“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.“
The waiting seemed interminable. Apparent deadlines came and went and still no news.
One solitary voice announced to the world via Twitter that LeBron James was about to rejoin The Cleveland Cavaliers. Chris Sheridan claimed he had a source that nobody else had. The rest of the basketball world became excited, but refused to believe this outlandish claim until Sheridan became more than a lone wolf proclaiming his message.
I would estimate that I have refreshed my Twitter feed 50o plus times in the last few days, hoping to see that Adrian Wojnarowski, Kevin Dieng, Zach Lowe or some other trusted NBA reporter supported the story Sheridan(himself a respected journalist, but when it was but one dissenting voice we refused to believe) was running. The silence however remained deafening.
But eventually it came to pass. LeBron James is once again a Cleveland Cavalier.
The King abdicated in 2010, in an ugly fashion and joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. LeBron exit from the Cavs in 2010 was terribly handled. “The Decision” included an ESPN television special in which James uttered the phrase we have heard a thousand times in the intervening years ” I’m taking my talents to South Beach” a phrase which has became a punch line for critics.
LeBron was faced with precisely the same choice in the summer that was 2010. Cleveland or Miami.
Miami gave him two Championship rings, 4 NBA Finals appearances and led to him becoming a better basketball player. LeBron won the league MVP award in three of his four seasons with The Heat. He has developed a close bond with his teammates, Dwyane Wade in particular. He played under an exceptional coach in Erik Spoelstra and was a member of a well run franchise.
But the draw of home was too strong for LeBron to turn down. Maybe he saw that Wade’s knew giving out has become an annual occurrence and understood that his buddy could no longer be the dominant player he once was. Maybe he believed that Pat Riley had disrespect him with his impassioned mafia style press conference and his “get a grip” message.
Maybe he was unimpressed with Pat Riley’s off season acquisitions to date. Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger did not seem like guys who would put the Heat back on the path to a championship.
But mostly it is because James believes that his “relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball.” He explains that it was always his intention “to return to Cleveland and finish my career there.” This flies in the face of what LeBron proclaimed at his introduction with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
But I give James a pass on this as I just am overjoyed as a basketball fan that LeBron is going back to his original team to try and win it all. Maybe I am simply a hopeless romantic but there is something that warms the heart about this story. LeBron admits that he had no desire to leave Miami after losing to The Spurs in The NBA Finals. I could try and delve into the mind of the best basketballer on the planet, but alas there is no need. LeBron gave us his reasons for re-joining The Cavs.
“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.”
Cavs fans are rejoicing right now and rightly so. They burned the jersey of James four years ago after his horrendous departure. How the story has changed.
The celebrations will gone on into the night, but more good news could be imminent. GM David Griffin is pursuing Kevin Love, the best young power forward in the league. If Cleveland manage to w0rk out a trade with Minnesota for Love they will instantly become favourites for the NBA title next year. It is almost unthinkable.
Shakespeare once told us, ” No legacy is so rich as honesty.” We know LeBron is a voracious reader, and although it is unlikely that James is familiar with the play “All’s Well That Ends Well,” it appears that one great has followed the wise words of another great. LeBron remained honest to himself. He knew in his heart that he had unfinished business in Northeast Ohio.
NBA fans it is time to get excited about the 2014-2015 season! Yes I know we have almost 4 months of waiting before a shot is hoisted in anger, but this news will sustain us for many the long summer night.
Conor O’Mahony, Pundit Arena.
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