|The King Returns|
LeBron James is going home. Today he announced his return to the Cleveland Cavilers via a beautifully penned open letter on SI.com. My first feeling, oddly enough, was total shock. Friends had been asking me what I thought he’d do and my gut always said he's going back to Cleveland, but just reading the news was still a bit surprising. Not only does this change the entire landscape of the NBA, but it "rights" one of the greatest "wrongs" in sports. The Decision.
Four years ago when James left, I was one of the few people that didn’t get upset. It was, at the time, the right move. The only problem I had was how he did it. I looked at it like this; doctors, lawyers, contractors, accountants all leave one job to go to another job with better opportunities. Hell, the fry cook from McDonalds goes to Burger King because they pay him fifty cent more! The NBA should be even more mobile than it is.
These guys have 5 to 10 years, 15 if you’re REALLY great, to accomplish the ultimate goal in their profession. If I were a really great NBA player my goal would be to maximize my chances of winning a NBA championship every year. Because no matter how good your season is, only one team goes home truly happy every year. You, me, and everyone else not a professional (keyword PROFESSIONAL as in get paid to do it because it's a job) athlete, has a much longer window to do their given trade. Imagine if you only could do your job for 10 years. What if Steven Spielberg could only have made movies for 10 years? If you had such a small time in a career field, wouldn’t you do everything you could to be in the best possible position to have success?
LeBron did all he could do in Miami. Four years, four straight Finals, and two titles. Miami was a city that more than willingly accepted/welcomed him, but in Cleveland LeBron is beloved. Miami and its fans never really appreciated LeBron or his greatness. Like game six of the 2013 NBA Finals. Half the stadium walks out when the Heat looked like they were down for the count. They, Heat “fans”, quit on the team. They quit on LeBron. If that was game six in Cleveland, they would NEVER do that. This season, in game five when the Spurs were gutting Miami, again the fans dipped. Cleveland never does that. They stay and they cheer a two-time champion that took them to four straight finals. Cleveland would understand that yes they lost, but you stay and give them thanks. That you cheer for a team that gave you such joy.
James is a better player, a better man than he was when he left Cleveland. He said as much himself in the letter. I'd even say Cleveland is better because he left. They got THREE number one draft picks because of his exit. And two other lottery picks. I don’t think the Cavs win the title next season. Not sure they can get that far with their current roster. Now if Cleveland is able to land Kevin Love and pair him with James and Kyrie Irving, then yes, they become INSTANT title favorites.
In life you don’t get too many second chances. I mean you just don’t. Once you screw something up, it usually stays that way. But when you're given the chance to do it over. To do it right. When you do, you take advantage of that chance. This is a great day in sports history. Not just for Cleveland but for us all. Sometimes sports is about something more. Something more than money. More than titles even. Sometimes it's about what makes you happy. Sometimes it’s about what’s right. “I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one,” James said. “And I take that very serious.” he continued. Outside of Miami, (And even they can't be too upset about this) how can you hate that? How can you be mad at that? How can you be mad at a guy trying to make it right? This is proof that no matter what you do and no matter how you leave, you can always go home.