Thanks for nothing, LeBron. One year ago Friday, LeBron James single-handedly dashed the championship hopes of the Boston Celtics in the 2010-11 season, and he didn't even have to play a game to do it.
Of course, we're talking about The Decision - the single worst PR stunt in the history of basketball, perhaps even professional sports.
It was on this day last year that James uttered the now infamous phrase: "In this fall, this is very tough, in this fall I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat."
Not only was his sentence grammatically flawed, but it pierced a dagger through the hearts of fans across the country that had hoped LeBron would utter their city's name at the end of that sentence.
At the time, it seemed like no big deal for a team like the Boston Celtics - a group of savvy and sound veterans that had won an NBA title together and figured to factor into the championship hunt the following year.
For a little while, that line of thinking proved to be correct. The Celtics beat the Heat in each of their first three meetings, and it was clear that Miami just didn't have the same chemistry that Boston did. Boston wound up dropping the last regular season meeting with the Heat.
Unfortunately, the Heat finally clicked, and they couldn't have picked a better time to do so heading into the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
Boston and Miami both cruised through their first round meetings, setting up a second round match up for the ages between the two powerhouses. That's when the Celtics just ran out of gas and simply couldn't keep up with the run-and-gun Heat, ultimately losing the series in five games.
Miami defeated the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to face the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. Thankfully, Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs had an answer for the Heat, claiming their first title and keeping LeBron away from his first ring for at least one more season.
But take a minutes to rewind - what if LeBron had chosen to stay in Cleveland? Sure, both Cleveland and Miami would have been competitive, even if Chris Bosh hadn't joined Dwyane Wade and the Heat. But would either have been on the same level as the Celtics? Most likely not.
If LeBron had just taken the high road and stayed at home with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics and their fans may be celebrating that 18th championship banner that Comcast SportsNet New England kept showing us in almost every C's advertisement.
There's no guarantee that the Celtics would have beaten the Bulls or Mavericks, but there's a pretty good chance that, without James in Miami, Boston could have reached the Eastern Conference Finals at the very least.
Once again, James found a way to ruin the part. Thanks again for that, LeBron.