by Cavaliers Fans

Life in the NBA is never easy. And if you are the Cleveland Cavaliers, that is an understatement. This year, however, as November looms ever closer, the normally gloomy atmosphere that lingers around the Cavs is surprisingly alive and fresh with a sense of renewal. How has this cityís attitude towards their downtrodden basketball franchise suddenly turned around? In one word: LeBron. Yes, sure this topic has been talked about, and it may even seem jaded at this point. Yet to Cavsí fans who watched their team go from Price-Nance-Daugherty to a franchise with no apparent direction that changed coaches like socks, the winning of the LeBron sweepstakes automatically gave this team an identity and it inaugurated an era that can only be regarded with unbridled optimism.

Austin Carrís tears on the day of the draft lottery are forever embedded in my mind. I imagine that his emotions were not so different from my own. The feeling that charged my soul knowing that luck had finally found her way to shores of Lake Erie was indescribable. For the city of Cleveland, this is the biggest thing to arrive since the Return of the Browns in 1999. LeBron brings charisma and national attention to a cityscape that is desperate for it. He is everything we asked for; everything we needed.

In the monthís leading up to LeBronís regular season debut, the newly discovered national interest in Cleveland has been seen. LeBronís appearances at awards shows and his numerous cameos on magazine covers, posters, and Sportscenter have been extremely visible. His immediate impact on ticket sales and attendance at the Gund has been profound. The Cavs always play third-string in Cleveland, but LeBron has evoked the basketball fan within multitudes of Clevelanders. With all this attention before he has ever logged an official NBA minute, it is a fair question to ask how this kid can ever live up to the hype. Can an 18-year old from a drive down the road really guide this forlorn franchise to prominence and glory in the dog-eat-dog world of the NBA? Ask me, and I do not hesitate: YES.

My assuredness is not based on dogged confidence in LeBronís ability to take over games. Rather, I have full faith in his ability to make his teammates better. I have faith that with him on the floor, Ricky Davis will shoot for a higher percentage and show he is a top five shooting guard, Carlos Boozer will be a top five rebounder and be a rock at the four, Z will become the uncontested second-best center in the NBA, and Darius and Dajuan will play with renewed passion for the game and blossom into solid young players. LeBron has proven that he has the ability to enhance team play. Further, I can see his desire to succeed in all aspects, at any cost. That trait is very admirable and rare in a rookie, especially a rookie straight out of High School. LeBron is traveling along the right path, and now that he has allowed himself to be taken under the strong wing of Paul Silas, nothing can go wrong.

As the season progresses, the Cavs will experience peaks and valleys. They will be a high-energy team and a very dangerous team. As they go forward, the path ahead for the Cavaliers will be daunting, but not impassable. They say building a franchise is a lot like putting together a puzzle: each player is a piece that goes towards the completion of the final work. LeBron is by no means the final piece to the puzzle in Cleveland, but think of him as the picture that guides you to what your result is supposed to look like. Finally, there is a sense of direction in Cleveland!