The day was July 8, 2010. After months of endless speculation, a television special was aired that immediately changed the face of the NBA; one where the best player in the league announced that he would be joining the Miami Heat. I’m talking about LeBron James and The Decision.
Immediately following this program, Heat fans were ecstatic as the newly formed big three ignited interest in the team, their enthusiasm spreading like wildfire. Elsewhere, Cavalier fans were engaged in a different activity, one that involved actual fire. They were burning LeBron’s jersey.
Jersey burning has to be one of the dumbest activities that take place in the sports world, and it happens far too often. It seems like every time a big name player leaves a team in free agency or has a stretch of bad games, I see videos online of that player’s jersey going up in flames. I really don’t think I have to go through the reasons why this is a horrible idea, but since this practice keeps occurring, here we go.
First of all, you paid money for that jersey. Jerseys aren’t cheap! All you’re doing is wasting your own hard-earned money, and no one’s going to feel bad for you.
Next, it’s not like you’re proving a point to anyone. No athlete’s going to watch a video of you burning their jersey and change their mind and return to your team, or send you a personal apology. Changing teams is a difficult decision for everyone, and a star player knows before they make the decision that they’re going to hurting some feelings.
If it’s a player who’s having a poor stretch of games, this won’t help them either. They need to know they have the support of an actual fan base. It’s not like they’ll magically become better if you burn their jersey.
What I find hilarious about the whole LeBron James situation is that four years later, LeBron came back. Now all the geniuses that decided to burn their jerseys are going to buy another one. These same fans that hated LeBron all of a sudden love him again.
What it really comes down to is that burning your jersey makes you look crazy, and never amounts to anything. Players have more important things to think about than you. It shows a lack of respect for sports and the athletes that play them, and a lack of professionalism as a fan and a human. Many people who don’t watch sports choose not to get into sports or talk to sports junkies because of people who do things like burn jerseys. It reflects poorly on all sports fans.
So please, make the sane decision to not burn a jersey next time your team’s star has a slump or decides to take their talents elsewhere.