Archived Story

Out Here in Left Field

Published 3:08pm Friday, June 24, 2011

A bad thing happened Thursday night in the world of sports.

Well, probably mainly to me and a very slight number of other people who are dually fans of the Duke Blue Devils and the Miami Heat.

I was out on a dinner date with my wife when I got Steve Wojciechowski’s text that Kyrie Irving had been drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. I muttered something under my breath.

The one thing I had been hoping wouldn’t happen in the NBA draft did. The last thing I wanted is a player that I love and want to see do well on a team I can’t stand and never want to win another game in the NBA.

If you have been living under a rock, perhaps you don’t know that during the last offseason, Lebron James decided to leave the Cavaliers and play for the Miami Heat. For many reasons, including a television special which was ill-advised, James has caught grief about the decision.

I was a Miami Heat fan long before James decided to play there and, to be honest, was much more concerned about resigning Dwayne Wade and landing Chris Bosh than I was where James played. Obviously, however, I was pleased when James joined the Heat because it made the team better.

Then came the craziness.

Sports fans in Cleveland have never been known for being level-headed. They are loud, often obnoxious and not a group that I ever wish to belong to. I make it a point not to root for any team from Cleveland.

Little did anyone know that the lead weirdo in this group was Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Somehow the man fell off his rocker when James signed with the Heat.

Instead of it being Gilbert’s fault that James, who had been begging for the help to win a title, left for Miami, the owner shirked all of that responsibility and placed it on James.

People in Cleveland burned his jersey. They called him a traitor. They behaved like children. It was and is disgusting.

At least those of us who were tired of Gilbert and his whining got the pleasure of watching his team be awful. They were embarrassing to the entire league and finished 19-63 and last in the Eastern Conference.

Then they lucked into the first pick in this year’s draft and speculation began they would take Irving, who left Duke after his freshman season. I kept hoping against hope that it wouldn’t happen, but it did.

Now I’m left with the dilemma of a player I want to see be successful playing for a team that I cannot root for. I guess my only option is to root for Irving to average 50 points per game and the Cavaliers to average 51.

I hope Irving does an outstanding job and is the true NBA professional he can be. I hope he’s an All-Star in his rookie season and eventually lands in the Hall of Fame. And, I hope he leaves Cleveland after his rookie contract; hopefully, to play in Miami.

Thadd White is a Sports Editor for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached via telephone at 332-7211 or by email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com.

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