For the last 14 years, you have been a true representative of what the words “Cleveland” and “Cavalier” stand for. By that, I mean that you have been among the most chivalrous, hard-working, and tough sons of bitches this city has ever gotten the opportunity to root for. And we will continue to love you for it.
Sure, we’ve been hard on you at times. But as you have always shown with your respect to the city and fans, that sort of stuff just comes with being a professional athlete. However, your relationship with Cleveland goes beyond that of “just” an athlete — as history has shown us, you are, in fact, one of us.
You got a taste of the latter ’90s in the trail end of an era that saw the likes of guys like Mark Price, Craig Ehlo and Brad Daugherty. Then came those dark, dismal lottery years – a time that even included a potential end to your career due to injury. And, of course, there were the magical moments of the “Lebron-Era”, in which you played a pivotal role in consistent winning seasons (Somewhere, I think Joe Tait is still loudly repeating “HE HIT IT! HE HIT IT!” over and over again).
And throughout those years, we have each gone through our own personal blessings and hardships – things that have made us stronger individuals and molded us into the people we are today. Everyone. But, in some way, we have had the opportunity to do those things together in the last 14 years.
Now, though, organization that linked you to us is moving in a different direction and, unfortunately, so are you. As a result, the City of Cleveland would like to extend a collective “thank you” for the many years you’ve spent with us and for the many memories you have given us. You’ve demonstrated a sense of selflessness throughout your time here and we, as fans, surely recognize that.
We wish you all the best in your endeavors and while we might not be cheering for the Miami Heat any time soon, a ring for you would certainly be an endearing, yet painfully bittersweet, silver lining.
Good Luck, Big Z.