For LeBron, leaving the Cavaliers for Miami was more about loyalty, but mostly and ultimately about Clevelanders selfish definition of it.
That LeBron was a kid from Akron, Ohio, never writ a guarantee hed be there all his career. It would have been terrific if he had been a latter-day Yastrzemski or Marino, the King of Cleveland. But who are we to say he was wrong for looking out for himself and his future first?
For LeBron, The Decision will forever be all wrong but the decision was dead-on right. Two consecutive championships prove it, but he did not need those rings or MVP trophies to justify what he did. He had given half his career to the city of Cleveland. He deserved to devote the second half of it to himself, to his dreams of being a champion or being the biggest star he could be or whatever he decided was best for him.
Same with coach Doc Rivers leaving Boston for the Clippers. You can say he quit on the Celtics. Id say he found a better professional situation for himself.
Athletes and coaches are either tied by contract to their team or they are free agents. In neither instance is their first obligation to a city or its fans except to the degree they wish it to be.
Exceptions to rule
The Carl Yastrzemskis and Dan Marinos always were the anomalies, and thank goodness for them. But we must know that, as much as athletes always emphasize thanking their fans, their obligation always is first to family and future. It is their career and life, not ours. They own us maximum effort and civility while playing for our teams, and not much more.
The very notion of loyalty is a funny thing sometimes. Werent Cleveland fans loyal to LeBron until the moment they were cursing him and burning his jersey? Didnt they love him like family until he dared to leave home?
Miami fans could be similarly tested in these matters, in how we define loyalty, just one year from now, when LeBron will be free to either re-sign with the Heat or take his talents elsewhere. Heck, Wade will have that choice, too.
Can you imagine if one or both left?
We would have a decision to make. It would be complicated. It would demand the best of us but might get the better of us.
You could envision a visceral reaction, shock or outrage, a feeling of betrayal, perhaps even the requisite jersey burnings because extreme disappointment sometimes needs an escape valve.
There is another reaction, too, though, one I hope might be in the majority here. It is the response of mature fans who must say goodbye to a cherished player who did good but is moving on. That response?