Maybe it’s just a residual effect of LeBron James’ departure from the team. Maybe it’s just shocking to consider that there are players in Cleveland who truly want to support the other teams in town.
Either way, Josh Cribbs and Joe Haden are becoming the go-to ambassadors among the Cleveland sports teams, showing up in full team apparel at a number of games and, since they’ve got plenty of time on their hands these days, functions like the NBA Draft lottery.
Cribbs, Haden, and Bernie Kosar were the guests of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert at Tuesday’s NBA Draft lottery, accompanying the bajillionaire as his son, Nick, was officially representing the team. It was a great scene to see the whole posse up on stage celebrating the Cavs’ success at the lottery, drawing the #1 and #4 overall picks. Even better, Cribbs, Haden, and Kosar were gracious enough to provide interviews, and it’s obvious that these guys were there to truly support the Cavs and the Gilbert family.
There is no obligation for a player in any city to support the other teams in the area. It has to first come from a genuine interest in supporting the city’s other sports teams, and no one is doing that better than Cribbs and Haden. Perhaps they learned from the backlash of LeBron James showing up to an Indians’ playoff game in 2007 in a Yankees hat or openly supporting the teams of other cities (like the Dallas Cowboys), but even then, there is no obligation for any of these athletes to attend these events. Seeing the players of “Camp Colt, Part II” attend an Indians game was like watching a bunch of buddies simply going to check out a baseball game as fans.
The next era of Cleveland sports appears to be that of the “Fan Athlete,” a departure from the egotistic period that dominated James’ reign over the city, a period that we were really only able to realize once he left. Now, the city has players in all three major sports who take a real interest in making the city worth mentioning, and for that, fans of the Browns, Cavs, and Indians should be proud.