Karma? There's no karma in sports!
Get ready, Cleveland. Brace yourself.
The end times are surely nigh for us, as the Miami Heat moved to a 3-1 lead in their NBA Finals series with the Oklahoma City Thunder last evening, with a decisive game four waiting to be played in the Heat's home stadium.
I'll leave it to experts like Sam Amico to say whether or not the Thunder are capable of making an unprecedented comeback. I don't know enough to say.
What I do know, however, is there's no "karma" in sports.
I should have know this earlier in my life, but I really only learned this about ten years ago, in January 2001.
A little bit of backstory is in order, I guess.
Long before I started working on FOXSportsOhio.com, I was happily making a career for myself as a technology consultant for one of the world's biggest firms. Then, in 1995, Art Modell decided to move the Cleveland Browns to some city on the east coast, and the course of my life was changed forever.
As a life-long Browns fan, I started a protest site against the move, and enjoyed mocking Modell's team mercilessly as they struggled in the years after their move to the Washington DC metro area. Eventually, the Browns returned, and that protest site turned into Bernie's Insiders on the Scout network, then to the Orange and Brown Report, an involvement that eventually led me to FOX Sports Ohio.
Suffice it to say that when the Ravens actually decided to stop stinking and build one of the NFL's best defenses, no one was more disappointed than I was. When they started to look like a contender, I disparaged their chances. I was joined by thousands of Cleveland Browns fans, many of whom took to the internet to claim that the negative "karma" from the Browns move meant that Art Modell and his team would never win a championship.
I said it then, however, and I'll say it now: There's no karma in sports. None. There are only athletes, and bounces of a ball, and decisions made on a sideline.
If there was karma in sports, it surely would have bitten Art Modell and his team back in 2001. At that time, just six years removed from Modell's betrayal of the league's most devoted fans, Ray Lewis was so toxic a personality that Disney wouldn't use him for the "I'm going to Disney World" commercial after the game. Tony Siragusa's apparent post-play dive on Rich Gannon's arm in the AFC Championship couldn't have helped the Ravens moral ledger, either.
But none of that mattered. They were simply a better team than the New York Giants, and won the Super Bowl.
All of which brings us to the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Like the Ravens, from our Northern Ohio perspective, the Miami Heat are the least "deserving" team imaginable. The way Lebron James left the city of Cleveland was a kick to our collective heads, an insult to this great city, a disingenuous and selfish play from an athlete disconnected from the "same old lives" the rest of us live.
But it doesn't mean that the Oklahoma City Thunder will hit their free throws. It doesn't mean that Chris Bosh, Dywane Wade, and James aren't stellar athletes. It doesn't mean that Derrick Rose stays healthy to give the Heat a test on their way to the Finals.
It doesn't mean James was "right" to leave Cleveland or that he didn't get all the support possible from the organization while he was here. It doesn't mean that he was right to quit in game five against the Celtics. It doesn't say anything about Northern Ohio or the intensely loyal fans who live here, who supported James with their usual incredible passion while he wore a Cavs uniform.
It just means, over a week or so, the Miami Heat were a slightly better team than the Oklahoma City Thunder.
And that there's no "karma" in sports.