Now that LeBron James has decided to come back and play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, there is plenty of forgiveness going around the country. Even some here in Chicago. But what happens in a relationship when one person has forgiven LeBron and the other still despises him?
Every now and then I’ll splurge and take my wife out for a Groupon reduced weeknight dinner. We sit down, relax, talk about how many of our friends are getting pregnant.
Being married at 24 but with no immediate plans to have a child puts you in a tough spot because you can neither relate to the young-with-babies who wake up at 3 am to take care of a crying child or the young-and-singles who are still awake at 3 am taking shots.
The Young Married No Kids have more in common with our empty nester parents. We use coupons and go to bed before 11.
But last Thursday night I felt about as anxious as I imagine women feel when they’re ready to share the, “Honey, I’m pregnant” news. Or guys when they’re ready to share, “I accidentally spilled a plate of spaghetti on the couch.”
I was about to tell my wife—my Chicago suburb born and raised LeBron hating wife—that if the reports are true and LeBron is heading back to Cleveland, then I forgive him. And I might become a fan again.
“We’re not talking about this,” she said. “We’re not going to ruin dinner by talking about him.”
LeBron’s name is like Voldermort’s in our apartment.
“But Ashley, you gotta understand,” I continued. “Things were different then! Cleveland LeBron was a different guy. He was fun, everybody loved him, he used to dance during warm ups. Miami LeBron is not the true LeBron. And if he comes home he’ll be back to his old self. You gotta give him another chance.”
“Chris. We’re not talking about this,” Ashley said. “He can’t just flip a switch and be back to his old self. He went to the dark side.”
That’s where the conversation ended. The next morning, the news became official and LeBron’s emotional Sports Illustrated letter was released. And here is the problem this created all over Chicago:
By moving to Chicago from Michigan, I pulled a LeBron. Thousands of us did. We came here from Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas to pursue a job and the big city life.
Key difference? Our hometowns didn’t set our jerseys on fire.
From 2006 – 2010, the NBA teams in those Midwestern states weren’t much to cheer for so a lot of us became LeBron fans since he was playing for the underdog Cavs trying to knock off the goliath Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.
When he left Cleveland to join a super team in Miami, we turned against him too, which made us feel right at home in Chicago.
Because for those born and raised in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, LeBron has always been the enemy. Pre, during, post Decision, it doesn’t matter. For over a decade LeBron has been labeled the Chosen One. King James. The heir to Michael Jordan’s throne. This is a violation of the well-understood Chicago trinity of untouchables – the ’85 Bears, Michael Jordan and Chicago style pizza.
So what do you do if your relationship is like mine, a LeBron apologist who still has an out of state license paired with a Chicago native who would not even take a selfie if she ran into LeBron on the street?
Here are five Medium Rare tips to keep relationships from turning rocky this upcoming NBA season:
- At NO point shall the LeBron fan make the argument, “A championship in Cleveland is really worth like three rings, so all LeBron needs to do is win two and he passes Michael Jordan.” That one comment will be worth like three weeks sleeping on the couch.
- Do not email local pastors trying to convince them to do a sermon on why forgiving LeBron is the moral thing to do.
- ‘Cheering for LeBron James’ should join the list of things like eating pizza rolls three meals in a row or going to the bathroom with the door open as activities best done when home alone.
- For the anti-LeBron people, just avoid the NBA for the next 8 years. You have Kane and Toews. Enjoy the Blackhawks!
- To Dwyane Wade, Anthony Davis and Jabari Parker, just remember the key to happiness is coming home.
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