A Return Like None Other

Never thought you'd see this again, did you? Me either.
Never thought you’d see this again, did you? Me either.

Boy, somebody knows how to make an entrance. Or in this case, an apology.

 

It’s a day that many in Cleveland thought would never happen, a day many in the world thought would never happen.

LeBron James will rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014.

Four years removed from the biggest PR middle finger in sports history, the man anointed “The King” will return to the place where he began his NBA career. I reacted to the news with a smile on my face, thinking about how different I felt when LeBron first announced his move to Miami in 2010.

Like the evil fan I sometimes consider myself, I took tremendous joy in the pain that Heat “fans” must be suffering now as their adopted prodigal son decided it was time for him to go home.

That obnoxious team.

Those obnoxious fans.

It made me sick watching them succeed year after year after year while my team struggled to keep their MVP on the court for two seasons. It made me bitter and angry to look at my Derrick Rose jersey in the closet knowing full well that wearing this jersey would be about as satisfying as wearing a washed out tuxedo to the biggest banquet in town.

I feel very passionately about my sports teams. I’ve always felt that way I think because I am a life-long die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. And when I see Cleveland sports fans, I feel a special kinship with them. I know the pain of cheering for a team that hasn’t been a champion for decades (or in my case a century plus).  So when LeBron took his talents to South Beach, I lamented with them. How could the biggest star in the history of that city leave the way he left? Who could be so callous to the one town who truly loved him? How will children growing up with LeBron feel watching their hero abandon their team?

Perhaps LeBron was imagining how this parade would feel along the shores of Lake Erie.
Perhaps LeBron was imagining how this parade would feel along the shores of Lake Erie.

That last question was the one that drove my irrational hatred of LeBron James for the better part of four years. I could never stop thinking about those young fans because I was once like them. I know that I would have been devastated if Sammy Sosa left the Cubs in free agency the way LeBron left the Cavaliers. Hell, it hurt when Sammy did leave to Baltimore!

From a pure basketball perspective, I don’t get why James is leaving the perfect situation in Miami. He has an owner who is classier than Mr. Comic Sans in Northeast Ohio. He has two teammates who gave him the best supporting cast he’s ever had in his 11-year career. If they stayed together, they would no doubt be the favorites to win the Eastern Conference for a fifth straight year, something that has never been done in the NBA. So why in the world would you leave that group?

According to the man himself, it means more than just winning rings. LeBron wants to win one for his hometown. He must have thought that winning that ring would be enough to fill the void of never being a true champion with the Cavs.

Apparently, it wasn’t enough.

 

Cleveland hasn't seen a headline like this in 50 years.
Cleveland hasn’t seen a headline like this in a long time.

So now that the NBA has been turned entirely onto the other ear, what should we expect from the four-time MVP and his Cavaliers? Do they best the Eastern Conference with their King and his young players? Can they even leapfrog both the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls within their own division? Do the Cavs have enough to make a serious title run?

The last time James and the Cavs went to The Finals in 2007, things didn’t end very well. In fact it was quite similar to what we saw in LeBron’s last year with the Heat just a few weeks ago.

Time will tell whether this decision is a good one.

But for now, let the people of Cleveland gather what’s left of their charred LeBron jerseys and celebrate the return of their hero.

The villainous Miami Trio has been vanquished, their four-year reign of terror seemingly ending in a flash. They fade into the night while the Cavs, those loveable losers return to a prominence they haven’t seen for four years.

The Q and Cleveland will be rockin’ once again.

 

As if we needed more proof that Cleveland likes this move. (Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Speaking of headlines… (Courtesy of The Cleveland Plain Dealer)
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