Dear Cleveland Cavalier Fans,
I don’t know you personally. I’m pretty sure the only Cavs fans I’ve ever known deserted town with LeBron James, when he correctly left your barren wasteland. So I write this letter not knowing you entirely, the ins and outs of who you are, and what makes you tick. I’ve never been to Cleveland, and for all I know, it’s a lovely place. With all that in mind, let me just say that you’re the worst. The absolute worst.
Tonight, for the sixth (SIXTH!) time you won the right to select first in the NBA draft, and for the third time in four years. For the third time in four years you get to choose any player you want in the draft. In recent memory, the two most highly touted drafts have been in 2003 and 2014. And you’ve won the lottery for both of those drafts.
With six #1 picks (including four of the last twelve years) you have done nothing. You’ve been to only one Finals, and you’ve never won a single game there. Pathetic.
The city of Cleveland has gone the last fifty years without winning a single championship, even though you have teams in the three major sports. Pathetic.
You’ve let us all think this is because God hates you. Really? (Where’s my comic sans font? Dangit, where is it?! Oh well …let’s just go all caps) REALLY??? FIRST OF ALL, GOD DOESN’T CARE ABOUT SPORTS — AT LEAST NOT IN THE WAY YOU’RE THINKING. AND EVEN IF HE DID, YOU’RE TELLING ME HE (OR SHE, OR THEY) SHOWS IT BY GIVING YOU MORE #1 PICKS THAN ANYONE ELSE IN HISTORY (BY A LOT??)?
(Okay, that’s enough all caps. Even your letter writing style annoys me.)
Let’s be clear: The “God hates us” stuff is over. The onus is on you as a people, both as fans, and as sports teams, to sink or swim. As far as what you can’t control, you’ve been extremely blessed. Whether by God or whomever, you’ve been lucky and then some.
You wanted us to feel sorry that LeBron left you, after carrying you from oblivion to relevance. You surrounded him with a supporting cast the equivalent of a McDonalds dollar menu, and then took 0.6 seconds to burn his jersey and openly loathe him when he made what was clearly a wise career move (you know, assuming he wanted to enjoy his job and win championships).
Your clown of an owner responded to LeBron’s departure by writing a letter that was at best comical (hence comic sans), and at worst a horrible indictment of his views of NBA “ownership” — just a couple shades away from the views one might imagine Donald Sterling has about the matter.
Whatever karma you may have earned by LeBron leaving Cleveland, you should have lost it immediately by turning on the single greatest star you’ve had in your town since Jim Brown (The Jim Brown). But no, karma favored you anyway, and you got a slew of high picks, including the aforementioned three #1 picks, and two more #4 picks for good measure.
Are you understanding me so far? I mean …
I’m a Utah Jazz fan. Guess how many times we have selected first in the draft? Go ahead and guess. It’s the same amount of times you’ve won an NBA Finals game: zero. We got the second pick once, back in 1980.
Never mind that, we’ve gone about our business and made the most of what we’ve been given. We turned a #16 pick (John Stockton) and a #13 (Karl Malone) into a decade and a half of success. Our highest ever pick was that #2 pick in 1980 (Darrell Griffith), the best player we’ve ever been able to land via trade is Jeff Hornacek (46th overall pick in his draft, one time all star), and the biggest star we’ve ever landed in free agency — because, you know, we’re Utah — is Carlos Boozer (Carlos Freaking Boozer!).
But never mind all that. All we’ve done is consistently win, the right way, year after year. Our two stars brought us thiiiiis close to the title, only to be stopped by Michael Jordan at his apex. (Don’t even think about complaining about the times Jordan beat you in the playoffs — your team would have lost eventually regardless, while the Jazz were clearly the better team in 1998).
The Jazz are notorious for doing things the right way as an organization. You know the Spurs franchise that everybody loves to fawn over? Yeah, they built their organization by following the blueprint created by the Utah Jazz (plus two #1 picks, but still).
After Stockton and Malone succumbed to age, we still refused to give in. Our 2007 run notwithstanding, we lingered in NBA no-man’s land (somewhere in the middle) for years, because we refused to stop trying.
After a decade of that, we finally (FINALLY!) did what every other small market team has done before and actively tried to rebuild. Some would say we tanked, but that would ignore the fact that our team tried to win every game this past year (unlike the Warriors a couple years ago, who screwed the Jazz out of a lottery pick in the process).
But whatever. We positioned ourselves to get a good pick in the draft. We essentially did what the Celtics did (yes, Bill Simmons, we did), but we didn’t have the luxury of having a bright young coach like Brad Stevens. (And yes, I know we could have had Jeff Hornacek. Here’s where a Cleveland fan would claim they lost Hornacek because God hates them, but since I’m a Jazz fan, I’ll admit we made a poor business decision by letting Hornacek go).
Utah has one major sports team, and pretty much will always just have the one team (and something tells me someday we’ll have to fight to keep even them). Everything rides on how well the Jazz do. We stay in the Rocky Mountains, ignored by everyone else, year after year. We can’t even properly get our due for being a franchise with bad luck. No, we have to listen about how whiny cities like Cleveland have all the bad luck.
My point, you three Cleveland fans who are still reading this may ask? You’re done. Finished. You don’t get to talk about how God hates you anymore, or how you’ve been screwed time and time again, or how you have bad luck. No more. You’re basically the Lakers, except you’re not nearly as good at basketball, and nobody wants to play for you. So deal with it. And congratulations. Or whatever.
One Angry Jazz Fan
Bryson Kearl wrote this article. He’s a little bitter that the Jazz got the #5 pick, and lost out on their chance to grab the best Mormon basketball player of all time, Jabari Parker.