Monday, July 14, 2014

LeBron Goes Home

Here is how LeBron announced his return:
'Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life.  I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years.

I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didn’t get along. … He and Riles didn’t get along. … The Heat couldn’t put the right team together. That’s absolutely not true.

I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned -- seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, “OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.” But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge? 

I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.

But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.

In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home."

A big difference between this and 4 years ago huh? There was no "Decision" there was no huge celebration, there was no anything. Just a perfectly written essay that made you believe LeBron has been significantly humbled since "The Decision" to now. LeBron going to Cleveland feels right, as much as I am from Boston and I dislike him from a competitive standpoint, but from a person standpoint, it didn't really feel right that everyone hated him. This letter completely redeemed himself in terms of a PR standpoint. It is the exact opposite of many things he has said in his career like the "The Decision" and after the loss to the Mavs the "You have to go back to your miserable lives" talk.

Anyways from a basketball perspective. He obviously went to a worse situation as is right now. I was thinking there was a chance he goes back to Miami on a short term deal with Wade and Bosh coming back. If that was the case, Miami still gave LeBron a better chance to a championship. However, him going to Cleveland opens up the East a lot. Cleveland with LeBron I wouldn't say is better then the Bulls (with a healthy Rose), Pacers, or hell even the Washington Wizards. Now, if the Cavs pull an Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love deal, we may have something, but right now, the East is open.

It will be very interesting to see how the Cavs go from here. They have an extremely young roster with Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins, Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, Tristian Thompson, with LeBron they have that veteran but nothing in terms of mental toughness or playoff experience.

How pissed off must Dwayne Wade be, he went from LeBron to Luol Deng. Also, it'll be good not having to hate Shabazz Napier, you know the guy LeBron made the Heat draft.


MIke said...

He's still a douchebag, he's just gotten better at hiding it. The Cavs have 4 1st overall picks on their team now including a future HoF player in his prime.

I think Cleveland might actually be the better option for a championship going forward. Wade is washed up and the Cavs are overloaded with elite young talent. I think the East should be on lockdown for the next two years.

Anonymous said...

"but from a person standpoint, it didn't really feel right that everyone hated him"

He has been one of the biggest self centered douche bags in all of sports for many years, yet you don't really feel right that people hated him?

bosoxfaninatl said...

keep in mind that lebron can opt out after the first year. East may not be on lockdown for the next two years. and the first year may be a getting-to-know-each-other scenario. especially with so many young players.