Circle’s complete, the grown man heads back home. The Miami Heat are now in recovery mode, and in all likelihood will be where the Cleveland Cavaliers were last season: battling for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. As far as Miami goes, their arrogance that got them the Big Three (and 2 titles), ends up being the thing that gets them unstuck. Every Miami fan (and perhaps the organization itself) seemed to be expecting to be business as normal – that Riley would some how get the best player in the world to play for 75 cents on the dollar.
Yet it didn’t happen… and yes, it’s petty – but I have to admit it’s a sense of relief for me to see Miami come unstuck.
But this is about LeBron, and what a story. He left Cleveland for the Heat, and in leaving devastated the city of Cleveland, and left pretty much all of Ohio razed and burned. And now… he’s back in the city that drafted him, doing something no other superstar of his level has ever done: returned (yes, I realise Gail Goodrich did it, but he wasn’t on the same level).
The story-lines are fantastic in this. The Prodigal Son returns to Cleveland, and if he can get a title or two here: then for my money he’s a shot at really, truly being considered the Greatest Ever, at least on a par with MJ. His essay in SI.com was sheer brilliance, more than balancing out the stupidity in The Decision. The opening:
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.
That… is simply awe-inspiring.
Years before, I was anything but a LeBron fan. As he started to succeed, and grow – I become less vested in *hating*, and realised that attitude was stopping me from enjoying a generational talent. Perhaps one of the greatest of all time (for what it’s worth – right now, I have him top ten – at #10. I think he’s perhaps a better player that quite a few on the list, but achievements-wise… at this point: #10). Now? Well… with his return to the Cavs, I think I’m pretty much a fan.
Great story… can’t wait to watch it play out.