Jun 21, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; NBA commissioner David Stern presents the MVP trophy to Miami Heat small forward LeBron James after winning the 2012 NBA championship at the American Airlines Arena. Miami won 121-106. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Now that it's over -- and LeBron has his ring -- Cleveland can turn the page.
As LeBron James lifted the NBA Finals MVP trophy over his head on Thursday night, a funny feeling of closure washed over me. It was finally over.
No more anger, no more hatred, no more petty, misdirected blame.
To take words out of the former Cleveland Cavalier's mouth, "It's about damn time."
I know there are lots of Cavs fans out there who will still be up in arms over the whole thing. The Decision, being told simply by national media to "get over it" for two years and seeing a Nike commercial seconds after the Heat's win sum up James's tenure with Cleveland as "good times, failure, greener pastures, success" didn't exactly inspire an era of good feelings.
But LeBron is 1,250 miles away, and there are only two players left on Cleveland's roster who even played with him in the first place - Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson - and both are the frequent talk of trade rumors (Varejao's team-friendly contract and style of play and Gibson's team option for the 2013 season are nice trade chips).
Simply put, LeBron's Cavaliers are dead and buried, and Kyrie Irving's Cleveland has taken its place. I'm not talking about selective memory or ignoring what happened, but willingly embracing the memory as a sort of Nietzschean way of letting the entire experience free us from the eternal return that is Cleveland fandom.
Rather than being blinded by anger and making the same mistakes all over again, the city has a chance to learn from it and build a team in its place - instead of cutting corners and relying on one all-world talent to dictate the circumstance.
The second real draft after LeBron is less than a week away, and the Cavs have picks No. 4 and 24, as well as the 33rd and 34th picks, with hopes to improve their draft status even more by trading assets or acquiring salary. If Cleveland is truly committed to making this work, it has to get this draft right.
I'll never forget what James brought to Northeast Ohio, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't sting to see LBJ all smiles after finally having accomplished his goal - while wearing something other than Cavs gear. But there's little or nothing to be gained from holding onto spite or resentment any longer.
LeBron exorcised his demons, and Cavs fans would be wise to do the same.