The elimination ceremony boiled down to a single sentence, uttered by the most coveted bachelor of them all.
And it ended, as such endings always do, with tears - and the self-righteous fury that inevitably follows being rejected live on national television. Like a bunch of jilted contestants, Americans glued to their television screens watched, crestfallen, as LeBron James handed that coveted final rose to the Miami Heat, eliminating his remaining suitors in one cruel instant.
In Cleveland, grown men cried into their beers. And from New York to Chicago and beyond, fanning across millions of riveted ESPN viewers, the moment of truth stung like a personal betrayal.
But isn't this what America asked for? We wanted the show, the spectacle, the slow build-up to the big reveal. We love watching contestants get mercilessly booted into oblivion in front of the cameras - but we certainly don't want to be the rejects ourselves, thank you very much.
And that's exactly what happened Thursday night. The morning after, people are wondering: How did a decision by one basketball player jump clean out of the realm of basketball and become an American cultural moment that will be talked about for years to come?
As the city's anger swelled on Thursday night, with people burning jerseys in the streets.