October 21, 2014

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Cavaliers commentary: Some anniversaries should be forgotten

Friday was the one-year anniversary of “The Decision,” also known as LeBron James announcing live on ESPN that he would take his talents to South Beach.

Admittedly, it snuck up on me, otherwise there would have been a story in Friday’s paper instead of today’s. From a beat writer’s perspective, I goofed. I wasn’t on top of things.

Yet I also know I’m not the only person who forgot to plan for the anniversary – what is it with men and important dates? – though in this case, at least, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

In many ways, James’ decision to leave the Cavaliers, not to mention the scathing letter by team owner Dan Gilbert that followed later that night, seems like it happened eons ago.

That’s because most of us have moved on, or at least started to move on.

Sure, many Northeast Ohio fans – many fans across the nation, for that matter – loved it when James and the Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

That’s only natural, just as it was natural that many relished the fact James shriveled up like a prune when the stakes were highest.

But basketball years, in many ways, are like dog years: They accumulate fast, and before you know it, that incorrigible puppy is showing the first signs of arthritis, slowly limping up stairs it used to take three at a time.

So much changes so fast.

The Cavs went from a team that won 127 regular-season games over James’ final two seasons to a 19-63 club that lost an NBA-record 26 straight and 36 out of 37 a season ago.

Shaquille O’Neal, Delonte West, Zydrunas Ilguaskas, Mo Williams, J.J. Hickson, Jamario Moon and several others are history – ancient history – as far as the Cavs are concerned. Ditto for Danny Ferry and Mike Brown. (And Gloria. And Maverick Carter, Randy Mims and the rest of James’ flunkies.)

Only Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson (Anthony Parker is a free agent) remain from the Cleveland team James bolted from after the 2009-10 season.

We are now entering the days – whenever the NBA lockout ends – of Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Co. as the Cavs move forward.

James, meanwhile, spent the week running a skills camp in his native Akron, but what he’s doing there no longer seems newsworthy outside of his hometown. Ditto for his upcoming bike-a-thon.

Again, this is a good thing.

Just as fans did after Carlos Boozer’s first game back in Cleveland – how many years did that take? – most people in Northeast Ohio started moving forward after James’ initial, highly successful return to Quicken Loans Arena.

They vented, carried signs, even shouted obscenities – and then it was over. Oh, sure, fans loved it when James and the Heat lost at The Q later in the season, but that game didn’t have nearly the same aura as the first.

And that’s not a bad thing, either. Plain and simple, James’ days as a Cavalier are over. So, too, is the anniversary of his departure.

That many of us nearly forgot it is a good sign.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.