It’s the sports diss heard ‘round the world. Or all over Ohio, at least.
Ohio Governor John Kasich has issued a resolution (PDF) that recognizes the Dallas Mavericks and the franchise’s fans as honorary Ohioans for one day: June 14, 2011. The resolution was signed yesterday, less than 24 hours after the Mavs beat the Miami Heat to secure their first NBA championship title.
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Unless Texans make a mass exodus to the Buckeye State to enjoy the privileges of a one-day honorary status, this resolution serves more as a symbolic message. That message being: Thank you, Dallas, for cooling the Heat and denying LeBron James the dream of becoming an NBA champ. Oh, and Lebron? The entire state still hates you.
Ohioans have held an intense grudge against Heat forward James since last year, when the free agent chose to “take his talents to South Beach,” rather than remain with his home state and his home team of seven years, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The state felt abandoned by James.
The Ohio resolution alluded to this feeling of betrayal. One line in particular makes a not-so-subtle jab: “NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Dirk Nowitzki chose to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 2010, forgoing free agency and keeping his talents in Dallas, thus remaining loyal to the team, city and fans for who he played his entire career.”
Ever since James made “The Decision” last year, disdain for the highly publicized departure has bled through state borders, snowballing into a national hatred so intense that the 26-year-old is now considered one of the most disliked athletes in American sports. It didn’t help that James predicted he would lead the Heat to multiple championships with NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at his side. Which is why legions of basketball enthusiasts anxiously followed the NBA Finals, not necessarily as Mavs supporters, but advocates of a LeBron fail.
Now with Gov. John Kasich’s resolution, the anti-Lebron bandwagon is a signed, stamped and approved matter.
This isn’t the first time a governor has gotten involved in the theater of high-stakes sports. In 2003, Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman was blamed for disrupting a potential catch by Cubs left fielder Moises Alou during the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins. When the ill-fated Cubs—who have not won a World Series title since 1908—lost the game, Bartman was intensely blamed by fans. Then-Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich offered to get Bartman a spot in a witness protection program. Then-Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, however, offered political asylum to Bartman for “helping” his state team secure its victory over the Cubs.
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