jumpers or glimpse David Stern’s reptilian grin, but you will be able to direct every once of scorn you can muster at LeBron each of the many times he will be on TV each season.
It may not sound like much, but at least it’s something.
Left ironically devoid of the capacity to empathize, I have assumed the view of basketball New Critic: read only what is on the court, do not swerve from the tangible into the biographical or cultural implications of the Game.
Through these eyes, I see the mighty triumvirate of LeBron, Wade and Bosh (A.K.A. basketball Ringo), not as a sign that the Apocalypse nears, but assurance that I’m already in heaven.
Players like Dwayne Wade and LeBron James playing together at the peak of their powers is unprecedented in the history of the NBA. Never have the two best players on Earth endeavored to combine their stupendous abilities and create the most beautiful basketball that, in 2010, is humanly possible.
Last season James hauled a team with no viable second scorer to the league’s best record, while Flash carried a team without a single teammate worthy to carry his jockstrap to 47 wins and a 5th seed. Now these two players, who both require double and triple teams to deter them from scoring at will, are playing on the same team.
When it comes to passing, they both posses outstanding vision and a desire to share. Their ability to read the game combined with extraterrestrial athleticism makes them the two best off-ball defenders at their position in the league.
Both players shoot the ball better than you think.
Most importantly, both players bring it every single night.
They will be unstoppable. Trust me. There is no doubt in my mind that they will absolutely obliterate their competition.
TrueHoop has reported that essentially every statistical model favors an enormous season for the Heat, and that’s before the addition of Mike Miller, the retention of Udonis Haslem and the fact that inevitably, as basketball is a team game, all these players will make each other better.
If I have not been clear to this point, this is what I imagine my reaction will be when I am finally blessed to see this team on the court (transcript below):
That’s right! Two full rainbows!
On this otherworldly team, Bosh is merely ancillary. He will play well and shoot an undeservedly high percentage from the field. But the two natural phenomenons on the court will be James and Wade.
All fans of the sport should rejoice at the rare and spectacular opportunity that has been afforded to us. I admit that I can’t predict exactly how the talents of these two megastars’ talents will harmonize on the court. But I am confident that whether it’s Wade running pick and rolls with LeBron as the rollman, or LeBron finding Wade in an endless string of fast break alley-oops, we will be privileged to behold basketball sublimity.
Sadly for some, but happily for me, Cleveland’s loss is basketball’s gain.