Thursday, June 14, 2012

Miami Heat LeBron James: Cleveland fans rooting against him again - WPTV

CLEVELAND - Come playoff time, many Cleveland fans have made their own decision - root for whichever team is facing off against LeBron James.

Last year, the simple but catchy Cavs for Mavs moniker became a rallying cry for those supporting the Mavericks in their quest to knock off James' Heat.

The Mavericks did that just that so, with the Heat back in the finals in 2012, Cavs fans are again looking to replicate the defeat and are again using social media to express their anti-LeBron sentiment.

This year, it's OKCLE, a play on the Thunder's OKC abbreviation that has become quite popular. It comes with a logo, T-shirt and plenty of anti-LeBron vitriol.

Like last year's "Dallas Mavs," the OKCLE logo is a transformation of the Thunder's. The C from one of the Cavs' secondary logos replaces Oklahoma City's and a sword pierces through it. The logo was created by a poster on the RealCavsFans message board, kookoo. Other posters voted for it to be the "official" Cavs for OKC logo.

Brett Nehls created last year's Dallas Mavs logo, a fusion of the Mavericks' horse and the basketball in the Cavs' logo.

"The Mavs were going to be our last shot and with the name similarities, it seemed like an obvious pairing," Nehls said. "I went right home, created the logo, and tweeted it to as many local and national sports writers as I could."

His creation ended up all over the Internet.

"I happened to go to Yahoo Sports and saw my logo on the home page. I almost fell out of my chair," Nehls said.

One of the popular items of this year's movement is a T-shirt made by GV Art + Design . The shirt says " OKCLE, We Can Borrow Your Thunder but we won't steal it."

"There's been a great response from Clevelanders," George Vlosich, one of the creators of the shirt, said. "The demand has been high."

Vlosich said his company has created other popular Cleveland-inspired shirts like 'The Lyin King' and that their mission is to create fun, original designs.

"We're rooting for LeBron to not get a ring, but it's also about supporting our city," Vlosich said.

Some observers and fans, however, have called the perpetrators of the movement "haters" and an embarrassment to the fan base.

@ Coreno2  tweeted “I want the Heat to lose, but I hate seeing all this " OKCLE" stuff. It makes it look like we need someone else to fight our battles. # Cavs ”

@michael44107 Tweeted “I hate @ kingjames as much as the next guy, but while cavsformavs or mavaliers last year was fresh, # OKCLE makes # CLE look pathetic at best”

@ OneShot_Akill posted “I don't see why we're starting this thing called OKCLE now? The Thunder aint helping Cleveland unless they can somehow get us a title.”

Vlosich said the OKCLE shirt was not made with negative intentions.

"Do we hate the guy? Absolutely not. He's the greatest player in the world," Vlosich said. "The shirt only makes sense for Clevelanders."

Nehls sees no problem with rooting against a player who he believes gave up on his team.

"My anger does not stem from the fact that he left in free agency. What fuels my fire are Games 4 and 5 of the series against Boston in 2010. I can make the statement unequivocally that he absolutely quit and threw those two games during that series," Nehls said.

James ripped off his Cavs jersey walking into the locker room following the Game 6 loss to Boston in 2010 and never put it on again. Now, he is in his second finals in two seasons with the Heat, trying to fulfill his championship goals with two other superstars.

The support for the Thunder stemming from the disdain for James has been evident through posts on Twitter since the start of the finals. #OKC was a top trending term in Cleveland Tuesday night during Game 1 and many used the #OKCLE hashtag.

@ Al_Schmitt tweeted "I think OKC is my new favorite team. Let the Thunder roll. Show LeBrat how it's done! # OKCle "

There may be satisfaction to be gained from watching their departed star fail on the NBA's biggest stage. But still missing from the rafters of The Q is a championship banner.

"There's nothing more that I would love than to see a Cleveland team win a championship, but my fourth favorite professional franchise is the one that eliminates the Heat from the playoffs," Nehls said.

OKCLE will look to gain more steam Thursday night. Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Thunder and Heat begins at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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