Someday, there will be smiles.
Someday, far from now. When the warmup suits have been traded for leisure suits. When the beards have grayed, and the abs have become fleshy, there will be smiles.
I hope so anyway.
In doing Browns programming on Tuesday, I got a chance to speak with WKYC Sports Director Jim Donovan. When asked about the Cavs trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for players that were once enemies, and an unprotected first round pick, Jim said he was sad about the trade.
It was a perspective I was unprepared for.
The last three seasons for the Cavs have been magical. One of our favorite son’s returning home and delivering a championship with one of the league’s young superstars. 52 years of waiting culminating with dreams, and hope, and some tears.
Yet the last couple months have been a dramatic disaster. Kyrie wanting a trade. Grown men sending messages through social media – and the media – about each other back and forth. Egos swallowing goodwill.
Now it’s over.
Kyrie Irving is off to Boston. In return the Cavaliers received either a key building block to the franchise, or another cog in the system to a championship level team centered around LeBron James. One that most fans hope will keep The King in Cleveland the remainder of his career.
The two will meet in the NBA playoffs. It’s going to be exciting. Glares will be exchanged no doubt. There will be yet another test of LeBron James’ dominance of the league, which should be great for Cavs fans. Few things are better in basketball…actually in all of sports, than angry LeBron on the floor. It’ll be electric. We’ll be taking the Cavs side, with LeBron, of course.
What’s to come though is uncertainty. There is that question about what to do with Brooklyn’s draft pick. Names will be mentioned for trade partners to pair with LeBron long term. We know LeBron will sign absolutely nothing as far as a long term contract before he has to. The risk is tremendous, the reward is a chance to compete for titles in a feast or famine NBA for years instead of months.
LeBron’s future in Cleveland is still a question. Kyrie’s isn’t. Looking back on his career, he’s a man we’ve defended, berated, and beloved. All in the name of the love of a basketball team that has grown accustomed to setting itself on fire and having to find the nearest pond to dive into during Irving’s tenure.
I’ll never forget the shot as long as I live, and neither will you. But we won’t forget the way this ended.
Bitterness, jealousy and ego ripped this partnership apart, and even if the Cavs are better for it soon, it’s an abrupt chapter to a brilliant time in Cleveland sports history.
As a fan, I’ll hate him next April, but I’ll take the high road and say “Thanks, Kyrie.” As frustrated as I may be, he still played a tremendous part in one of the best memories I’ll ever have as a sports fan, and in turn a Clevelander.
Make no mistake: Kyrie is an enemy now. This has all the chances to get ugly as rumors swirl as to why the split had to happen. Kyrie will have to repair his image, and there are two sides to every story.
But, I truly hope someday that bygones are bygones. That one day these men will stand with each other and share a laugh while retired numbers are raised in the rafters. That you and I as fans will be able to celebrate the little time they had together.
I hope. But not all endings are happy, or they wouldn’t end. At least not so abruptly.