CLEVELAND – “I’m coming home,” NBA superstar Lebron James told Cleveland Cavaliers supporters via this recently published Sports Illustrated article, in which he poured his heart out about his love for Northeast Ohio and its special collection of passionate, arson-happy fans, many of whom turned James’s Cavaliers jersey into smoldering ash when he bolted for Miami in 2010.
“Miami fans might have Latin flare, but they don’t have real flare,” James continued, opining in the article that torching paraphernalia is the ultimate sign of sports fandom. “Four years ago I saw it as a slight, but now that I’ve grown up, I view the situation differently. I’m going to wear that charred piece of polyester as a badge of honor.”
Immediately after the SI article’s publication, owners of sporting goods stores across Ohio reportedly set fire to whatever No. 23 Cavaliers jerseys they could scrounge up from 2010, hoping to meet the demand for the “hottest product on the market.”
“We sold out in four hours,” said a delighted Becky Melville, a sporting goods store owner in Akron, Ohio, who believes the increased sales will more than offset the increase in her business’s gasoline costs.
Rich Adams, an Ohio State student from Cleveland, said he rushed to the store immediately to buy a scorched jersey for each of his family members, who all plan to don one for each Cavaliers home game.
“It’s a little smoky and tattered, and it doesn’t quite cover my belly button or nipples, but who cares? It’s the freakin’ king, and he’s a Cavalier again,” said Adams, who in 2010 called James a “worthless sack of turds that should get hit by a bus.”
“He wears it, I buy it.”
Even Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers owner who in 2010 wrote a letter in which he called James cowardly, callous, and heartless for his decision to sign with the Heat, has changed his tune on the matter, saying he and the NBA superstar talked out their issues leading up to the recent announcement.
“He can wear whatever the hell he wants and I’ll support it,” said Gilbert. “Hell, I’ll wear one myself. Lord knows I burned enough of those suckers after he screwed us over on national TV.”