Thank you for your outpouring of support. Whether it's the truly stirring reworking of "We Are the World" by the city's biggest d-list celebs or outright groveling, it means a lot. I'm blessed to live in a city whose thousands of residents, despite having never met me, know exactly what I should do – and aren't afraid to say it. The city's biggest newspaper has been an endless sources of guidance. Heck, even New York's major media has offered free advice.
Remember when you were 25, when the future was wide open? Remember how much you loved being told what to do? I do, because I am 25. Imagine, if you will, having the weight of an entire franchise placed on your shoulders. That's a lot of pressure. Now, by curious extension, imagine having the future success of a city tied up in your next move. I'm from Northeast Ohio, and I understand the challenges of our region, but I'm not the answer.
I may have been dubbed "king", but that was a marketing gimmick. I don't have the power to make any of the sweeping reforms and changes the city needs to really grow. Basketball season is not year-round, and there are much bigger issues plaguing our city, far from the court. Addressing those issues lies squarely in the hands of Cleveland's real leaders, those government officials and proactive citizens. At the end of the day, the power is in your hands, Cleveland. At the very least, you don't need a basketball game to go out and support local businesses.
I have been undeniably blessed with my success and talents. I love to play basketball, which is a game, let's not forget, and I love to win. However, the nature of sports is that sometimes teams win, and sometimes teams lose. Getting to play in the NBA finals, much less winning, is a tall order. (That's an NBA joke.)
Whether I stay or go, the city will still have issues. Think of the good you could do if you all got behind some of the city's toughest problems the way you've rallied around me. I think that's a good sign, don't you?
Lastly, let's give credit where it's due. Congratulations to a true champion, one who quietly triumphed in heated competition and brought top honors home to Northeast Ohio. Eighth-grader Anamika Veeramani is the 2010 National Spelling Bee Champion, the Cleveland area's first since 1964. Champions are all around us here. One person doesn't have to carry the load alone.
[Photo by Kevin Nortz]