Never has the decision of one man reverberated through basketball the way it did when Lebron James announced he was returning home to Cleveland. Miami was left feeling like a jilted lover while Cleveland rejoiced in the return of one of their own. All the pundits and arm chair GMs can now stop squabbling online and on social media over ever little tidbit that was “leaked from sources” and now can watch the rest of the dominoes unfold with the King ascending back to his throne in Cleveland.
When Lebron first came here to Miami I wasn’t his biggest fan. I wasn’t fond of him dancing with Wade and Bosh on stage, proclaiming the number of championships they would win even before playing a single second together. I’m a Celtics fan. Old school and I was not pleased by the tomfoolery that was showcased by him.
I will not lie, I rejoiced in his defeat at the hands of Dallas. I wanted him to see it wouldn’t be so easy to win.
Then something happened. I found myself rooting for him. I’ve always respected him and always admired his game on the court, but being exposed to him daily here in Miami I found myself enjoying watching him perform on the court with the grace and agility of a ballerina. Spinning between double teams, leaping over the competition.
He finally figured it out, grew up and won.
With each highlight, each victory I found myself rooting for him to excel. I will never pledge allegiance to any other team but the Celtics but Lebron had a hold on me, the same one that he had on the city of Miami.
Miami needed a sports hero and basketball needed a villian to hate and Lebron was just that. He was the chosen one. He was what you wanted him to be.
I looked forward nightly to watching him play or catching the highlights. He had become the player we all had hoped he would become when he first entered the league. The boy from Cleveland was now a man in Miami.
There was never a doubt Ohio was and will always be home to Lebron. I never thought that the idea of him returning to Cleveland would ever be a distinct possibility until the defeat at the hands of the Spurs.
No way Lebron would have left after winning 3 championships in a row. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
I was convinced, like most of us, that he would come back to Miami because it was the better move business wise. I neglected to see the emotional and personal aspect of the whole thing.
Losing the championship gave Lebron the out he needed to return home. To try to bring a championship back to Cleveland and to cement his legacy as the greatest athlete ever to play in Ohio.
I write this knowing that I will never get to watch Lebron nightly here in Miami and I feel sad. He is one of those once in a generation athletes and he was must see tv. Not every city gets to experience a player like that playing for them nightly and if you have a player like that you’re going to appreciate them a bit more now after this decision.
I can’t fault Lebron for following his heart which was always in Ohio. He chose his heart over money. Can’t knock him for that in this day in age where money and material things seem to give credibility to those who otherwise would never have had it.
Heat fans should appreciate all that he did for the Heat. 4 trips to the Finals, 2 championships and 2 MVP awards. He was everything as advertised. He gave his all and the Heat fans were they center of the basketball universe.
I admire him for following his heart. Imagine if we all could follow our hearts and chase the things we love. Sure we may not have the athletic abilities of Lebron or the option to switch cities like a light switch but we should try to be like Lebron and follow our heart and dreams.
What would you be doing or where would you live if you were able to follow your heart and dreams?
I know I would be on the sidelines of NFL games and on the baseline of NBA games creating epic images that make people say, “Wow”. I’m chasing my dreams and following my heart.
Lebron’s choice wasn’t about basketball. It was a choice of the heart. It was what was best for him and his family. I respect him more for leaving money for happiness.
He belongs in Cleveland. He belongs in Ohio and we all knew that. Sooner or later he was going to go home. I’m sure we all thought that he would return towards the tail end of his hall of fame career, but he returns in his prime.
He returns as the king, not the prince pretending to be king when he left Cleveland.
This may sound like some sorry soliloquy of unrequited admiration, but it is me realizing how much I enjoyed watching him play nightly. Watching him grow. Watching him realizing what it took to be a champion. Seeing him become a champion and true heir to the throne that was abdicated a long time ago.
Hopefully Miami fans will not burn jerseys or boo him when he returns to Miami. He doesn’t deserve that. Bless him with thanks and gratitude for the best 4 year run that any Miami team ever had. Thank him for the rings, the parades and the daily excitement and buzz he provided to Miami.
As the basketball world absorbs in the ramifications of what his choice will mean for the league, I can sit back and be grateful I bore witness to his transformation here in Miami. As most of us here in Miami did as well.
Lebron goes home to be the hero, the savior of Cleveland sports. No easy task, but he is ready now. He knows this and we should be happy as fans of basketball and of sports in general that someone would spurn money to bring a title to their hometown. To bring happiness to a city forsaken and devoid of such happiness for half a century.
As a Celtics fan living in Miami and calling Miami my home, I couldn’t be any prouder to call Lebron one of our own.
His heart and home may be in Ohio, but a major part of his legacy resides here in the 305 and no one can take that away.
Thank you Lebron and best of luck in your attempts to bring a championship home to Cleveland.