After weeks of speculation, the King has returned. He didn’t do it with a flashy press conference, there wasn’t a second decision with hundreds of kids from the Boys and Girls Club, nor did he did shoot out of a cannon holding a Cleveland sign. He finally did it right.
The letter that was published by Sports Illustrated was brilliant. There wasn’t a word in it that made me dislike this decision. Free agency allows an athlete to pick their destination and choose which direction that they want to go. LeBron James didn’t choose to be drafted by Cleveland in the first place, it just happened. It was a storybook tale that brought the superstar home. To be honest, for almost every athlete, it is their dream to play for their home team and it is their dream to win a championship there.
Unfortunately for LeBron, he didn’t win there the first time around. He made it to the Finals, but got swept. He put up monster numbers, but wasn’t rewarded for it. As a young athlete who was constantly compared to the greatest player of all-time, Michael Jordan, I can see why he left Cleveland when he did. However, the way he did it was in bad taste. A letter like this the first time around probably would have been a good idea, but instead he was young and stupid.
LeBron knew he wasn’t going to win with the Cleveland team in 2010 and did what any player would do. He used his free agency option and went to South Beach where he thought he had the best chance to win. It worked; he went to four straight NBA Finals and won two of them. To be considered a great player, you need to have a resume with NBA Championships, and by getting two rings in Miami he can now be considered one of the greatest players to ever live.
After four years of maturing and finally winning, LeBron now knows what it takes to win an NBA Championship and doesn’t take it for granted like he used to. Winning doesn’t come easy and his NBA Finals record shows it as he’s lost more Finals appearances than he has actually won. Coming home is something special that not many athletes get the chance to do, and forgiveness is hard to come by.
The first time around, LeBron showed the world the opposite way to make a big announcement. However, he has now shown the world what he should have done and is now at the centre point in the rebuilding of Cleveland sports. The city of Cleveland is one of the worst sports cities in North America and after LeBron left it never looked like they would recover. Winning a championship in Cleveland would be a colossal accomplishment. It would be like Stamkos and Tavares coming back home to Toronto to finally win in their hometown with the Maple Leafs.
Cleveland is the armpit of professional sports cities, but for now it looks like they added the top of the line deodorant. It looks like LeBron now understands that it takes time and as he said in his letter, his patience will be tested with the young group in Cleveland.
However, the speculation now looks like Kevin Love could join Cleveland and the old big three of Wade, Bosh and LBJ, could be turned into a youthful trio of Irving, Love and LeBron. Kevin Love could be the perfect metaphor of what LeBron wants in Cleveland. We know that he loves the city, but under all of that, he loves to win.
“Coming home” in sports is a rarity. It isn’t like everyday the best of the best has the opportunity to lead their home team to victory. LeBron got his second chance to come home and took it. I’ve always been one to knock LeBron and hate on him for what he did to Cleveland and just for the person who I thought he was. However, if he even means half of what he wrote in the Sports Illustrated column, then he is all right in my books.
For all of those people who burned his jerseys and hated his guts, they should still feel a bit of hatred towards LeBron. However, after watching one game of Irving and LeBron, I’m sure it won’t take long to forgive and forget. The king is finally coming home.
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