Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cleveland's revenge

When LeBron and the Heat visit Cleveland for the first time next season, the game will almost certainly be nationally televised. Cleveland fans could go ahead and boo and hiss when James takes the floor as expected. But that would really be no different than the reaction of every other city who lost a hometown hero to a bigger market. As these things go, what James did to Cleveland was uniquely insulting. So when James comes back to town, Cleveland needs to come up with an appropriately unique collective middle finger to let James know just how his home city feels about him. It needs to be special.

Here’s my idea: Make him play before an empty arena.

Go ahead and buy your tickets to that game. Sell the place out. ...

But come game time, don’t step foot in the arena. Do go downtown. Patronize the local bars and restaurants. Watch the game from a sports bar. Do some shopping. But keep your tickets in your pocket. Set a goal: See if Cleveland can set an all-time record for lowest attendance at an NBA game. Put so few people in the stands that LeBron’s first dribble actually casts an echo through Quicken Loans Arena. ...

It would demonstrate a lingering anger still potent enough to compel an entire stadium of fans to eat the price of a couple tickets. And if it works, it would be a pretty awesome spectacle to behold.

Even better: There’s a pretty good chance that the first Miami/Cleveland game in Cleveland will be on . . . ESPN.
--Radley Balko, The Agitator, on how to express collective rage. HT: Jess Austin

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