Commentary: Why Cleveland Fans Should Stop Worrying After Slow Start

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 30: LeBron James #23 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the first quarter at Quicken Loans Arena on October 30, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Commentary: Why Cleveland Fans Should Stop Worrying After Slow Start

To fret much about LeBron James & Co. is just part of Clevelanders' DNA.

Published November 4, 2014

You have to understand Clevelanders to know how much the loss LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers suffered in their season opener Thursday hurt. Think about it: They lost to the sorry New York Knicks.

Who thought that possible?

A loss like that one also left Clevelanders nervous. They have been dissecting LeBron’s play as if they were conducting an autopsy. His turnovers and his shaky all-round play had concern stretching from the shores of Lake Erie to points far south of the city.

But why they would fret about an Oct. 30 loss puzzles me. Their uneven play Friday in beating the Chicago Bulls speaks to what LeBron had said about the team as the 2014-15 season was about to unfold.

LeBron liked the talent on coach David Blatt’s roster, but what he said he hadn’t seen yet was a team with the kind of cohesion it would need to win an NBA title. The Cavaliers aren’t the San Antonio Spurs – yet.  

No one in Cleveland wanted to hear any of this. Cavalier fans don’t want a team that’s close to title-caliber; they want a team – a LeBron-led team – that’s ready to win a title.

And these Cavaliers are, even if they didn’t look like it Thursday in losing to the Knicks and also for stretches of their game Friday night against the Bulls.

What fans saw in both games were the growing pains that LeBron understood from his early days with the Miami Heat. He had Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade as his sidekicks, but the trio of NBA royalty wasn’t ready from Day 1 to turn their talent into a championship.

They didn’t win one that first season, as NBA fans everywhere can tell you. A championship did come to Miami in the trio’s second season, and it gave LeBron something that he had longed for, the one thing that had been missing on his NBA resume: a title.

Whether he has around him talent that will morph into a team is an unknown. In the freshness of an 82-game season, nobody should care much after two games, and nobody does – except the angst-filled fans who call Cleveland home and root for the remade Cavaliers.   

The best advice for their fans is this: Chill awhile.

Worrying won’t speed the team’s transition from a collection of talent (LeBron, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving) to a championship team. They’ll prove the latter over time.

And once they do, once they blend into what their talent suggests the team can be, Cavaliers fans will be able to forget that their team lost its first game of the new LeBron James era.

Until then, they’ll just worry, because that’s simply what people in Cleveland do: worry. They’ll worry LeBron’s homecoming will bring them no more enjoyment than his exodus did.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

Watch Kevin Hart in a new episode of Real Husbands of Hollywood every Tuesday, 10P/9C. 

BET Sports News -- Get the latest news and information about African-Americans in sports including weekly recaps, celebrity news and photos of your favorite Black athletes. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Written by Justice B. Hill


Latest in news